Can I Carry Auto Insurance for a Car if the Title is Not In My Name?

Generally, when you take out car insurance, it is assumed that the person taking out the insurance and the owner of the car are one and the same. That means that you are taking out insurance in order to protect your own vehicle so that any damage that you are liable for will be paid out by the company.

But what if you want to take out insurance on a car that is not your own? What if you need to insure a car that you drive regularly but that belongs to someone else?

You have several options in this case and finding the right solution is an important way to avoid paying over the odds while at the same time ensuring that you are actually protected and won’t land yourself (or the car owner!) in trouble.

Let’s take a look…

What The Law Says

In most states, there is no law saying that the car insurer and owner must be one and the same. However, just because something is legal, that does not mean that it is necessarily the done thing, or that it is going to be a walk in the park… car title sample

Unfortunately, while you are technically allowed to take out insurance on a car other than your own, this is something that certain insurers don’t like and you might find as a result that it can be hard to find policies that will allow you to do the same.

What’s more, is that some policies will let you take out the insurance (most likely because you have applied online and they haven’t asked the right questions) but will then quibble the situation when you come to claim. You need to be very careful here as you are in murky territory!

Exceptional Circumstances: Title Loans

There are some exceptional circumstances where this won’t be an issue at all. One example is if you take out a title loan. A title loan is a type of loan where you will be using an asset as collateral, meaning that if you fail to pay the loan, the lender will be entitled to claim your possession.

Of course, in this case, the asset in question is the car. When you take out this type of loan, you transfer the title of your car to the lender and they will then legally own your car until you finish paying off the loan. This means that you can afford a bigger loan by getting better rates – and the lender will be happy to lend you the car for those cheaper rates because they will have a form of guarantee that they will get the money back. If you struggle to pay off the loan, they will have the option to simply sell your vehicle and use that to offset the outstanding balance!

You still need to be insured however but the title is not yours. That means that in this scenario, the insurance is for a car that doesn’t legally belong to you – but most insurance companies will be familiar with this concept and will have no problem insuring your vehicle!

The big question now is what happens if you should have an accident? The answer is that the insurers will pay out in full as usual, but they will pay the money to the lender rather than to you and that money will be used to pay off some of your loan.

How to Get Insurance for Someone Else’s Vehicle

Other scenarios where you might be thinking of getting insurance for a car other than your own might be, for instance, if you wanted to insure your child to drive their car.

But this is why insurers don’t always like you to do this. When you insure your child to drive a car but use your own name and details, you are not being forthcoming in regards to the details of the driver. The insurer needs to know that they are young because this increases the risk from their perspective and thereby increases the cost of their insurance most often.

So with that in mind, how do you go about insuring someone else’s vehicle? What is most important here is to shop around and to find a company that openly states that it will be happy to insure someone else to drive the vehicle. You can try speaking with an insurance agent, or just calling around a few insurance companies in order to discuss the possibility.

In most cases, you will need to demonstrate an ‘insurable interest’ and this might mean that you have something to lose if the car gets totaled. An example of this might be if the car was a joint purchase and the owner only wanted to take out third party insurance. Demonstrating this insurable interest can be hard though and in many cases, you might find that companies struggle to understand why you would want to take out this kind of insurance – perhaps rightly so!

The smarter option that will be more appropriate in the vast majority of cases, is to make the other person a named driver on your insurance. Here, you will insure your vehicle but you will then add the name of the driver to your policy. They will then be allowed to drive the car as though it were their own but the insurance policy will belong to you.


In most situations, this option will cover the situation and allow you to insure a car that someone else is driving and that they can legally own. Otherwise, why not just agree to pay for the insurance for the driver and get them to agree to give you the amount that you’re entitled to should there be any kind of accident? There are always ways around the situation, just make sure that the insurance company knows as much as possible about everyone driving the car and where it will be stored, etc. That way, there can be no unhappy surprises when you come to claim!


