What Is Non-Owner Car Insurance, And Who Should Have It?

When you decide to buy a car, you must make an important decision: whether or not to purchase auto insurance. That choice depends on numerous factors. But when you take the responsibility of driving someone else’s car, getting auto insurance becomes necessary. You’re now responsible for someone else’s belonging, and you don’t want to stand liable if something goes wrong while you’re driving their car. This is why you need non-owner car insurance.

This blog is for you if you don’t know what that is or why you might need it. So read on and see if this insurance is right for you!

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What Do We Mean By Non-Owner Car Insurance?

This insurance is for individuals who aren’t car owners and aren’t regular drivers either. It’s a type of coverage that can help cover damages if you’ve been in an accident in someone else’s car. It’s also known as non-fleet or non-lessee coverage because it covers an individual who isn’t the vehicle owner driving the car.

It’s not the same as rental car insurance, which covers damage to your vehicle while it’s being rented by someone else. Non-owner coverage can also be used as an umbrella policy if you have other policies (like liability or comprehensive).

It’s important to note that there are two main non-owner policies: primary and secondary coverage. 

  • Primary coverage pays for bodily injury when your liability limits are exhausted but does not provide any compensation for property damage caused by another driver’s negligence or criminal acts involving their vehicle. 
  • Secondary coverage provides additional protection beyond what primary coverage offers. For example, if one driver injures another person while driving without proper license/registration on their policy, this type would require both parties’ respective insurers to pay out damages incurred during this incident. 
Insurance advisor explaining auto insurance policy to a client

When Do You Need Non-Owner Coverage?

When you lease or finance a car but don’t have any lien on it. This means you aren’t responsible for any debt on that vehicle. In this case, you need to purchase non-owner auto insurance. While your standard policy will cover you when driving other cars you own, non-owner coverage ensures that if something happens while driving someone else’s car, your coverage will pay for damages.

For example, if you’re in an accident and are at fault, your insurance provider may reimburse your friend up to their liability limits. If those limits are less than what is needed to repair their car, you would be held responsible for paying out of pocket until your friend can be reimbursed from their insurer.

Broken windshield of a car after a car accident

How Much Does It Cost?

The average annual cost of this type of auto insurance is around $300. However, depending on your age, location, and credit score, you can easily pay more or less. You may even qualify for a discount if you have a history with an auto insurance company or participate in a program such as Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD). Check with your insurance agent to see what discounts might be available to you.

Factors That Affect Insurance Cost

The most important factors affecting this insurance type costs are the car’s age, type, driving history, and coverage limit. 

  • Car’s Age: If you’re young and have a newer model vehicle, it will be more expensive than an older one that’s been in use longer. Older cars have lower premium rates because they’re less likely to be stolen or damaged by accidents.
  • Type: Cars with higher mileage tend to be more expensive than those with lower mileage because they don’t need regular maintenance as much as newer models (and therefore don’t fall apart all the time). 
  • Driving history: Drivers with a good driving history and fewer accidents on their records usually have to pay lower premium rates. 
  • Coverage limit: The higher the coverage limit, the higher the premium rates will also be. Insurance agents recommend that you at least buy coverage that fulfills all the requirements set by your state. 

When Should You Consider This Insurance Type?

  • You often go for car rentals. If you’re often renting cars from car rental agencies, getting this insurance is a good idea because you don’t want to stand liable in front of the rental company.
  • You’re a regular user of car-sharing services. If you use car-sharing services such as Getaround or Zipcar, you’ll need this insurance because these car-sharing companies only provide coverage to a certain extent.
  • Your state mandates an SR-22 form. If you’ve had problems with license suspension or DUI convictions, your state will mandate you to provide evidence of auto insurance. Filing an SR-22 is the only way non-owners with a traffic rules violation record can attain auto insurance.

Important FAQs

1. Will My Rates Go Up If I Encounter An Accident While I’m Driving Someone Else’s Vehicle?

Yes. Suppose you are in an accident while you’re in someone else’s car and have your auto insurance policy. In that case, your insurance company will most likely not cover any damage or medical bills post that accident. Your rates may even increase because of it. Before taking a friend’s car out for a spin, check your state’s laws to see if this insurance type is available in your area and what kind of coverage it offers.

2. What Should I Do If I Have Non-Owner Car Insurance And Buy A Car?

When you buy a car using non-owner car insurance coverage as your primary insurance source, you must purchase another policy to cover yourself as an owner of a vehicle. Contact your insurance provider and make sure it has you listed on its policy as a named driver on all cars you intend to drive.

An illustraion of two people shaking hands while buying auto insurance

3. Does This Type Of Insurance Cover Rental Cars?

In some cases, it does. If you need a rental car while your car is in-shop or totaled, non-owner insurance will cover your rental. If you’ve got comprehensive and collision coverage on your policy, you can use it for rentals (if needed). Remember that some rental car companies won’t let you rent a vehicle if you aren’t insured.

However, you’ll have to look for other options if you get into an accident while driving a rental car. These can include your credit card provider or car rental company coverage.

Speak To An Auto Insurance Agent In Indian Orchard

At Western Mass Auto Insurance, our insurance agents have managed to stay on top of the game with our premium customer services and quality auto insurance policies. We offer low down payment and low-cost insurance policies. Our insurance agents will answer all your questions if you want to insure your vehicle, business car, apartment, or house.

Request a free auto insurance quote from us today!