Mathew B. Sims is Editor-in-Chief and has authored, edited, and contributed to several books. He has been working in the insurance industry ensuring content is accurate for consumers who are searching for the best policies and rates. He has also been featured on sites like UpJourney.

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Dan Walker graduated with a BS in Administrative Management in 2005 and has been working in his family’s insurance agency, FCI Agency, for 15 years (BBB A+). He is licensed as an agent to write property and casualty insurance, including home, auto, umbrella, and dwelling fire insurance. He’s also been featured on sites like Reviews.com and Safeco. He reviews content, ensuring that ex...

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Reviewed by Daniel Walker
Licensed Auto Insurance Agent

UPDATED: May 16, 2020

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Things to remember...

  • You generally need to have an insurable interest in a car in order to insure it
  • It is possible to add a car that is registered to someone else to your policy
  • A non-owner policy may be just right for you
  • You need some level of auto insurance coverage to drive legally in the United States
  • Certain circumstances might compel you to purchase auto insurance coverage for a vehicle you don’t drive or legally own
  • There are no specific state laws barring individuals from purchasing auto insurance coverage for vehicles not registered to them
  • If you already have an existing coverage, you can simply add the vehicle to your insurance if it’s in line with your insurer’s policies

Can I buy insurance for someone else’s car? Yes, you can. Auto insurance liability coverage is required in most U.S. states. What varies is the level of coverage, with some states obligating drivers to carry more than just liability coverage.

When purchasing coverage, the car owner and the policyholder don’t necessarily have to be the same person. This means that you can buy car insurance for someone else. There are no states laws barring such an arrangement.

However, the company may choose to decline, especially if your specific situation is not in line with the insurer’s underwriting guidelines.

Even if your auto insurer agrees to this deal, problems may arise when it’s time to actually pay a claim.

Contact many carriers and get quotes from the ones who are willing to provide coverage under the specific circumstances. Compare the quotes you get and make other relevant considerations to choose an auto insurance policy that best suits your situation.

Use our free rate comparison tool today to find the best price for the coverage you need.

Circumstances Under Which You May Have to Purchase Insurance for Someone Else’s Car

There are several circumstances that an individual can purchase auto insurance coverage for vehicles belonging to other people. Here are few examples:

  • If you buy your teenage son/daughter a vehicle – In this situation, you can choose to add him/her to your policy or purchase a separate auto insurance policy for them. However, the insurance provider may decline to sell a separate policy if you fail to prove insurable interest.
  • You own a car that you don’t use – You don’t want to insure it because you don’t want to pay premiums for coverage you will not use. Someone else may come along (a close friend or a relative) and borrow the vehicle. This particular individual will have to purchase coverage for the vehicle.
  • If a friend or someone you know owns a car – If they cannot drive for legal reasons like suspension of their driver’s license, with their consent, you can purchase necessary coverage and legally drive the vehicle until their driver’s license is reinstated.
  • If your parents own more than one car – Your parents may let you drive one if you have a driver’s license. You might have to purchase a new policy for the vehicle if you don’t live in the same house.
  • Co-signing – When you agree to co-sign someone’s car loan, you commit yourself to finance the loan should the individual fail to pay. The lender requires full coverage for the vehicle as far as there is a balance due. As a co-signer, you may choose to purchase the policy for the car or add it to your policy.

In most situations, you will purchase coverage for someone else’s car if you are the primary driver and not the owner and for some reason, the owner can’t purchase auto insurance.

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The Options

When it comes to purchasing auto insurance coverage for someone else’s vehicle, there are two primary options:

  1. Add the vehicle to your existing policy if you have one
  2. Purchase a separate policy for the vehicle

Adding another vehicle to your auto insurance policy should be a simple process. However, some policies might have restrictions on the number of vehicles you can add to your policy.

If you already have more than one car on your policy, make sure that you contact your insurer and clarify before you make that decision. In some cases, you may be allowed to modify your policy to accommodate the extra vehicle.

Sometimes, having an additional vehicle added to your auto insurance policy can lower your rates.

You can purchase a policy for someone else’s vehicle. The person on the car’s registration and the auto insurance policyholder don’t have to be one and the same.

In some cases, you may be required to prove insurable interest failure to which the insurance provider will decline. Other insurers will happily provide coverage regardless of whether the names on the policy and the registration match or not.

How to Avoid Problems when Buying Insurance for a Vehicle You Don’t Own

When you successfully find an auto insurance provider who’s willing to provide coverage, take the following steps to avoid problems during the payment of a claim.