  Comments: 62

  1. We picked up a car for my granddaughter,but never got it tranfered to her and now it was in an accident and it’s insured in her name on policy will her insurance cover? American FAMILY

    • Armando@4AutoInsuranceQuote

      Hello Nancy,

      This would depend on how long ago the vehicle was purchased. If the vehicle was purchased with 30-60 days and your daughter has the sale documents showing the car was to be transferred to her name, then those should be provide to the insurer if needed to help with their decision. If it was processed a while ago and the vehicle is not in her name, it will be at the insurer’s discretion whether to cover it or not. If this fact was not disclosed to the insurer when the policy was set up, then it’s quite possible they’ll deny the claim. If it does cover her and the damages / injuries from the accident exceed the policy limits, whoever is the owner of the vehicle is at risk of being sued for their assets.

  2. Ok so my husband and i got a newer vehichle together this year. The only vehichle between the both of us. He dont have his license so the insurance is in my name. Things have went down hill. And we are constantly in disagreement because hes very aggresive and dominant taking the vehichle. I am co signer on the loan for the car. Both of our names are on the title. But just my name on the insurance. So now he has completely overed on the car. I mention divorce to take my name of the car, or cancelling insurance and he freaks out. Im a little scared as to what he will do seriously. Any advice? I was kind of hoping i could kind of claim that on insurance as a loss praying there is some kind of loophole that they will work maybe classify it under theft ( I honestly do feel like it was stolen from me. Hes a bully.) w me somehow at least until we go to court. I really dont know what to do. Any suggestions? Please help

    • Hi Jodee just read your post regarding the vechicle.
      I have same situation with you .
      I hope you settle your situation thjs.
      And asking your advice too coz im the one paying insurance im on it but not on the title. When i ask him to put my name, he got pissed because we have an agreement that he will pay it and he would if were fighting say leave take my jeep so no fair.

    • How can he drive the car if he doesn’t have a license? That’s illegal. You can mention that in court if you want. I’d look into it with a lawyer.

    • Armando@4AutoInsuranceQuote

      Hi Jodee,

      Sorry to hear about your difficult situation. Your husband should not be driving without a license. It’s almost guaranteed that the insurance will not cover him or the damages to your vehicle if he gets into an accident and they find out he was driving without a license. Besides that, if he injures the other party in the event of an accident, the police would likely arrest him and the vehicle would be impounded, racking up additional costs. If I were in your shoes I would consult with an attorney about your options. At the very least you may want to consider taking yourself off the vehicle loan, if possible, and canceling the insurance policy. As things stand, if your husband gets into an accident, it will be bad for both of you.

    • Sounds like you need family therapy!

  3. My daughter has a lot of tickets and a few wrecks on her record and she wants me to put full coverage insurance in my name ,can I get in trouble if she has a wreck?

    • Dianne- you won’t get in trouble, but your rates will go up if the insurance company pays the claim (your car if it gets totaled or repaired).

    • Armando@4AutoInsuranceQuote

      Hi Dianne,

      If you don’t let the insurer know that she will be driving the vehicle and have her on the policy as a listed driver, they may not even cover the claim. In this case it’s more likely they would cover the claim if the vehicle is registered to your name and not your daughter. If they do cover the claim under “Insured Resident Relative” and / or “Permissive Use”, the accident will likely appear on your record. If by chance the claim were to exceed the policy limits, the other party could retain an attorney who could find just cause to go after your assets. So yes, you are taking almost all the risk by allowing your daughter to drive a vehicle insured under your name.

  4. Hello I drive my mothers car which she is financing. She lives and purchased it in Illinois. I pay for the car for her and insurance policy. I have since moved to Minnesota and want a new policy. What’s the best legal course of action

    • Armando@4AutoInsuranceQuote

      Hello Joshua,

      You should be clear and upfront with the insurer from the beginning. Let them know the situation in writing and make sure they issue you a policy knowing that the car is registered to your mother in a different state. It may be difficult or impossible to find coverage this way, in which case I would recommend you switch the car ownership to your name. If you do not disclose this information to the insurer from the beginning they may deny any claims you file in the future, drop your coverage, and will likely not refund any premiums paid.You will likely run into trouble transferring or renewing the car registration if the insurance policy is not in your name.

