Only five companies offer non-owner car insurance policies nationwide – GEICO, State Farm, Nationwide,The General, and Titan. The good news is that this makes shopping around for the best price fairly simple. You just need to call each provider to request a quote, since non-owner policy quotes aren’t available online through any of these insurers.
The Simple Dollar’s Top Picks for Best Non-Owner Car Insurance
Each of these companies offer non-owner car insurance plans in all 50 states, and are known for their quality customer service, according to JD Power. If you have additional policies through GEICO already, like home or renter’s insurance, that will likely be your cheapest option, since it’s the only company that has bundling discounts for non-owner car insurance policies. When I called to ask for quotes myself, GEICO had the easiest phone tree to navigate, and had me speaking with a friendly, helpful person the fastest.
How Non-Owner Car Insurance Works
A non-owner car insurance policy provides you with bodily injury and property damage liability coverage when you’re driving a vehicle that you don’t own (and would otherwise have a regular car insurance policy on). If you borrow someone’s car and are involved in an accident, the vehicle owner’s car insurance pays out first. If it’s not enough to cover damages, that’s when your non-owner policy would kick-in as secondary coverage. It’s important to remember, though: non-owner policies don’t include collision coverage, so it won’t cover repairs to the vehicle you were driving, only the vehicle or piece of property you hit.
Unless you’re worried about the coverage amount not being enough on the existing policy of whatever car you’re borrowing, you don’t need non-owner car insurance.
Optional coverages normally associated with car insurance, like collision, comprehensive, towing, and rental reimbursement, are not available through non-owner policies, since there is no vehicle for the policy to insure. Generally, there are no deductibles on non-owner policies because of this. Some providers also offer medical payments and uninsured/underinsured motorist bodily injury coverage as part of their non-owner car insurance policies, too, so be sure to ask when you request a quote if this is something you’re interested in.
Some non-owner policies will also provide liability coverage for rental vehicles, but not all of them do. Read the fine print on your non-owner policy if you intend to use it for rental cars, and make sure it actually covers you when you’re driving a rental vehicle. If you’re not renting cars often, it’s generally cheaper to purchase one-time insurance through the rental company each time.
When Do You Need Non-Owner Car Insurance?
You’re not legally required to have a non-owner car insurance policy if you don’t own a vehicle, unless your state requires you to file a proof-of-insurance certificate to maintain your driver license, such as an SR-22 or FR44. In that case, a non-owner policy will be your only option if you don’t own a vehicle to insure.
If you’re only going to be without a personal car temporarily, a non-owner policy is an affordable way to make sure that a lapse in insurance coverage doesn’t mean you end up paying a higher rate for regular insurance when you do purchase a car.
If you’re enrolled in a car sharing service like car2go, and use it regularly, you might be tempted to get non-owner car insurance, but read your membership contract before you do. Many car sharing services include liability and damage coverage as part of their membership. Don’t buy extra coverage if you don’t have to.
When you rent a car, check and see what coverage is offered through your credit card or the car rental company. It may be cheaper to pay a one-time fee for insurance than to keep a non-owner insurance policy active if you don’t rent that often. Of course, if you’re regularly renting a car in lieu of owning one, a non-owner policy that offers liability coverage on rental vehicles will likely be your most cost-effective option.
Non-Owner Car Insurance Rates
Fortunately, non-owner car insurance premiums are significantly lower than those for regular car insurance. A non-owner car insurance policy will cost you roughly 90% less than a comprehensive policy, provided you have a safe driving record and excellent credit. Even with bad credit and a less than perfect driving record, your non-owner premiums are likely to be about 20% less than a regular comprehensive policy.
Insurance companies look at how big a risk you are to determine how likely it is that you’ll cause an accident when assigning rates.
With regular car insurance, one of the largest factors that determines how much you pay in premiums is the value of the car being insured. A $200,000 sports car costs a lot more to insure than an $18,000 mini van. With non-owner car insurance, there’s no car to insure, so you are the main factor that determines the rate.
Someone who has a clean driving record and excellent credit is going to get a lower rate than someone with a lot of citations, accidents, and less-than-perfect credit. Don’t take this personally – just clean up your credit and keep a clean driving record, and you’ll be able to get a lower rate over time. Where you live also determines how much your non-owner car insurance will cost.
The Bottom Line
You’re not legally required to have a non-owner car insurance policy if you don’t own a car, unless your state requires you to file a proof-of-insurance certificate to maintain your driver license. If you’re going to be without a car for only a period of time, and want to maintain continuous coverage so your premium rates don’t go up later, a non-owner policy can also be a smart option. GEICO, State Farm, Nationwide, The General, and Titan are the only companies that offer non-owner policies nationwide. Since you can’t get non-owner car insurance quotes online, you’ll have to call each of these providers to find the best price for you.