Rachael Brennan has been working in the insurance industry since 2006 when she began working as a licensed insurance representative for 21st Century Insurance, during which time she earned her Property and Casualty license in all 50 states. After several years she expanded her insurance expertise, earning her license in Health and AD&D insurance as well. She has worked for small health insuran...

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Chris Harrigan has an economic degree from Limestone College and an MBA from Clemson University. He previously managed auto insurance claims for Enterprise Rent-A-Car. Currently, he is using his business and insurance expertise to provide insurance data analysis and visualizations to enhance the user experience.

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Reviewed by Chris Harrigan
Former Auto Insurance Claims Manager Chris Harrigan

UPDATED: Mar 12, 2022

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Key Takeaways

  • Typically, you can’t insure a car or vehicle that’s not in your name 
  • Instead, you need to purchase non-owner insurance, which doesn’t cover a specific vehicle, for a car that you are borrowing, renting, have been given as a gift, or that is provided by your employer
  • If you don’t want non-owner insurance, you should co-title the car or add yourself as an additional interest

If you are trying to insure a vehicle that is not in your name, you might find it difficult, but it is not impossible. You can insure a car that you do not own under very specific circumstances, although it does not happen often. You must meet pre-determined requirements to acquire insurance coverage for a car that you do not own, and not all insurance companies will offer coverage to a person whose name is not on the car’s title.

Why would a person insure a car that is not in their name?

There are several scenarios in which an individual would insure a car that is not in their name. For example, the person might not own the car, but be the only one driving it. It could belong to a family member. It could also be a work vehicle, or maybe someone loaned you the car. The only way a company will offer insurance is if you prove that you have an insurable interest in the car.

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What is insurable interest?

Insurable interest is the motivation a person has to get something — in this instance, a car — covered under an insurance policy. This is the first thing insurance companies like GEICO and State Farm look for when crafting individual policies. If you are trying to get a car that is not in your name covered by insurance, you have to prove it’s something that, if damaged, would cause one financial hardship.

When it comes to getting a car that you do not own covered by a policy, insurable interest in the vehicle may not cut it, but there are other ways to get insurance coverage for a car not in your name, such as non-owner car insurance.

Types of Non-owner Car Insurance

Many major car insurance companies provide policies for non-owners, and there are different types of non-owner car insurance, depending on the situation. Here are the most common reasons a person would need non-owner car insurance:

Borrowing a Car From a Family Member or a Friend

If you are borrowing a car from a friend or a family member, be sure to ask the vehicle’s policyholder to speak with their insurance company to ensure that you are a covered driver. Typically, the insurance company covers “permissive use,” even if you aren’t on the list of registered users. Permissive use is when the policyholder and insurance company permit you to drive the car. The owner’s coverage extends to you when you drive the car.

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Renting a Vehicle

If you already have car insurance coverage for a vehicle in your name, that policy often extends to rental cars. That said, you must carry full coverage for rental car damages, theft, or vandalization to be covered. If you do not have insurance on your own vehicle, rental companies offer insurance coverage. They usually will not let someone rent a car unless they purchase coverage or show proof of coverage on another vehicle.

Company Cars

If you are required to drive a lot for work, your company may provide you with a company car. In this case, the company owns the car, and is usually listed on the insurance policy. You are not required to take out an auto policy on a company car, although they might add you to their insurance policy as a driver.

Being Gifted a Vehicle

You would also need non-owner car insurance if someone gave you a car as a gift. A minor might keep their new vehicle under a parent or guardian’s policy, but insurance companies encourage anyone over 18 years old to purchase their own policy and insure their car under their name.

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What does non-owner insurance cover?

Unlike regular car insurance policies, non-owner insurance policies do not cover all the bases. A non-owner policy only covers the policy holder. Additional drivers cannot be added. Since it does not cover a specific vehicle, non-owner insurance will not cover collisions, towing and labor, comprehensive coverage, rental reimbursement, or custom parts and equipment. It does cover injury to others and any property damage that might occur. Plus, you can choose add-on coverage for personal injury, medical claims, and uninsured motorist liability.

How much does non-owner insurance cost?

As with everything else, the cost of non-owner insurance on a car not in your name can vary. Also, since non-owners typically drive a vehicle less, the costs per year are usually lower. Several things factor into how much a non-owner insurance plan can cost.

  • Where you purchase the insurance policy from
  • How much coverage you want
  • How often you drive the car
  • Your driving history (i.e., past accidents, claims, etc.)

Yearly rates for non-owner car insurance policies range anywhere from $400 to $600. The average cost is around $475. As you can tell, this is much cheaper than purchasing a policy for a car that is in your name.

What companies offer non-owner car insurance?

Here is a list of insurance companies that offer car insurance coverage to non-owners:

Acceptance Insurance Farmers Progressive
Allstate GEICO State Farm
American Family The General Travelers
Dairyland Liberty Mutual USAA
Direct Auto Nationwide

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What if I don’t want non-owner insurance?

If you aren’t interested in non-owner insurance, there are a few other ways to get insurance coverage for a car not in your name. You could add the owner of the vehicle to your existing insurance coverage as additional interest or gain partial ownership of the car not in your name via co-titling. There are a couple of steps if you want to go this route. First, you and the current vehicle owner must jointly apply for the new title together. Then you fill out a form, pay the fee, and take go to the DMV together.