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Non-Owner Car Insurance in California: Everything You Need to Know

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It’s a well-known fact that drivers in California are required to carry auto insurance. However, does this law apply to drivers who don’t own a vehicle? You can find the answer in this comprehensive guide to non owner car insurance California.

What Is Non-Owner Auto Insurance?

Also known as non-driver insurance, non-owner auto insurance is a type of insurance coverage that protects you from liability for bodily injury and property damage in the event that you cause an accident while driving another person’s vehicle. Typically, it kicks in as secondary coverage if the vehicle owner’s insurance isn’t enough to fully cover the medical expenses and repair bills, according to Insurance.com. In other words, the policy on the vehicle will be used to pay for the damages first and then your non-owner policy will kick in if you have more liability coverage than the owner.

What Does Non-Owner Auto Insurance Cover?

Other than liability coverage, which covers the other parties’ injuries and property damage in an at-fault accident, a non-owner car insurance policy may also include the following coverages:

  • Personal injury protection or medical payments coverage.
  • Uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage.
  • Rental car liability coverage.

    Since it doesn’t apply to a specific vehicle, a non-owner auto insurance policy won’t have collision or comprehensive coverage. As such, it won’t pay for damage to the vehicle you’re driving or your injuries in the event of a collision, says ValuePenguin.

    How Much Does Non-Owner Auto Insurance Cost?

    Non-owner auto insurance can cost anywhere from $200 to $500 per year, according to WalletHub. Since drivers who obtain non-owner car insurance won’t spend as much time on the road as the average driver, they’re less likely to get into an accident and file a claim, which results in lower premiums. However, the cost of your policy also depends on your chosen coverage limits, driving frequency, driving history, and location. Note that non-owner policies don’t have a deductible.

    When Should You Consider Purchasing Non-Owner Car Insurance?

    The following are some situations where you should consider buying non-owner auto insurance:

    You’re trying to reinstate your license after a major infraction.

    If your driver’s license is suspended after you’re found guilty of committing a DUI or another major traffic violation, California state laws require you to file an insurance certificate called SR-22 to get your license reinstated. The purpose of this process is to confirm you have bought car insurance. If you don’t own a vehicle, you can purchase a non-owner car insurance policy to meet state requirements.

    You rent cars on a frequent basis.

    In most states, car rental companies are required to offer the state minimum liability coverage as part of the rental fee. However, it isn’t mandatory for car rental companies in California to provide liability protection.

    Then again, if you need to rent vehicles frequently, you may want to purchase enough liability coverage to properly protect yourself on the road. In this case, getting a non-owner auto insurance policy may be the most cost-effective option. If you use your credit card to pay for a rental car, you’ll have coverage for damage to the vehicle. A bank card, on the other hand, provides no liability protection.

    You’re borrowing a vehicle from a family member or friend.

    When you drive a vehicle that belongs to your family member or friend, losses that result from an accident will typically be covered under their auto insurance policy. However, the owner of the vehicle is the one who chooses the coverage limits, not you. If you buy your own non-owner policy, you can be sure you have enough liability coverage.

    You temporarily don’t have a car.

    If you plan to purchase a vehicle soon but currently don’t have one, getting non-owner auto insurance is an affordable way to prevent a lapse in coverage and maintain long-term customer status with your insurance company. Additionally, it’ll provide coverage when you’re test-driving vehicles. When you buy a car, you have to immediately inform your insurance provider and switch to a car owner’s policy.

    How Do You Buy a Non-Owner Car Insurance Policy?

    To buy a non-owner car insurance policy, you only need to have a credit or debit card and your driver’s license number. You can obtain proof of insurance via email almost immediately, and your auto insurance provider can file an SR-22 on your behalf if necessary.

    You can purchase a non-owner car insurance policy from most national insurance companies. However, these insurers typically only give quotes over the phone. Also, Progressive only issues non-owner auto insurance policies to existing customers. Below is a list of leading insurers that offer non-owner car insurance:

    • Allstate: 877-810-2920.
    • GEICO: 800-207-7847.
    • State Farm: 800-782-8332.
    • Progressive: 800-776-4737.
    • Nationwide: 877-699-6877.
    • Liberty Mutual: 800-295-2723.
    • American Family: 800-692-6326.
    • Farmers: 888-327-6335.
    • The General: 844-328-0306.
    • Travelers: 866-662-1921.
    • Direct Auto: 877-463-4732.
    • Dairyland: 844-242-4468.
    • Acceptance Insurance: 877-405-7102.
    • USAA: 800-292-8045.

      Is Non-Owner Auto Insurance Necessary if You Own a Vehicle or Borrow Your Housemate’s Car?

      If you own a vehicle, it isn’t necessary to get a non-owner auto insurance policy because your liability insurance will most likely cover you if you rent a vehicle or borrow someone else’s car. Typically, you’ll have some liability protection but you should check with your insurer just to be safe. If you want a higher level of liability coverage, you may be better off buying an umbrella policy.

      If you don’t own a vehicle but sometimes borrow a car that belongs to your parent, spouse, or someone else who lives with you, they should add you to their car insurance policy. Even if you only borrow the vehicle occasionally, their insurance company should know that you live together with them and may require them to name you as a driver. Failure to do this can result in the insurance provider refusing to cover certain costs in the event of an accident.

      Although it isn’t mandatory, non-owner auto insurance can be useful in many situations. If you want to purchase this type of insurance, you should spend some time doing comparison shopping as prices can vary significantly from one insurer to another.

      Check this out if you need additional information, resources, or guidance on car insurance.

      Sources:

      Non Owner Car Insurance Guide

      Non Owner Car Insurance: What Is It and Who Should Have It?

      Non-Owner Car Insurance

      What is the Cheapest Auto Insurance for Lapse in Coverage?

      Benefits of Car Insurance: Everything You Need to Know

      Cheap Car Insurance Quotes in California: Everything You Need to Know

      Car Insurance

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