  5. DaltonDa Chambers

    My car is in my name on the title i own it.
    My mom put my car on her insurance and put me on her policy as a driver as well.
    The policy was liability insurance with sate minimums. My car was totaled by fault of the driver of the other vehicle who also had no license or insurance. Me, my 4 month daughter and pregnant fiance were all injured theres was less severe. With the policy in my moms name but me owning the car and being listed as a driver as well. And keep in mind its liability insurance but not my fault.
    What are my rights here? Am i entitled to a claim. What should i do and how should i handle my claim?

    • Armando@4AutoInsuranceQuote

      Hello Dalton,

      Sorry to hear you were involved in an accident, I hope you and your family recovered okay. If you had collision coverage on your policy at the time of the accident, then you could file a claim with your own insurer to have your vehicle repair up to the policy limit, less deductible, if any. However if you did not have collision coverage, then there’s not much you can do for the vehicle damages. Since the other driver was not insured, the only way to go after them would be with an attorney and without guarantee of being able to collect. You could file a PIP claim against your own insurer to cover your medical expenses, if any, up to the policy limit. However, if you have health insurance I would highly recommend you use it instead of filing a PIP claim, as your rates could go up substantially and your insurer could drop you from the coverage for it.

  6. My daughter is listed as a driver on my policy for a car registration in her name has paid for the past 3 years and we were just informed that her is not covered is this legal

    • Armando@4AutoInsuranceQuote

      Hi Tracy,

      Was there some other incorrect information on the policy? Was your daughter living at the address listed for her on the policy? Depending on what kind of incorrect or inaccurate information the insurer found on the policy, they could consider it “material misrepresentation” and have cause to deny your daughter’s claim. What is it that the insurance is not covering? The collision damages? Be sure to double check if your daughter had collision coverage on her policy, if she didn’t, then the policy won’t cover her own vehicle damages, only those of the other party. If there was no incorrect or inaccurate information and the insurer can’t give you a valid reason for denying the claim, then you should consider consulting an attorney to discuss your possible options.

  7. My son is buying my late husbands truck can he insure it in his name while the title remains in my husband’s name until it is paid for?

    • Armando@4AutoInsuranceQuote

      Hi Emily,

      Typically both the insurance company and state require the names on the insurance policy and vehicle registration to match. If they don’t, insurers might not issue a policy and the state might not renew the registration. Although, there may be exceptions in this particular case. What happens next will depend on your state’s laws, but generally when someone passes away an estate is created, which is a combination of all that persons’ debts and assets. An executor, assigned by a will or by the state (if there isn’t a will), will use assets to pay off debts and distribute the assets accordingly. To give an example of difference between states, there are non-community and community states. In a non-community state, surviving relatives wouldn’t be responsible for the debt unless they directly signed or co-signed on it, while in a community state surviving relatives would be responsible regardless. Your best bet may be to consult with a lawyer that specializes in estates.

  8. I want to buy a car for my grandson. I will need to finance the car, so evidently it will be in my name. He does not reside with me, so I told his parents they would have to carry the insurance. How can they cover him if the car is in my name? He is 17 and we are in Texas. Thanks!

    • I’m trying to find out the answer to the very same question.

      • Except, my mom got a used car for my son in her name and I carry him on my insurance… I always have. Trying to see if she may experience any issues getting the title for the car since the insurance will evidently not be in her name. There were no problems nor ownership questions when requesting a quote for adding the vehicle to our policy. We’re located in North Carolina…

        • Armando@4AutoInsuranceQuote

          Hi Robin,

          States will typically require the name on the insurance policy to match the name on the registration, when it comes time to renew it. Did you disclose these details to the insurance company? If not, when and if a claim is filed, they may decline coverage on these grounds. The proper way to make sure you son is covered and have no issues with registration would be to- either have your mother carry the policy for the vehicle in her name and add your son as a driver or switch the vehicle ownership to yourself and have your son listed as a driver on your policy, which I assume is what you have him as now. If your son lives with you but is not listed as a driver, your insurance may or may not afford coverage in the event of a claim.

