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Can I Buy Car Insurance Without a Driver's License?

If you're asking this question about car insurance, you're most likely planning to give someone else permission to drive your car on a fairly regular basis. Obviously, you yourself couldn't be the driver because no state in the U.S. allows an unlicensed citizen to get behind the wheel of a vehicle to cruise down the road or even idle in a parked car in a parking lot.

So if a spouse, a family member, a friend or, say, a roommate will be using your ride, your ride needs to have insurance coverage. And, yes, you can get insurance for your car without a license, but the process may be a bit more complicated than if you yourself were licensed.

I Need To Get Car Insurance, But What Kind?

Interestingly, you don't need car insurance to buy a car, but you do need it to drive that car. Even if you are buying car insurance without a driver's license, your vehicle will still need to be covered by the same minimum insurance as a licensed driver's vehicle.

When it comes to auto coverage, every state except two—New Hampshire and Virginia (long story)—requires its licensed drivers to purchase a basic package of liability car insurance.

What Is Liability Car Insurance?

Liability car insurance covers any bodily injuries to another car's occupants as well as any property damage resulting from the actions of your vehicle. Even if you purchase car insurance without a license, any driver of your car—whether or not they are listed as a driver on the policy—will be covered if they are responsible for an accident.

In the U.S., a driver with good credit and a good driving history pays, on average, about $1,500 a year for minimum liability car insurance. But that's just the national average! If you shop around, you can probably get auto coverage for hundreds of dollars less.

To find out your state's exact minimum liability insurance requirements, go to your department of vehicle's website or speak with a licensed insurance agent.

What's the Secret To Getting Car Insurance Without a License?

If you want to purchase car insurance without a license, you must list yourself as an "excluded" driver on your own auto insurance policy.

If you list yourself as an excluded driver, you can buy car insurance without having a driver's license. That car insurance policy won't cover you, but it will cover any licensed driver who uses your vehicle.

Yes, you can get car insurance without having a driver's license.

When calculating your premium—the dollar amount you pay for your auto insurance over a 12-month period—your auto insurer will take into account the risk profile of the listed primary driver and any permissive drivers of your vehicle.

Auto Insurance Does Not Cover a Policy's "Excluded" Drivers

If you have no license or a suspended license, you cannot legally drive the car or, technically, even sit behind the wheel of a parked car. However, once you declare yourself an "excluded" driver on the policy, you can be the hero who buys the auto insurance coverage.

However, if you are busted for driving without a driver's license and without auto insurance, you could be subject to the following penalties:

  • Fines
  • Impoundment of your vehicle
  • Suspension or revocation of your vehicle registration
  • Court-mandated community service
  • Jail time

If those possible penalties aren't onerous enough, you would still have to pay any court fees and reinstatement fees. But even then, your unlicensed status would still disallow you from getting behind the wheel, even if you own the car.

Who Will Be the "Primary" and "Permissive" Drivers on Your Policy?

If you buy car insurance without a license and list yourself as an excluded driver, your car insurance company will ask you to identify the policy's "primary" driver, or the licensed driver who will use the vehicle the most—for example, a spouse or a personal driver. Other, occasional, perhaps one-time-only licensed drivers—family members, a caretaker, a pal on a late-night beer run—are called "permissive" drivers. Your auto insurance policy will automatically cover your listed primary driver as well as any permissive drivers of your vehicle.

Because it's only normal for household members to "borrow the car" on a fairly regular basis, your insurance company will want to know the driving history of every household member who has a driver's license.

The driving record of your policy's "primary" driver will affect your annual premium.

Your Auto Insurance Premium Will Be Affected by the Drivers Listed on Your Policy

If you buy car insurance without a license and list yourself as an "excluded" driver, your driving legacy won't affect your insurance rate, but the driving histories of those you choose to list on your policy will indeed affect that annual rate.

If any of the drivers listed on your policy has a poor driving record (moving violations, accidents, a DUI conviction) or a high-risk profile (a male teenager, for example), your premium will cost more. This applies to not only your listed primary driver but also any family or household permissive drivers.

When You Get Car Insurance, You Have the Power To Choose the Policy's Drivers

It is important to remember that, as the buyer of the car insurance, you have the power to put whomever you wish on your policy. In the same way, you have can choose to make anyone in your family or household an "excluded" driver.

Finally, some insurers provide reduced coverage for permissive drivers.

Need Car Insurance But Don't Have a License?

Some Insurers Won't Let You Buy Insurance Without a License

It is not against any law in any state that you can't purchase insurance without a driver's license. Even so, insurance companies may refuse to offer you coverage, as they are notoriously risk-adverse.

