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Things to Remember...
  • Dealerships must insure their inventory of vehicles so they don’t lose out on profits if a car is stolen, vandalized, or crashed
  • When the dealer sells the car and the bill of sale is signed, it is no longer the company’s legal responsibility to insure the car
  • Even though you can’t be fined for test driving a car off the lot, you are at risk of being sued if you get into an accident
  • The dealership carries special fleet insurance and liability insurance that pays for damages that can happen during a test drive.
  • The dealer will hold your license and record your information on a waiver, which must be signed for insurance purposes before a test drive

When you’re buying a car, one of the first things that you need to do before you consider making an offer is drive it. No matter how beautiful a car looks on the outside, it’s the mechanical condition that matters most.

After all, a nice-looking car with a faulty engine or transmission isn’t worth much if it can’t get you where you need to go.

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When you test drive a car, you get a feel for the controls and you listen for rattles, clunks or other signs that problems could be looming. While it is important to make sure everything is in good working order, it’s also important to make sure you’re covered under insurance while you do so.

Here’s what you need to know about insurance coverage when you’re test driving:

When You’re Buying from a Dealer, the Dealer Has Insurance


When a commercial dealer has an inventory of cars for sale, they buy a blanket policy that will pay for damage to the cars and liability claims made while an employee or a customer is driving the car.

If the cars are vandalized on the lot, stolen, or crashed, there will typically be coverage to pay for the repairs.

With this being said, the dealer’s insurance is expensive and filing a claim brings the rates up even higher. To combat costs, most plans have high deductibles and specific exclusions. It’s important that you verify that you’re covered under the dealer’s policy as a test driver before you go for a spin.

Read the Fine Print Very Closely

At surface value, the dealer’s insurance will be considered the primary coverage if you need to file a claim.

Unfortunately, every state has a different rule and there may be times where you can be held liable for damages to the dealer’s vehicle while it’s in the client’s custody. This is why you should read the documents that you sign closely.

Every reputable dealer in the industry will ask you to sign a document stating that you have a valid license.

The company will also ask you to provide a copy of your license so they can put it on file if they need to file an insurance claim. Look at the document and see if it says you’re responsible for damages sustained in a test drive.

Can the dealer hold you liable for damages?

Most people don’t like dealing with sales agents at car dealerships, but if you have an accident the chore can turn into a nightmare. Depending on what led to the accident, the auto dealer might find you liable for the damages.

It’s not out of the ordinary for a dealer to claim the car was in your custody and your actions led to the damage.

While this can happen, the dealer’s policy is still primary. The manager may try to get you to buy the car to take over the responsibility of repairing it, but they can’t legally make you do so.

The worst that can happen is the dealer’s insurance company can subrogate and try to collect from your insurer after the car has already been repaired.

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Will my insurance pay when I have a loss in the dealer’s car?

The dealer’s policy is primary for damage claims, but that’s not to say the dealer has to pay for all liability claims. Showing proof of insurance before you test drive a car isn’t a requirement, but you might feel more comfortable having at least liability coverage before you operate a car.

One of the unique things about Personal Auto Policies is how the contract is written.

You can only buy a standard form of coverage if you own a vehicle in your name, but that doesn’t mean the coverage applied only while you’re driving your car. Under your contract, your liability coverage will follow you while you’re driving a non-owned car.

What is a non-owned car?


Insurance policies have very detailed definitions to describe what terms mean as they apply to the contract. Under the definition of covered autos, it says that non-owned vehicles are covered if they are temporary substitutes to your vehicle. It also says that you’re covered when driving a non-owned vehicle if you make third-party claims.

What happens when you’re test driving a car for sale by a private party?

The situation can get a bit more complicated when you’re buying a car from a private seller. When cars are sold on the private market, they are covered by standard personal auto insurance. In some cases, the primary policy will pay for damage while they car is being operated by someone not listed as a driver.

To protect yourself, you should ask the seller to call their agent and ask if you’re covered to drive the car.

It could be helpful to ask the owner to sign a statement saying that you have permission to drive and that the car is insured. This can help you avoid unfounded claims if there is a crash.

If you don’t already have insurance, it can be helpful to buy a non-owner’s policy for liability protection. It will protect you while you borrow cars, rent cars, or test drive them. To find affordable non-owner’s insurance, use an online rate comparison tool. You can even get instant quotes for the cars you want to buy.

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Here's what you need to know...
  • Check your online insurance account or call your current agent to see if you still have valid car insurance
  • Look for your most current insurance cards in your purse, wallet and glove box
  • If you are borrowing a car, as the owner of the car if it is insured
  • If you do not own a car, you can purchase non-owners car insurance by using a comparison tool
  • If you do own a vehicle, use a comparison tool to purchase a new standard policy
If you can’t remember the last time you paid your car insurance bill or received a notification from your car insurance company, you may be wondering if your car insurance is still valid.

To check, you can call your current insurance agent or view your online account.

If you can’t remember the details for your online account or the name of your agent, you can always look for your last insurance statement or check your bank account for recent car insurance drafts.

If you find a cancellation letter or a letter indicating that your car insurance expired, you can quickly purchase a new policy by using an insurance comparison tool.

Insurance is required in order to drive legally. If you do not know if your car insurance is valid or current, you should not drive a car until you find out.