  • Honesty is key – Make sure that you tell the truth surrounding your situation. If you lie and the company finds out later, they will deny your claim for trying to deceive them.
  • Provide the ownership details – The car owner should accompany you to the insurer and confirm consent.
  • Completely understand the conditions of the policy – Because the vehicle does not belong to you, some providers might have some specific conditions. Make an effort to arrange for a proper compensation in case of an incidence.
  • Ensure that you have the right to make a claim on the policy – See to it that everything regarding the ownership of the policy has been addressed and no problems will arise with the payments. Some insurers will be quick to accept your premiums and raise all sorts of issues when it comes to the actual claim.

Not all auto insurance companies will sell coverage to you if the car doesn’t belong to you, or you can’t prove insurable interest. However, a significant number of them will still have a policy for you. Don’t pay exorbitant rates just because you think you don’t have a choice.

Buying Auto Insurance for Someone Else’s Car

Car insurance is an absolutely invaluable part of the driving experience. You just never know when an accident will occur, and having automobile insurance is the perfect way for you to avoid financial ruin should you be determined to be at fault after a collision.

However, you may be in a predicament where you need to insure a car that you do not own.

Insuring a car that you don’t own can happen in a number of situations, but it can be difficult to determine if it’s possible. Use this information to learn more about whether or not you can insure a vehicle that is not registered in your name.

If you’re also needing better auto insurance rates, start comparison shopping by entering your zip code above!

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Insurable Interest Is the Name of the Game

The first thing you want to understand is that insurance companies usually require that you have an insurable interest in a car before you can add it to your insurance policy. This important requirement makes quite a bit of sense.

Insurable interest essentially means that you have something to lose if the vehicle is damaged in an accident.

Because you do stand to feel the pain in your pockets if the car is damaged, it’s presumed that you’ll take better care of your car and do your part to minimize the chances that you’ll be involved in a collision.

Another facet of the principle of insurable interest is that you shouldn’t stand to only gain. Without this critical aspect of the requirement, you could basically take out insurance policies for random cars on the street and get a windfall should the motorist happen to get into an accident.

Therefore, you need to be able to establish some kind of insurable interest in the car.

For example, in the case of a rental car that you plan to keep for an extended period of time, you could produce a renter’s contract, showing you as the primary driver of the rental car.

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You Don’t Have to Own the Car to Add it to Your Policy

The second point you want to remember is that you don’t have to own a car to add it to your policy.

As mentioned in the example above, you can add a rental car that you do not own to your policy, provided you can demonstrate insurable interest with the renter’s contract.

Also, there may come a time when you need to borrow a friend’s car.

The individual that you are borrowing the car from may not want to add you as an additional driver to their policy, so you’ll need to place the car on your policy.

Adding a friend’s car to your car insurance policy is generally acceptable because you can list yourself as the primary driver of the car with your insurance company.

In this instance you care about what happens to the car because it may be your only means of getting back and forth to work, running errands, or picking up your children from school.

Non-Owner Policies Are Also an Option

A non-owner policy provides liability protection in the event of an accident.

Although non-owner policies aren’t heavily marketed by insurance companies, they are out there and may just be the answer that you’ve been looking for.

There are a number of instances where a non-owner policy is ideal.

In the case mentioned above about borrowing a friend’s car, a non-owner policy may be in line. A non-owner policy will give you additional liability coverage over and above any that your friend may already have on the car.

Also, if you utilize a car-sharing service where you use a car for a specified block of hours or days, then hand it over to someone else, a non-owner policy can be a great means of protection.

Keep in mind that non-owner policies are typically strictly liability, meaning that they will only cover damage done to the car or body of the other party. If you damage the car and it’s determined that you’re at-fault, you may be on the hook to take care of your own damages.

Even if you don’t own a vehicle, there are a number of options available to you.

The next time you wonder about whether you can add insurance to a car you don’t own, remember these tips so you’ll know what to do.

If you are looking to compare auto insurance rates, start comparison shopping with our FREE online quote tool! Enter your zip code below to get started!

Shop around and compare available quotes to avoid unreasonably high rates. Use our free comparison tool for free today!

References:

  1. http://thelawdictionary.org/article/does-your-car-insurance-and-registration-have-to-be-under-the-same-name/
  2. https://usinsuranceagents.com/answers/2759/can-carry-auto-insurance-for-car-if-the-title-is-not-in-my-name
  3. http://www.iii.org/article/tips-for-saving-on-your-auto-policy
  4. http://www.iii.org/article/how-much-auto-coverage-do-i-need
  5. http://classroom.synonym.com/cosigner-affect-car-insurance-15379.html
  6. http://www.mass.gov/ago/consumer-resources/consumer-information/auto-and-vehicle-insurance/understanding-insurance.html
  7. https://www.irmi.com/online/insurance-glossary/terms/i/insurable-interest.aspx
  8. http://www.iii.org/article/choosing-an-insurance-company