    • Armando@4AutoInsuranceQuote

      Hi Marletta,

      In most cases, insurers will not issue a policy to a driver when the vehicle is not in their name. Even if they do, the claim may be denied later down the road. Worse still, goodness forbid that your grandson is involved in a serious accident and the other party files a lawsuit, the attorney may have recourse to go after you and your assets for “allowing” your grandson to use “your” car. My suggestion is that you change the vehicle ownership to your grandson’s name and have him take out his own policy or to his parents’ names and have them add him as a driver on the policy.

  9. Dianne, i’m in the same boat as you. but, i’m having a hard time finding a company to Insure the car. can you please tell me the name of a company that might Insure me…Thanks!

    • Shanon Taylor

      I would like to know of an insurancr company that will allow me to put insurance on a vehicle thats not in my name

      • Armando@4AutoInsuranceQuote

        Hi Shannon,

        Generally, insurers will not insure a vehicle that is not registered in your name. The insurance policy should be in the registered owner’s name and you would be listed as an insured driver on their policy. States will typically require proof of an active insurance policy at registration renewal as well and will likely check to see if the name on the insurance policy matches the name on the registration. Even if the vehicle is insured through a resident relative, they are taking the risk of a claim appearing on their record and you would be taking a risk on the claim being denied. Your best course of action would likely be to switch the ownership of the vehicle to your name.

  10. I have 3 wrecks and 2 tickets on my record and can’t afford to get insurance on the car that I’m financing so my questions is can I legally get insurance on my car in someone else’s name?

    • Armando@4AutoInsuranceQuote

      Good afternoon Sabrina,

      If you are the registered owner of the vehicle, some if not most insurers will not cover the vehicle under someone else’s name. If the person you have in mind is able to get the vehicle insured through their policy and does not live with you, they must add you as a listed driver, in which case their rate would skyrocket anyways or the insurer may not even allow you to be added a driver. If the person is able to get the vehicle insured and does live with you, you may or may not be covered in the event of a claim under “Insured Resident Relative” and “Permissive Use”. In the latter case, you are asking whoever you have in mind to take a huge risk on your behalf, as any future claim filed through their insurance will appear on their record, adversely affecting their rates for years. Your best bet may be to look at non-admitted carriers or insurance for high-risk driver offered through state programs that may take you.

  11. Grandson’s vehicle is in my & my husband’s name. Grandson is on our auto insurance policy.

    Now, we all three agree to have grandson purchase his own policy. But do not want to change car ownership at his time. Is this possible?

    • Armando@4AutoInsuranceQuote

      Hi Nora,

      Whether you can do this or not depends on several factors and in my opinion, it’s more trouble to keep the car registered as it is, rather than changing the ownership over to your grandson. State laws generally require an active insurance policy on the car to renew the registration. Upon registration renewal, they may check to see that the covered person on the insurance policy matches the owner of the vehicle. Next, some insurers if not most, won’t knowingly insure your grandson if he’s not the registered owner of the vehicle, especially if he does not live with you. Additionally, goodness forbid that your grandson finds himself at-fault in a serious accident and the other party files suit, they may have legal recourse to go after your and your husband’s assets as legal owners of the vehicle, since you gave your grandson permission to use the vehicle. Again, if your grandson will be regularly driving and insured on this vehicle, I suggest you change the ownership to his name.

  12. William doering

    I have a car in my wifes name and the insurance is in my name can i still drive it

    • Armando@4AutoInsuranceQuote

      Good afternoon William,

      As long as you provided those details to the insurer in writing at the time they set up the policy, you shouldn’t have any issues with coverage. If you didn’t let them know, they may still cover you in the event of a claim, but chances are they will cancel the policy afterwards. If a claim happens to exceed your policy limits the other party and / or their attorney may have recourse to go after your wife since she gave you permission to use her vehicle. You may have trouble come time to renew the registration as the state will likely expect the registration and insurance to match. The correct thing to do is either switch to the vehicle to your name or have the insurance in your wife’s name with you as a listed driver.