In short, an auto insurance carrier may find it doubtful and perhaps beyond the realm of possibility that an unlicensed car owner would never, ever, ever drive their very own car to, say, the grocery store on a Thursday evening "just to get a few things" for movie night.

One Great Tip for Buying Auto Insurance Without a License

If one of the major insurers refuses to offer you insurance with no license, you should look into small or regional companies. Contact a local, independent agent: They may be familiar with insurers that provide coverage policies to car owners who want to buy insurance without a valid driver's license.

You may need to call insurers directly, as you typically must provide a valid license number when purchasing a policy online.

SmartFinancial Compares Insurance Polices—for Free

Do you own a car without a license but you're interested in getting car insurance? Do you not have the time or patience that's necessary for finding and getting car insurance? SmartFinancial can help you find that insurer for free.

Using artificial intelligence and smart algorithms, SmartFinancial price and compare insurance policies for you—in just minutes. What's more, SmartFinancial's licensed insurance agents are experts on the auto insurance industry. So, if you need insurance but you're an unlicensed driver, they can help because they've done it before for other clients.

Enter your zip code or call 855-214-2291 for free, real-time car insurance quotes.

Can I Get Insurance With a Driver's Permit?

It is possible to get car insurance with just a driver’s permit, but many companies require that you get your driver's license between 30 to 45 days before you start a car insurance policy. Also, You would need to add a primary driver to your policy, because you need someone to drive the car. When you drive with your permit, the licensed person riding with you is responsible for the vehicle until you get your license.

To get car insurance without a license, identify yourself as an "excluded" driver on the policy.

But in some areas, you can get car insurance with just a driver’s permit. You can even buy a car and register it with a learner’s permit. However, don’t ever practice driving an uninsured car. If you are learning to drive, and the car that is being operated is insured by someone over the age of 21, then that person’s coverage usually covers you too.

Young people with a learner’s permit who are living at home with their parents are typically covered by their parents insurance but it is advised that you check with your insurance company to confirm this information before practicing behind-the-wheel.

Can I Get Insurance with a Suspended License?

When you get your driver’s license suspended, cannot drive legally. Many car insurance companies will cancel or decide not to insurance with a suspended license.

To reinstate your license, ask your insurance carrier about filing an SR-22 compliance form. Otherwise called a "certificate of financial responsibility,” an SR-22 doubles as "proof of insurance" for high-risk drivers. Ask your licensed agent about the SR-22.

How Long Does a License Suspension Last?

The length of the suspension varies according to state and the severity of the violation. For example, the first time you get a DUI in the state of California there is a minimum license suspension of six months.

If you get your license suspended for any reason, it will have a negative impact on your insurance rate. Moving violations often lead to higher insurance premiums because the insurance company views reckless driving as a major risk.

Many of us may be relieved to know that, when determining an annual premium, most auto insurance companies will only review the past three to five years of your driving record.

Can I Register My Car Without a License?

If you are registering your vehicle for the first time, you will need to get your documents in order. Every state is different, so go to your department of motor vehicles' website to find out your state's specific registration requirements. However, if you are registering your vehicle for the first time, you may need these documents:

  • Driver's license or identification card
  • Proof of insurance
  • Proof of sales tax payment
  • Car title or signed lease agreement
  • Proof of a passed safety inspection
  • Proof of a passed smog test
  • Vehicle registration application form

Yes, some states only need an approved identification card, not a driver's license. However, if you are renewing your registration, you may need a slightly different set of documents:

  • Vehicle identification number (VIN)
  • License plate number
  • Driver's license number
  • Car insurance details
  • Vehicle registration card

Once again, you should check with your DMV about your state's specific registration requirements and fees.

The Last, Surefire, Foolproof Option for Getting Car Insurance with No License

If you own a car but don’t have a driver’s license and can’t insure the car, the best, last option would be to have someone else insure the car. Of course, that person would have to be at least 21 years old and a driver with a valid license. Further, the car must be registered in that person’s name for them to get car insurance.

If and when you get a valid driver’s license, you can transfer everything to your name: the registration, the title, the license plates and the auto insurance. Further, you can list yourself as the primary driver on your new car insurance policy. If you are a new driver or a driver who has let their auto insurance lapse, you will most likely have a higher rate than your previously listed primary driver.

SmartFinancial Knows Insurance Companies and Insurance Policies

To find the lowest insurance rates, enter your zip code below or call 855-214-2291 to speak one-on-one with a SmartFinancial insurance specialist. No matter your situation, SmartFinancial will compare insurance companies' policies to pinpoint the best, lowest-cost car insurance for you and your budget, even if you don't have a driver's license.

Get a Free Auto Insurance Quote Online Now.

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