Do you need auto insurance if you don’t drive your car?

You need auto insurance if you don't drive your car, but you may not need insurance if you don't own a car. Most states require registered car owners to buy auto insurance even if they aren't driving, but even if you will be driving a car you don't own, it's good to have coverage. Drivers who don't own a car aren't required to have comprehensive or collision coverage. Otherwise, you can save up to 30 percent with discounts or non-owner car insurance.

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Leslie Kasperowicz holds a BA in Social Sciences from the University of Winnipeg. She spent several years as a Farmers Insurance CSR, gaining a solid understanding of insurance products including home, life, auto, and commercial and working directly with insurance customers to understand their needs. She has since used that knowledge in her more than ten years as a writer, largely in the insuranc...

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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: Jul 16, 2021

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Things to remember...

  • Drivers who wonder if you need insurance to drive need to know that auto insurance is required if drivers have a vehicle registered.
  • Most states require all vehicles to be registered.
  • At least some kind of coverage is important to have on your car, even if you’re not driving it.

Do you need auto insurance if you don’t drive? You probably want to try to save yourself as much money as possible. Although you can find affordable auto insurance premiums, if you don’t need to pay them at all, it’s certainly a benefit.

Do you have to have car insurance if you don’t drive your car? If you don’t drive your car, you might think that you can eliminate auto insurance. However, in most instances, driving without insurance is illegal, as you are still required to have a policy.

Read on to learn more about the answers to do you need auto insurance if you don’t drive and what kind of auto insurance you on a car you don’t drive.

Find the best auto insurance quotes available for the coverage you need, even if you don’t drive, by entering your ZIP code above.

Should I have auto insurance when not using my car?

Do I need insurance if I’m not driving my car? If you don’t drive your car, you have to ask yourself why you continue to hold onto it. If there is no reason for you to have a car, you might want to consider selling it so that you don’t need to maintain auto insurance on it.

Do I have to pay for auto insurance while not driving? If you are no longer able to drive and you have the car because you are saving it for someone, you might be able to reduce the total level of coverage by talking with your insurance company.

Do I need auto insurance if I don’t have a car? If you don’t need a car and give the car to someone else, the title transfers to their name and they are responsible for the auto insurance coverage.

If you aren’t driving your car because you are temporarily not using it, then you might want to look at suspending the car insurance. Can you suspend auto insurance for a month? Maybe.

Suspending is an option with certain insurance companies and could save you some money. Instances where you might want to do suspend coverage include:

  • Going away to college
  • Traveling abroad
  • Being deployed with the military

Whatever the reason, you might not want to get rid of your car. In the meantime, you need to have parked car insurance in place. It is what will allow you to comply with state law and ensure that there are no gaps in your insurance history.

If you have a vehicle registered, then you need to have insurance even if you decide you don’t want to drive a car anymore.

According to the Insurance Information Institute (III), states will vary in terms of what kind of coverage you need to have. While all states require liability insurance, the coverage amount required varies. These requirements might help you to save a little bit of money as long as you keep some form of insurance in place.

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Enter your ZIP code below to view companies that have cheap auto insurance rates.

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What auto insurance is required by law?

The auto insurance you are required to have is identified by the state you live in. This requirement will include property damage and bodily injury liability. It is what covers you in the event of being involved in a car accident with another vehicle.

Do I need car insurance if I don’t drive or I don’t have a car?

If you don’t drive, then you are at no risk of actually getting into an accident so you may be wasting your money every month on auto insurance premiums. However, it is required that you have the policy if you own a car.

If you have liability levels above and beyond what the state requires, you can drop your auto policy down to the minimum requirements. You might also want to consider obtaining comprehensive insurance coverage.

What does fully comprehensive auto insurance cover? Comprehensive coverage will take care of protecting your car inside your garage or anywhere else it might be parked.

It would allow you to be protected against such things as:

  • Vandalism
  • Riot damage
  • Floods

Comprehensive coverage is what protects you against all non-driving related incidents. It is what covers you against the things that you could not possibly predict would happen to your car and it can save you from an unexpected expense. View the table below to see how much comprehensive coverage costs.

Average Annual Comprehensive Auto Insurance Rates
Average Cost of Comprehensive Auto Insurance Annual RatesMonthly Rates
2015$148.04
$12.33
2014$143.45$11.95
2013$137.77$11.48
2012$133.30$11.10
2011$131.80$10.98
Average$138.872$11.57
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If you don’t drive your car but you want to keep it in good condition, it’s a good idea to have this coverage in place. Otherwise, any damage would be your own financial responsibility. Depending on the damage, this cost could add up to thousands of dollars’ worth of repairs. Keep in mind that if you buy comprehensive-only coverage that you will not be protected from an accident because that disincludes collision insurance. You should always make sure that you have the appropriate auto liability insurance to comply with state law as well.

Do you need insurance on a car that doesn’t run?

If you have a car that doesn’t run, you will still need auto insurance. If you canceled insurance, it would void your license plate. That will make it more challenging for you when getting car insurance for any other vehicles.

Should you keep an auto insurance policy active on an unused car?

Even though you could save money and potentially not have an auto insurance policy, you have to look at the reasons for keeping the policy active.

The first is that you want to avoid a gap in coverage. If you plan on driving your car again, you will need to have insurance in place. If you have gone a significant period of time without insurance, then it shows as a gap. You may see the consequences of that the next time you need an insurance quote.

This insurance lapse makes it more difficult to get coverage, particularly at an affordable rate.

Another reason to keep it active is so you can have comprehensive auto insurance coverage in place. Otherwise, you run the risk of something happening to your car when it is off the road.

