Can I Buy Car Insurance on a Car I Don't Own?

Fran
Fran Majidi
August 11, 2020

Maybe the colleague you carpool with is buying a new car and is willing to pay for the car’s maintenance and gas if you deal with insurance. Can you buy insurance on someone else’s car? Or maybe your girlfriend has a car and simply can’t afford insurance but you can. Can you buy the policy in your name? How does it work if you want to insure a car you don’t own?

Getting insurance on a car you don’t own may be difficult. Most insurance companies like to keep things tidy by having the policyholder be the same person who owns the car. Usually, the car is registered in that person’s name too. And in order to get registered, you need insurance. There is simply less risk involved when everything points to one person, and it’s just not as messy this way. In both of the examples above, for instance, the insurance agent will likely try to convince you to simply insure the car under the registered driver’s name. However, there are certain circumstances in which you may be able to insure a car that is not registered in your name. We explain.

Will an Insurance Company Cover Me if I Don’t Own the Car?

As you can imagine, the reason why it’s not very easy to insure a car owned by a different person is the risk of insuring a stolen car. And frankly, circumstances that require two separate people as the owner and the policyholder are not very common. Most insurance companies like to rely on the fact that a car’s owner has a stake in taking care not to have an accident in a car they own or lease. They call this “insurable interest.”

In New York State, for example, you cannot register your car unless you have car insurance so the two go hand-in-hand. This is the one state in which you need to be the owner to insure the car. Other states are more lenient. You may want to contact your state’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to see whether it’s legal to have a person insure a car registered in another person’s name. In California, for instance, you can have one name on the registration and another on the insurance, no problem! But even in California, the car must be insured first in order for you to register it. You also have the option of joining another person’s policy, if you live together by being listed as a driver on the policy. You won’t need to buy a separate policy at all.

You may live in a state where it is not expressly forbidden to insure a car you do not own but you may still have trouble finding an insurance company to take you on. Your best bet is to shop around for an insurer using SmartFinancial. You’re bound to find at least one company that will insure you, if you prove that you have a vested interest in the car and need it to conduct your day-to-day activities.

Find a Great Car Insurance Rate

What’s the Easiest Way to Insure a Car That’s Not Yours?

Check to see if you can be added to the registration or to have the registration transferred over to you. This is by far the easiest way for you to insure the car. To share registration, you do not need to live together. Or consider having the owner of the car “gift” you the vehicle, which means you can skip sales tax and get a transfer of the car title, with which you can register and buy insurance.

There is also an option to buy a non-owner car insurance policy (see below).

What’s a Non-owner Car Insurance Policy?

Non-owner car insurance is also called non-drivers insurance. Most people who buy a non-owner car insurance policy do so because they mainly rent cars or drive other people’s cars regularly.

A non-owner car insurance policy provides the liability necessary to drive a rented or borrowed car without any worries. People who often use a car that is not their own buy this type of policy to ensure adequate coverage in addition to the car’s primary policyholder.

Buying a non-owner car insurance policy is an option if the insurance company will not allow you to be added to the owner’s policy as a listed driver. However, you will not be covered if you drive a car that is not registered. You cannot register a car with a non-owner car insurance policy either.

In terms of coverage, a non-owner car insurance policy not only includes liability protections for bodily injury and property damage, but it also provides medical payments or personal injury protection coverage. It also covers uninsured or underinsured motorist liability and rental car liability. It’s important to note that no one else is covered under a non-owner car insurance policy other than the owner of the policy. This type of policy is also usually secondary to the owner’s own insurance policy. There is usually no deductible on a non-owner policy because it kicks in after the primary insurance is maxed out.

What if I Just Say I Own It When I Don’t?

If you start off a relationship with an insurer by lying, you’re in for a rough ride. You may even get rejected for coverage. If your lie is found out after you’ve had an accident, you may not have any coverage. Insurance companies can easily find out the truth of who owns the car, and by lying you risk getting dropped, which will make getting insured again not only more difficult but more expensive. Always remember that insurance companies know more than you think they know. They often ask questions to which they can easily find the right answers themselves. For instance, “Have you been in an accident?” is a question that many people lie about. Usually, insurers will raise your rate for lying and the whole question is a sort of test to see if you’ll tell the truth. Dishonesty is considered a risk factor. If you’re still not sure what your options are, you may want to speak with an insurance agent that knows a thing or two about which insurers may allow you to insure a car that’s not your own. To begin, just enter your zip code below.

Get a Free Auto Insurance Quote Online Now.

Related Articles

Auto Insurance Why Do Car Insurance Quotes Change Daily?

Auto insurance quotes change quite frequently. Even daily quote changes are possible as an insurance company assesses the risk profile of a potential customer. We'll tell you why.

Auto Insurance Can You Buy Temporary Car Insurance in the U.S?

There are instances when temporary insurance is needed and it is possible you may already be covered by a longer term car insurance policy so you won’t have to do a thing.

Looking for Auto Insurance?

Compare rates from dozens of companies in less than 3 minutes.