Rachael Brennan has been working in the insurance industry since 2006 when she began working as a licensed insurance representative for 21st Century Insurance, during which time she earned her Property and Casualty license in all 50 states. After several years she expanded her insurance expertise, earning her license in Health and AD&D insurance as well. She has worked for small health in...

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Written by Rachael Brennan
Licensed Insurance Agent Rachael Brennan

Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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Reviewed by Jeffrey Johnson
Insurance Lawyer Jeffrey Johnson

UPDATED: Jun 29, 2022

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In a nutshell...

  • A non-owner auto policy is similar to traditional car insurance in that it provides coverage while operating a vehicle
  • This type of policy is normally available to someone that does not own a vehicle, and may operate borrowed or rented vehicles often
  • Non-owner policies provide liability protection for any injuries or property damage you may cause while driving
  • This policy does not provide coverage if the vehicle you are driving is damaged
  • If you believe you qualify for this type of policy, speak to your insurance provider for more information

Owning a vehicle has moved from a necessity to a luxury for some people, but that doesn’t always mean you won’t be driving.

With the popularity of car-sharing services, as well as the likelihood that you have friends or family with a car, you may still need insurance coverage.

Whether you’re renting a car, borrowing one, or using a car sharing service, having insurance coverage is a necessity.

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A Non-Owner Policy May Be Needed Even If You Do Not Own a Car

Owning a car has been the traditional method of transportation for many individuals, but you may not have the same needs as other people.

If you do not own a car, this does not necessarily mean you won’t need car insurance at some point. For instance, some people may borrow a friend or family member’s vehicle to run errands, or you may rent a vehicle while on vacation.

If this could be you, then non-owner insurance coverage may be for you.

A non-owner auto policy provides liability coverage when you are operating a rented, borrowed, or otherwise non-owned vehicle. You may carry this coverage without owning a vehicle, and you do not need to own a vehicle for this coverage to take effect.

This coverage option may also help provide coverage if you incur medical bills, or if an uninsured or underinsured motorist damages the vehicle you are operating.

It’s important to note that different states have different laws mandating how non-owner coverage, and auto insurance in general, may work. It’s a good idea to discuss your coverage concerns with any potential insurance provider.

Each provider may offer marginally different coverage, meaning you may want to get multiple quotes to compare policy terms and limits before purchasing coverage.

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A Non-Owner Policy May Provide Coverage When Using a Rental Vehicle


If you may be renting a car but do not have traditional car insurance, getting a non-owner policy may be the solution. Rental agencies often face high insurance risk, due to the nature of their business, and will not normally allow an uninsured driver to operate their vehicles.

If you do not already carry a traditional policy or a non-owner policy, then you may be required to purchase coverage from the rental agency.

Rental car insurance is often provided as a coverage option at many car rental offices, just in case you do not carry an insurance policy of your own or your coverage is insufficient.

If you have a non-owner auto policy, then your liability limits may be sufficient to meet their conditions. However, a non-owner policy does not protect the vehicle itself, so you may want to consider coverage for damages to the rented vehicle as well.

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A Non-Owner Auto Policy May Be Needed When Using Car Sharing Services

Services like Zipcar have become very popular in larger areas, meaning that anyone using a car sharing service should have an active insurance policy.

Just like in a borrowed or rented vehicle, any damages you are responsible for in a car sharing service vehicle would be covered by the liability coverage of your non-owner policy.

This can be important because these services may have a cap on their insurance policy limits. You, as the driver, may be responsible for providing coverage above and beyond what the service offers.

A non-owner policy can help to supplement what a car-sharing service offers, which may be necessary depending on the extent of any damages you are responsible for.

A Non-Owner Auto Policy May Be Required For High-Risk Drivers


Your driving record can have a large impact on your ability to get insurance, as well as the insurance you are required to carry. For example, if you have a driving record with many DWI/DUI convictions listed, you may end up having your license suspended.

Due to this, many insurance providers may be unwilling to write new auto coverage or to continue providing coverage to such a high-risk driver.

However, once you receive your license back, your state may require you to carry coverage even if you do not own a vehicle.

If you have a poor driving record or your state requires you to carry coverage after a specific conviction, you may need to invest in a non-owner policy.

By mandating that high-risk drivers are required to carry a non-owner policy, usually with specific limits or terms, the state can guarantee some level of safety for other drivers on the road.

It’s important to remember that state required non-owner insurance coverage functions similarly to a regular non-owner policy, although the state may have requirements or conditions you must meet.

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Coverage that Meets Your Needs

Most auto insurance policies are designed to provide liability protection as well as vehicle protection, there are options available to drivers that don’t need a traditional policy.

Non-owner auto coverage is one of the more common options, allowing you to have liability coverage anytime you operate a vehicle.

It’s important to discuss your vehicle usage with your potential or current provider to make sure your policy meets your needs.

If you are in a scenario where you’re required to have non-owner coverage, it’s vital that you follow any state requirements as closely as possible.

If you are unable to find a provider willing to insure you, or you cannot locate a policy that meets these conditions, there are resources available.

Your state’s Department of Insurance can provide guidance and assistance in locating state-required insurance providers. Enter your zip below to find the cheapest non-owner auto insurance today!