UPDATED: Mar 13, 2020
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If you don’t own a car, you might consider buying a non-owners auto insurance policy. This type of insurance makes sense for rental cars and cars you are borrowing. Always remember – in the United States, it is illegal to drive in all 50 states without at least some form of insurance (liability insurance is always needed). So if you plan on driving, even if it is a car you don’t own, you need to make sure that you are insured!
Non-owners insurance is quite different than your average auto insurance policy in that it usually only includes liability coverage (see below). Most non-owners policies do not include collision coverage, comprehensive coverage, medical coverage, and roadside assistance. That is not to say you cannot buy these separately – they will just cost you a bit more. Also, with non-owners insurance, you will typically not be required to meet a deductible before your insurance coverage kicks in.
When buying a non-owners insurance policy, you should make sure your plan includes these important coverage types:
- Liability Coverage – This will cover you for any damage done to other vehicles, property, and people. You need to have this to protect yourself from lawsuits and other legal troubles if you get into an accident when driving someone else’s car.
- Loss Damage Waiver – This is similar to comprehensive coverage in that it covers theft of a borrowed vehicle. This will protect you in case the car is stolen while under your care. Often, if renting a car, your credit card company will provide this coverage complimentary.
Who Can Buy A Non Owner Policy?
In general, non-owner insurance policies are there for people who do not own any vehicles and do not have regular access to vehicles (this includes family cars, work cars, etc.). Non-owners policies also will only cover one driver. They are not like other car insurance policies where you can add spouses, family members, and other people in your household under you. Only the single policyholder will be covered.
So, if you own a car, non-owners auto insurance probably isn’t for you. It will only protect you when you are driving a car you that you have no ownership in and is not regularly available to you.
Non-owners insurance is not usually provided for any of the following:
- Cars registered to you or vehicles that you own that are not registered to you
- Cars owned by people living under the same roof as you
- Cars loaned to you
- Cars that are available for you to use regularly (i.e., work vehicles).
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Advantages And Disadvantages Of Non-Owners Auto Insurance
Like everything else in life, the purchase of a non-owners insurance policy comes with positives and negatives. Let’s take a look at some of them below:
The good thing about non-owners insurance policies is that they can help “occasional drivers” remain legal and covered whenever they decide to hit the road. So, if you aren’t a vehicle owner, or a regular driver, having a non-owners policy could be of great use to you. Here’s how:
- When renting a car, most people agree to whatever insurance coverage the rental agent pushes on them (or they take their chances with their credit card’s coverage). By getting a non-owners policy, you’ll know exactly what insurance you have and in what situations you are covered.
- If you live in an urban area like NYC or Chicago and rely mostly on public transportation, getting a non-owners policy will keep you insured for whenever you spontaneously want to get behind the wheel of a ZipCar, a friend’s vehicle, or a ride-share. You’ll never have to worry about being covered for those weekend road-trips again.
- By having a non-owners policy, you’ll be immune to traffic stops from police officers looking to issue citations. You’ll no longer have to worry about getting a ticket for lack of insurance coverage when you decide to drive a vehicle that isn’t your own.
- Non-owners policies will also keep you from worrying that your next car accident will bankrupt you. Unless it’s your vehicle, you can’t always be sure that the car you are driving is fully insured. One single-car accident with injuries or fatalities could financially cripple those without adequate insurance coverage.
After presenting the advantages of non-owners coverage, it’s clear that having this type of insurance policy could be extremely useful for some people. However, non-owners insurance is not what insurance experts would call a “must-have.” Below, we take a look at some of the unattractive aspects and constraints of this type of coverage.
- Non-owners insurance only really helps a small subset of drivers. If you drive your own vehicle most of the time and do not do much traveling, there is no reason for you to get this type of policy.
- As stated at the beginning of this article, non-owners policies don’t usually come with collision coverage. That means these policies will not cover damage to the vehicle you are driving. They will only offer liability coverage in case you damage another car (or property) or injure another person.
- Non-owners policies won’t usually cover vehicles from your job, work, or home. Non-owners coverage usually only applies to vehicles you don’t have “standard access” to. So if you live with your mom and borrow her car, or drive your company’s car home from work one day, you will not be covered. (For these vehicles that you do have standard access to, being added as a driver to a policy is often much cheaper than purchasing a non-owners policy, anyway.)
How To Get Non-Owners Car Insurance
Adding non-owners insurance makes a lot of sense for people who rent or borrow cars often. Having a non-owners insurance policy can save you a lot of money in the long term. Rental car companies often sell insurance policies over the counter and can be as much as $100 per day. On the other hand, a typical non-owners insurance policy might only cost you a couple of hundred dollars per year. If you drive vehicles other than your own regularly, adding this type of insurance coverage might be a smart decision.
Without non-owners insurance, if you get into an accident with a borrowed vehicle, the owner’s car insurance policy should cover any damages up to the policy limits. As the driver of the vehicle, however, you could face some legal actions from the car owner or the car owner’s insurance company. If you hold a non-owners insurance policy, however, you will be protected from these claims. This is why non-owners insurance is essential.
Finding affordable non-owners auto insurance is not as hard as you may think. You can purchase non-owners auto insurance for all major insurance companies. Prices, however, will vary from company to company. To get started, use quote comparison websites to compare quotes. Do your research and find the policy that fits you best at a price you can afford.