What You Need to Know About Non-owner Car Insurance

Car insurance isn’t just for vehicle owners. It’s for everyone who wants liability coverage for vehicles not titled to them. To meet this need, some companies offer special policies called non-owner car insurance or non-owner liability policies. Unlike a traditional auto insurance policy attached to a specific vehicle, this type of coverage applies directly to drivers so they have bodily injury liability and property damage liability protection when driving any vehicle.

How Non-owner Car Insurance Works

Non-owner coverage isn’t available in every state, and non-owner policies vary widely from state to state, but the general concept is the same; they cover the driver independent of a specific vehicle.

Here’s a scenario — if you borrow a friend’s car and have an accident, then your friend’s auto insurance pays the claim for the damage, but he or she then faces higher premiums. With a non-owner insurance policy, your insurance pays for the damages, and your friend doesn’t have to deal with the consequences of your mistake. Some policies also cover medical payments and uninsured or underinsured motorists, but they don’t pay for items like comprehension coverage, collision, rental reimbursement or towing.

Who Needs Non-owner Car Insurance?

Non-owner car insurance isn’t for everyone, and providers don’t write these policies for people without licenses nor for those who have regular access to a vehicle through a spouse, roommate or family member. Consider purchasing a non-owner insurance policy if:

  • You rent vehicles frequently
  • You want to avoid a gap in coverage
  • You drive a company vehicle
  • You need proof of insurance for a driver’s license application

Meeting Legal Requirements

If you live in a state that requires everyone with a license to carry liability insurance, or if you must maintain coverage as the result of a DUI record, then a non-owner policy is an affordable way to meet this legal requirement. Since you don’t own a vehicle, you pose a low risk to the insurance company. As a result, your premium costs less than it would for a traditional policy but still meets the state’s mandatory minimum for liability insurance.

Avoiding a Gap in Coverage

A non-owner policy can protect you from penalties associated with a gap in auto coverage. Major insurance carriers sometimes refuse to write policies for people who haven’t had insurance for at least six months, and your only recourse may be to sign up with a company that caters to high-risk drivers and pay higher premiums. You can easily switch your non-owner policy to a standard auto policy if you later decide to acquire a vehicle.

Commercial Non-owner Insurance

Company owners also have the option of purchasing commercial non-owner policies if employees drive personal vehicles for business purposes. Even if employees have their own individual policies, the company may be held liable for accidents that occur during working hours. Commercial non-owner insurance offers an additional layer of protection, especially if the company’s traditional policy doesn’t cover vehicles the company does not own.

How to Apply for Non-owner Car Insurance

Contact an agent or insurance company representative to discuss your needs. The agent will ask about your driving history and where you live to verify that there is no vehicle connected to your address. Most companies provide online quotes or some type of car insurance tool on their websites so that you can estimate costs before you speak with a representative, but not all of these quote tools are equipped for non-owner policies, so making a phone call is often the first step in obtaining specifics about the company’s offerings.

Companies that Offer Non-owner Car Insurance

Since non-owner auto insurance is a specialty product, only certain providers offer it. It helps to know which companies issue these policies so you don’t waste time investigating those that don’t. When shopping around, consider your long-term goals. As your insurance needs change over time, you may find it easier to work with larger companies that offer a range of products.

Geico

Geico has a non-owner liability policy for people who frequently rent vehicles and want to avoid paying the rental car company’s liability policy. When doing a Geico review, check the limitations of the non-owner policy, and compare it with the coverage offered by your preferred car rental companies. You can use this information to determine which policy best meets your needs.

Founded in 1936, Geico offers several insurance products for the general public. In addition to auto insurance, the company writes insurance policies for motorcycles, recreational vehicles, professional liability, homes and ridesharing in select states.

State Farm

When you conduct a State Farm review, you notice that the company offers two primary types of non-owner insurance for individuals and businesses. Non-Owned Car Liability Coverage (ENOL) is a commercial auto policy designed to protect companies whose employees drive personal vehicles for business. The company also has the option of Unlimited Non-Owned Car Coverage (UNOC), which serves as additional protection for drivers who choose to rent vehicles. The largest insurer in the United States, State Farm is a Fortune 500 company with a rating of A++ from A.M. Best and AA from Standard & Poor’s.

Nationwide

Nationwide provides non-owner auto liability endorsements for commercial policies. These endorsements cover situations when the company faces a lawsuit as the result of an employee’s accident while driving for work. When a commercial policy only covers company-owned vehicles, it won’t cover the damages. As you do a Nationwide review, look for a non-owned liability policy that does just that.

Nationwide is a Fortune 100 company that is fully owned by its policyholders. The company provides a variety of insurance products for protecting vehicles, homes, boats, pets and farms. It also also offers mutual fund, pensions, savings plans and specialty health services.

 

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Published September 9, 2016
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