  13. My car and tilt was in my name my inssurance were in my friend’s name my car was total. And it was covered under her insurance but now they are trying to say that by it being in her name they don’t wanna pay the claim

    • Armando@4AutoInsuranceQuote

      Good afternoon Reds,

      Sorry to hear this is happening to you. Unfortunately, if that information was not disclosed to the insurer when the policy was set up, that can be considered “material misrepresentation” and they may have cause to deny the claim. Your friend had to have disclosed that to the insurer in writing when the policy was set up or the insurance had to be in your name with your friend listed as a driver. Being that you are the owner of the car, you are the one that has “insurable interest” in making sure that it’s not destroyed. What you can do in this case is try to seek coverage under the other party’s liability coverage (if the accident was their fault) or you and your friend could consult with an attorney to see if there’s anything else to be done.

    • Hello In the state of Florida can some get insurance on a vehicle that only has their name on the title insured on someone else’s policy? The title holder is on this persons policy & also lives with this person and is over the age of 25

      • This person was given the vehicle in question from his mom & they are going to get the title changed over so he will be the owner but his mom said that she was going to just put his name but then said she was going to put his & her name on the title so it’s would say (example only) John Doe &/or Jane Doe as owner. I think that she thinks by doing this she will still have some kind of control over this vehicle so she can hold it over his head. She said that’s shes only doing it like this for the insurance purposes only but she already added his name to her policy years ago as a driver that lives in the house & is over the age 21. So she really doesn’t have to put her name on the title just for insurance purposes because he’s already been on the policy for years as a driver of a vehicle. Is all I said true or am I wrong about this?

        • Andrew@4AutoInsuranceQuote

          Yes, basically everything you assumed is correct. The only time that an insurance policy doesn’t need to be in the name of the same person who owns the title on a vehicle is when they live in the same household and are already listed as a driver. The age of the driver doesn’t necessarily matter at this point. For example, if a mother owns a vehicle and her son drives it and is listed as a driver AND lives in the same household, then the son doesn’t need to have the title in his name. Once he moves out, he will need to get his own policy with the title in his name.

  14. Mary marshall

    I have ms and can’t drive anymore…my youngest son is on my insurance and has been for about 12 years……he moved to Florida I live in North Carolina I own the car and still making payments…..I am letting him use the car because he cannot afford one and mine was just setting in the driveway. Nationwide doesn’t have a company in Florida but said he could drive the car for 6 months. ….can I get insurance for him in Florida even though the tags have to be gotten in NC because I am the owner and still paying for the car so I cannot transfer the title the car is not paid for……so how do I get my car insured in my sons name and I pay for it and keep getting tags in no….DMV said call when it’s time to get the tags and they would tell me what to do…..but I still need insurance but for my son my name can be on the insurance but I won’t be driving or living in Florida……..

  15. Me and boyfriend co own car bought it from private seller can he get the insurance in his name because my driver license record is horrible and the premium is high plus I have a sr22 make me pay in full so can he insure the car and get the tag and registration with just his insurance since we both co own the car

  16. My son bought a used car and I consigned the loan. He is leaving for a year to live in China. I want to take over the payments and drive the car. Can I get insurance for just me or do I still need to cover him on the auto insurance even though he won’t be driving.

  17. Hi I have a car that was financed in my name and my dad took a policy out on it with Geico and it got totaled and I was wanting to know if the insurance with cover since it is my name and insurance is in his name and I am not listed as a driver

  18. I have a lease agreement with my brother on a truck I was buying from him. He still owed money on the truck at the time I signed the lease agreement. The truck was stolen and the insurance paid the truck off to the lean holder and gave the rest of the money to my brother because he was still the registered owner! The policy was in my name and I played the insurance! It was in our lease agreement to do this. Now the insurance refuses to do anything with me and only give the money to my brother. I gave them documents showing I was in fact buying the truck and he even told them I was. Now he won’t give me the check they wrote to him! Is there anything I can do to get my money from the claim?

  19. Hi, so I currently have insurance for a car that is under my dads name. The car was purchased 3 years ago and we never transferred it. I recently got in a fender bender and want to know if my insurance will cover it since its on the car and if my dad will be at fault in any way?

  20. Hi. I recently purchased a car via auction. I insured it but due to service issue couldn’t register because it won’t pass emissions. Recently, someone vandalized it. Will my insurance cover this even though the title isn’t in my name (but I do have it)?

