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: Nov 24, 2020

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Here's what you need to know...

  • In all states, as long as you’re old enough to own property, you can legally buy a car regardless of your licensing status
  • Driving without car insurance is illegal, so if you own a car, make sure to get coverage for it
  • Since you can buy a car without a license, it’s possible to find an insurance company that will issue you a car insurance policy without a license. Not all companies will insure you when you disclose that you’re not licensed.
  • If you are buying a standard personal auto policy and you’re not licensed, you need to select a primary driver to list on your policy
  • If you don’t own a car and you have a suspended license, some carriers will issue you a nonowner’s policy so that you can satisfy SR-22 requirements to get your license reinstated

You may have to have a license to drive a vehicle, but you don’t have to have a license to own one. If you’re planning to buy a vehicle that you can’t legally drive yourself, it’s important to research your options when it comes to insuring it.

While it is possible to find insurance on your car, it may take some time to find a company with lenient enough underwriting guidelines.

Enter your ZIP code above for car insurance rates from multiple companies in your area!

Can You Get Car Insurance Without a License?

Most preferred carriers will only sell car insurance to vehicle owners who have a license. However, standard and substandard companies in the industry with quality products still exist in the industry.

If you’re not sure how to go about finding insurance on a vehicle that you’ve just bought before you get your license, here’s what you should know:

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Auto Insurance is Required in Most States

Safest Highways by State Rank 2016

It’s up to you to decide if you want to study and test to earn your driving privilege but you can’t just pick and choose if you want to buy insurance.

If you own a car that’s registered in your state of residence, you must comply with the state insurance laws. Since auto insurance is mandatory in almost every state, the car needs to have at least state minimum coverage at all times.

Who is responsible for insuring a car?

You might not be operating the car, but you’re the one responsible for insuring it.

As long as it’s registered to you through the Department of Motor Vehicles, you’re the party who’s legally responsible for any damages that are caused while the car is being operated. This is why it’s the registered owner’s duty to comply with insurance laws.

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Can you get a standard auto insurance policy?

It’s very important that your registration and your auto insurance match or this could pose problems for you with the state. Since both the insurance and the registration need to be in the same name, there can be some setbacks while you’re shopping for insurance.

Every company has its own underwriting guidelines. Some of the companies have more flexible eligibility requirements than others.

It’s common for preferred car insurance carriers who sell insurance in the standard market to deny applicants who don’t have a license. Most preferred auto insurers will only insure named insureds who have an active license and an acceptable driving record.

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What if your spouse has a license?

In many states, you can word your registration to say your name or your spouse’s name.

If there’s an “or” between the names and your spouse is licensed, it’s possible to insure the car in your spouse’s name without putting yourself as a named insured.

This will ensure that you are in compliance with the state law and underwriting guidelines.

You don’t always have to be strategic with the wording on your car registration.

In many states, a car is community property when you’re married. Because of this, the car insurance contract states that you and your resident spouse are each considered a named insured.

How can you insure a car without naming a spouse as a named insured?

If you aren’t married or your spouse doesn’t live in the same household as you, you need to find a car insurance carrier that will allow you to be listed as a named insured.

Once you find a carrier with lenient guidelines, you need to have a primary driver to list. The primary driver is the person who will affect the rates.

Without a primary driver on the policy, you can’t get insurance.

Auto insurers aren’t going to extend coverage to an owner who can’t drive the vehicle legally and doesn’t have any intentions of having someone drive it.

It’s also impossible for the carrier to underwrite risk when there’s no driver assigned to the vehicle.

What You Should Consider When You’re Selecting a Driver

Make sure you know who you’re listing under the policy before you apply for car insurance. If the primary driver that you select has several moving violations, multiple accidents, or serious convictions, your application could still be denied.

If you aren’t turned away, your rates could be very high.

Many auto insurers require primary drivers to live in the same household as you. If they live in a different household, you might need to put a different garaging address for rating the premiums.

It’s also better to list a driver with several years of experience if you want to keep your rates affordable. Inexperienced operators are classified as high risk.

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What happens if you don’t own a car?

It’s not common, but there may come a time where you need insurance but you don’t have a license or a car. This usually happens when your license has been suspended and you need to file an SR-22 to get your license back.

Many times SR-22 filings are required after an uninsured accident, multiple no-insurance convictions, or a DUI convictions.

Auto insurance carriers must issue and submit your proof of financial responsibility to the DMV. Since you’re not licensed, you can’t be added to a friend or family member’s auto insurance policy. You will need a non-owner’s car insurance policy to get your license.

Not all companies issue these policies to people without a valid license, but many do.

If you can get a car without a license, you should be able to find an auto insurer without a license too. Finding insurance might not be as easy though.

After you find companies with flexible rules, you can compare premiums to find the best deals. Use an online rate comparison tool and you will get the instant quotes that you need to make a quick decision.

Want to get a quote for the best insurance in your area? Enter your ZIP code below!

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