Your home insurance is likely not going to cover damage to your vehicle. So if you decide that you don’t want car insurance, you are leaving yourself open to high bills and potential legal issues.

If you, by chance, allow a friend that doesn’t live in your household to borrow your car, it would be wise to ask your friend to get a non-owner auto insurance policy, especially if you’re insuring a car for someone else to use. Otherwise, you could end up in financial trouble since you’re the vehicle owner.

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How do you cut auto insurance costs when you’re not driving?

What is the best car insurance if you don’t drive much? Once you decide that you are keeping the car but you don’t drive, there are ways to save on auto insurance. You might qualify for all sorts of different discounts fro your insurance carrier.

One of the best auto insurance discounts to look for is a “low mileage” discount. This discount will allow you to save money because you are telling the auto insurance company that you are not putting a lot of miles on your car.

Take a look at the table below to see which companies offer low mileage discounts.

Low Mileage Auto Insurance Discounts by Company
Insurance CompanyOffers Low Mileage DiscountDiscount Percentage (if available)
21st CenturyNoN/A
AAAYesNot Available
AllstateYesNot Available
American FamilyYesNot Available
AmeripriseNoN/A
AmicaYes10%
Country FinancialYesNot Available
EsuranceYes15%
FarmersYesNot Available
GEICOYesNot Available
Liberty MutualYesNot Available
MetLifeYesNot Available
NationwideYesNot Available
ProgressiveYesNot Available
Safe AutoNoN/A
SafecoYes20%
State FarmYes30%
The GeneralYesNot Available
The HanoverYesNot Available
The HartfordYesNot Available
TravelersYesNot Available
USAAYesNot Available
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When you are not behind the wheel for extended periods of time, you are a lower risk. Insurance companies reward you with lower premiums any time you can reduce your risk. Make sure your insurance agent knows how little you’re driving so you can be rewarded for the reduced risk of vehicle damage.

Other auto insurance discounts you might qualify for include:

  • multi-car
  • multi-driver
  • employment-based discounts

The best thing to do is look at what the various insurance companies offer.

This option gives you the opportunity to save more money on your premiums while being compliant with state requirements.

Reduce the liability coverage, too, as you are not at risk of getting into an accident on the road if you are not behind the wheel. Otherwise, if you have no intention of ever driving again, it’s best to sell the car.

If you don’t drive your car, you are still likely going to want auto insurance. It might be required by the state, especially if your car is registered. This required coverage doesn’t mean you have to spend a lot of money.

If you are considering selling your car and not having a vehicle at all, it’s still a good idea to have some type of coverage in case you borrow someone else’s car or rent a car. In that case, you would need non-owner car insurance.

What is non-owner auto insurance?

Can I insure a car I don’t own? Non-owner car insurance is exactly what it sounds like if you don’t own a vehicle, you will still need coverage in a few specific instances.

This type of policy will be liability-only and not full coverage because it is impossible to predict the value of any vehicle you may drive in order to have the right amount of comprehensive and collision coverage.

Liability coverage will include property damage you cause and bodily injury you cause, but neither can be filed for the car you don’t own that you are driving or for any injuries YOU sustain.

Liability auto insurance only covers others’ property and bodily injury, and you will need at least your state’s minimum requirements.

However, you do have the option of purchasing higher limits of liability coverage with a non-owner policy, in addition to other types of coverage like MedPay, personal injury protection, and uninsured/underinsured coverage.

These coverages will kick in when you are injured in an accident no matter who is at fault. If the other driver is at fault and does not have insurance or not enough to cover property damage to the vehicle you were driving or enough bodily injury coverage, then uninsured/underinsured coverage would come to your rescue.

It’s important to note that you must have a valid driver’s license to purchase a non-owners policy because it is the law to have a license if you plan to operate a motor vehicle, regardless of who owns the car.

Who needs non-owner auto insurance?

You may need car insurance coverage even if you don’t own a vehicle. Generally, if you have a driver’s license, you should have some type of coverage, especially if any of the following apply to you:

  • If you frequently borrow cars from friends or family members (that do not live in the same household)
  • If you rent cars often for trips rental cars do come with some minimum coverage options, and you can also purchase additional coverage when you rent a vehicle, but sometimes these types of policies are minimal in scope because the rental car company expects their customers to have some type of coverage and also wants to save money.
  • If you generally want coverage to protect yourself because regardless of whether you are driving or not, you will most likely at some point be riding in a vehicle, and you will not be able to anticipate the levels or types of coverage the driver/owner or another driver if in an accident.

Another general advantage to having a non-owner policy is so that you don’t have a break in coverage for when you decide to own a vehicle again. Insurance companies like to see continuous coverage and your rates will be better if you can prove that you have had no breaks in coverage.

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Who doesn’t need non-owner auto insurance?

There are very few instances when you do not need car insurance at all when you don’t own a vehicle.

If someone else in your household (spouse or roommate, for example) owns a vehicle that you borrow, in most cases, their coverage will cover you as long as you are listed as a driver on their policy.

Another instance is if you drive a business vehicle for work. Your employer is required to have commercial auto insurance on their fleet vehicles.

How much does non-owner auto insurance cost?

Non-owner car insurance will be less expensive than your standard auto insurance policy because it will not include comprehensive and collision coverage, which are both usually mandatory insurance requirements if you own, finance, or lease a vehicle.

The only factors that may increase your rates on non-owner car insurance are if you choose higher liability limits or add other coverages such as MedPay, personal injury protection, or uninsured/underinsured coverage.

We hope our guide answered all your questions about do you need car insurance if you’re not driving.

Get quotes from multiple insurance companies to try and get the cheapest insurance for a car you don’t drive. Enter your ZIP code below to compare auto insurance rates and find the best insurer for your needs.

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