  21. Me and my long-term boyfriend we’re about to get married so I decided to let my insurance policy on my car go and he added me to his we broke up and he ran into my car I filed a claim with the insurance company they said that the car damages exceeded the value of the vehicle and wanted to total loss the car we are no longer together but the insurance company said that they would pay him the amount of the car and not me even though the car is owned by me I also paid car insurance even though the policy was in his name what should I do because the insurance company wants to pay him for a car that’s not his and that he damaged

  22. I had a friends car covered on my insurance they are not listed on the policy but the do own the car. There has been an accident that isn’t my friends faults can my friend handle the other people’s insurance company or will I have to.

  23. I have a car I don’t drive and the title is in my name. I want to let someone use it but get there on insurance/ tags etc. do I have to sign the title over to them in order for them to get there own insurance on that car?

  24. I want to buy a car and have the car in my name. I want my another driver to insure my car. Is it possible for me to have the car in my name and have another driver insure my car?

  25. Hi how are you ? I own a car the title is in my name. It is insured & registered in a friends name. I got into a accident and now DMV are asking me if I had permission to drive my car in which he never ever drove. We are not on speaking terms and dont know what to do

  26. I have a car awarded to me in a divorce settlement. My ex-husband is still required to pay the monthly payments. Once the car is paid off he is supposed to fwd the title to me. I insure the car and my daughter was involved in an accident where the other driver was at fault. The car will likely be a total loss. Because I have a divorce decree that awards me the car, I am concerned my ex-husband my try to intercept any monies paid regarding the loss of the vehicle. How do I avoid him trying to get any funds awarded if the vehicle is totaled?

  27. Hi my ex husband and I financed a car two years ago. We recently split and I would like to cancel the full coverage insurance. It’s under my name. I recently found out his license is suspended. Both of our names are on the title. Would he be able to register the car under someone else’s name? Because i would like to cancel the insurance. or how would I find out if he was able to register the car under someone else’s policy? Thanks in advance.

  28. Georgeann Selander

    My son in law is currently in prison I am the sole driver because my daughter doesn’t have a license and I take her and pick her up so she can work, can I get insurance in my name, the vehicle is paid off,

  29. My 17 year old stepson has moved in with us. He drives an old truck that is in his father’s and his name. Can I add him and his truck to our policy since the primary owner is not on the policy and my stepson is a minor?

  30. Hi so im currently on my moms insurance and i was looking to finance a car in my name, so would my mom be able to have it put on her insurance? Im also listed as a driver on her insurance just the car would be in my name.

  31. Christina Sailor

    A 78yr old man that did’t speak English side swiped me while on vacation in another state, and claims I hit him. He’s not on the card as an insured driver and don’t know if he’s the owner of the car involved. What happens happens next?

  32. My sister bought a car and is the only one on the title. She is 18 and pays for her insurance and my moms.

    She is on my moms insurance and my mom is saying that she (my mom) HAS to be on the title for her to continue to have insurance on her (my sisters) car.

    I have never heard of this before any thoughts?

  33. My friends car was stolen and she is concerned that her ex took out insurance on it… The car belongs solely to her so if he did get the insurance will he be able to file a claim? Will the insurance company even look to see who is owner of the car?

  34. If I have inherited a vehicle of my late grandmother but the title is in her name until it goes through the proper probate channels, is it difficult to get liability insurance in the state if Alabama?

  35. I own a vehicle free and clear. My son wants to use it for a short time and can get insurance through his Progressive policy on the vehicle even though it is registered under my name. If he were in an accident, and has the vehicle on his policy, can a person come after me as the vehicle “owner”?

  36. I have a car that I am financing. I have a friend that wants to take over the payment (she is not able to get a loan). I have no problem with that. My question is she able to insure the car (on our own) or do I need to add her as a driver. She lives in another county,.

  37. If my son & daughter in law owns the car but he gave me the car and Im paying the notes on it, but his wife register it in another state. Can I take ownership?

    • Actually the lender owns the car…it has a lien. Once the lien it payed off, they will mail him the original title and then he can sign the car over to you. In my state you can insure a car that isn’t titled to you though. Call your state tax commission for your state’s title regulations and a insurance agent for insurance in your state.

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