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UPDATED: Mar 13, 2020
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Being a car-free driver doesn’t mean that you have to live an insurance-free life. If you drive non-owned cars on a regular basis, it’s in your best interest to purchase at least a minimum amount of liability insurance.
Without a car, that might sound like an impossible feat. What many drivers don’t know is that several companies sell non-owner’s car insurance for people in this exact situation.
Non-owner’s insurance is a form of specialty insurance that provides the policy owner with financial protection when they borrow or rent a car that they don’t have regular access to.
While not all insurers in the standard marketplace sell it, non-owner’s insurance is available under many reputable brand names. Here’s what you need to know.
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What are the benefits of buying non-owner’s car insurance?
By law, you only have to comply with compulsory auto insurance laws when you’re the legal owner of a vehicle. If you’re renting a car on a regular basis or you’re borrowing a car from a friend, it’s the registered owner’s responsibility to buy at least a minimum amount of insurance on the car that you’re driving.
Just because it’s not your legal duty to buy insurance doesn’t mean that you should forgo the option. This is why rental car companies offer their rental customers the option to buy supplemental coverage.
One alternative to buying the supplemental coverage is to apply for non-owner’s coverage. Here are some of the benefits of having your own policy:
- You can purchase third-party liability insurance that will help you pay for the damages that you cause to others
- The liability coverage will protect your assets and your future income if a claimant files a lawsuit against you so that you’re not stuck paying for damages out of pocket
- If you are disputing a claim and you have to defend yourself in court, your insurer will cover your legal defense costs. The cost for legal defense doesn’t come out of your liability limits
- With some carriers, you are eligible to add Medical Payments and Uninsured Motorist Protection coverage options. These first-party benefits will help you pay your own medical bills
- You can save on rental car costs by rejecting the supplemental coverage that’s offered at the counter
- You can establish an insurance history with your carrier so that you qualify for special discounts when you buy a car
Who is a non-owner’s car insurance policy?
To qualify for your own non-owner’s insurance policy, you need to have a valid driver’s license. Since the product is strictly for driver’s without a car, you can’t have a legal interest in any car. Some companies will not issue a policy to drivers who are under the age of 25 or drivers who have less than five years of driving experience.
You can’t drive just any vehicle if you buy insurance for car-free drivers. Your policy will have very specific exclusions that define when coverage will apply and when it won’t.
Your policy will never provide coverage when you’re driving a vehicle that you or your spouse owns. It also doesn’t pay if you’re driving any other car that you have regular access to.
Coverage is afforded when you’re driving a car that your friend or family member owns as long as they don’t live in the same house as you. Rental cars and loaners vehicles are also covered.
The car that you’re borrowing must be qualified under the policy definitions as a private passenger auto. Any vehicle that weighs more than 10,000 pounds won’t qualify.
What type of coverage is provided under a specialty policy?
If you don’t own a car, the policy that you buy will provide a different level of protection than the standard policy. You will never be eligible for physical damage coverage, rental car reimbursement, towing, or roadside assistance coverage when you’re buying a non-owner’s policy because a covered auto won’t be listed on the plan.
All non-owner’s policies will include a minimum amount of liability coverage. Liability coverage consists of Bodily Injury and Property Damage coverage. The minimum limits that are offered vary by state, but all companies allow you to raise those limits for more protection.
Can you buy coverage that pays for your medical bills?
Just because you don’t own a car doesn’t mean that you can’t be injured in a crash. Many specialty companies offer their policyholders the option to buy first-party benefits that are geared to paying for medical bills.
Some carriers will offer only Uninsured Motorist Protection and others will offer Medical Payments. You should check with your insurer to see if either coverage can be added.
Are you covered under the car’s primary policy?
Most standard policies provide liability coverage and even physical damage coverage when you’ve been given permission to borrow the covered auto.
If you live in the home or you’re an excluded driver, the company won’t pay for claims made. Having your own insurance will help you avoid claim denials.
If you’re ready to compare rates for non-owner’s insurance policies, you should solicit quotes today. You can get instant quotes online by using an online brokerage-style system or you can contact carriers directly.
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