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Updated: May 22, 2023

Do You Need Car Insurance to Drive Someone Else's Car?

Do you need car insurance to drive someone else's car? Don't assume the car owner's insurance will cover you if you're behind the wheel.
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If you do not own a car of your own, is it necessary to have car insurance in your name to drive someone else’s car? Don’t assume the insurance policy of the vehicle owner will automatically cover you in the event of accidents or injuries. If you have a driver's license and regularly drive, you must carry a car insurance policy in your name.

Morgan / Flickr |
Morgan / Flickr

However, what are you supposed to do about auto insurance if you don't actually own a vehicle? Here are some considerations for having a car insurance policy even if you do not currently own a car:

Keeping affordable car insurance

If you let your car insurance lapse for any reason (such as not owning a car for any length of time), when you are ready to get car insurance in the future you may have higher car insurance premiums than if you maintained active insurance. When people go without car insurance and then apply for insurance again in the future, they are automatically considered a high risk driver and are charged higher insurance premiums. Tip: A good credit score might help to reduce the cost of your car insurance. The reason many people decide to let their car insurance lapse is because they don’t currently own a car. Paying for car insurance when you don’t have a car to drive can seem like a waste of money. For people who may drive other cars occasionally, one option for maintaining an affordable car insurance policy is to get listed as an additional driver of a family member’s policy.

Alternatively, you could obtain a Non-Owner car insurance policy for much lower rates than a traditional car insurance policy to provide liability insurance coverage if you should cause an accident while driving someone else’s car. Non-owner car insurance policies don’t cover physical damages to vehicles, but offer medical coverage for anyone injured due to the accident.

Medical coverage for accidents

Many health insurance providers are now excluding car accidents from their list of covered injuries and illnesses. If your health insurance policy does not cover you if you are injured in a car accident, you should carry car insurance even if you are just a passenger in someone else’s car.

Liability for accidents

If you never drive a car, you probably don’t need to worry about liability coverage for car accidents. Liability insurance covers the driver regardless of what vehicle they are driving. If you drive someone else’s car, even only occasionally, you should consider liability car insurance coverage in case you are found at fault for a car accident. Without liability insurance, if you are found liable for a car accident your personal assets could be at risk.

Comprehensive car insurance doesn’t cover other drivers

If you own a car and have car insurance, you may assume your own insurance policy will cover other drivers of your vehicle in an accident. While some car insurance policies may allow limited coverage for other drivers with permission to drive your vehicle, the typical comprehensive car insurance policy which covers everything from collision to property damage to medical will still only cover drivers that are listed on the insurance policy. Tip: Some insurance companies offer "pay-as-you-drive" car insurance. Review your car insurance policy before allowing uninsured drivers to operate your vehicle. If you aren’t sure what is covered and what is not, it is best to call your car insurance company to ask whether or not a driver of your car will be covered under your policy if anything should happen while he or she is driving your vehicle.