Driving without insurance can result in stiff penalties and fines. If you get pulled over by police for driving without insurance, your car could be impounded.

Use our FREE comparison tool above to find car insurance that fits your budget!

Find Out if You Have Car Insurance Before You Drive


It is absolutely imperative that you find out if you have car insurance before you get behind the steering wheel of a vehicle.

Thankfully, there are several ways to find out in you have a valid insurance policy:

  • Sort Through the Papers  If you are like most drivers, you received your new policy cards and stashed one in your glove box along with your car’s registration and put the other card in your purse or wallet. Open your glove box and sort through your papers. If you don’t find your insurance card in your glove box, check your wallet or purse
  • Contact Your Insurance Company You can call the insurance company you’ve most recently done business with and ask them to verify that you have existing coverage. They will most likely need you driver’s license number and address. Once you’ve given them the necessary information, they should be able to tell you whether you have a valid policy
  • Get a CLUE Report – CLUE stands for Comprehensive Loss Underwriting Exchange. This service is provided for free and various states, like Washington, offer information and advice about obtaining a CLUE report. If filling out the paperwork for a CLUE report seems daunting, you can request a car insurance quote by using a comparison tool
  • Ask the Owner of the Vehicle If you are borrowing a car from a family member or friend, you can simply ask them if the car is insured and who is considered insured while driving the vehicle. You may even want to ask to look at their insurance cards and insurance policy. If the owner of the car refuses, you can get a non-owner car insurance policy

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Non-Owner Car Insurance

Not owning a car does not exempt you from the responsibility of driving with insurance.

You will need an insurance policy every time you borrow a car in order to drive legally.

For instances such as these, there is non-owner car insurance.

Non-owner car insurance follows the driver instead of the car. To find a non-owner car insurance policy, you can use an insurance comparison tool.

Getting a New Car Insurance Policy


If you own a vehicle and find out that your car insurance policy lapsed, expired or was canceled, you will need to purchase a new policy as soon as possible.

Thankfully, a comparison tool can help you quickly find and sort through various insurance policies and carriers.

Once you choose the policy that best fits you and your driving habits, you can usually purchase it online.

Regardless of how you determine if you have valid insurance, you cannot drive a vehicle legally without it.

You must either find your valid insurance cards or check with your insurance carrier, local DMV or insurance website for your particular state or purchase a new policy by utilizing an auto insurance comparison tool.

Enter your zip code into our FREE comparison tool below to compare rates from multiple providers!

Things to Remember...
  • You may still be partially liable for medical expenses or other damages if you have an accident while driving another person’s car
  • Nonowner’s car insurance insures you if you are between cars
  • Persons convicted of DUI’s are required to show proof of insurance to drive if they don’t own a car

One question people often ask when looking for insurance quotes is whether or not they can get insurance if they do not have a car.

Another question that comes to mind is why they even need insurance if they don’t have a car. We will attempt to answer both of those questions.

You don’t want to find yourself without insurance when you need it. Start by comparison shopping.

You can enter your zip code into our FREE comparison tool above to make sure you get the right coverage at the right price!

About Nonowner Car Insurance

Non-owner car insurance is insurance purchased for anyone who does not own their car. There could be several circumstances which could create the need for this kind of insurance, such as DUI’s and frequent car rentals.

Non-owner car insurance also fills in the gaps of the car owner’s insurance if you are driving another person’s car and have an accident that causes severe injury to another.

Many situations exist where you might need car insurance, even if you do not presently own a car.

– Frequently Rent Cars

You still have legal liability when you drive someone else’s car such as driving a rental car. Also, you need to know that when you take the wheel of a rental in most states, the insurance goes with the car. In other words, you are not under your insurance

In other words, you are not under your insurance without additional coverage.

The problem is the basic car insurance such as liability, personal injury, and property damage fall under the insurance carried by the car’s owner.

However, the extra liabilities such as medical expenses and other expenses a victim of an accident incurs may be delegated to you.

If you have insurance, this would start at this point and cover the rest of the damages. It is important to know what the specific laws are in your state.

– Convicted of a DUI with Restrictions on Your License

If your license is limited due to a DUI or other reason, you will need non-owner car insurance while you are working to get your full driving privileges back.

Most states allow you to drive after filing a form with the DMV that states you have non-owner car insurance until you can again own a car.

– Between Cars but You Might Drive Other Cars in the Interim

Anytime you drive another car, whether it be commercial or personal, you still need insurance to cover whatever the friend or business’s insurance does not cover.

Another Reason for Purchasing Nonowner Car Insurance

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If you rent cars from a car-sharing service such as Zipcar, a non-owner car insurance policy covers and supplements the liability coverage that the car-sharing service providers.

As stated before, you will have their basic insurance for minor damages or fender-benders.

But, if the damage or injuries are more serious, you could be held liable if the accident was deemed your fault. If you’re at-fault, your cost could be thousands of dollars.

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Avoiding Legal Action

Insurance is the main factor that keeps people from being sued in the event of an accident that injures someone or takes the life of a passenger. Remember that, when you cause an accident and someone dies, you are guilty of manslaughter.

Families of the victim could sue you, if they chose, for a wrongful death suit. You were negligent in some way in the situation and that your actions caused the death of the victim.

If you have no insurance in this situation, you are still liable, and all of the debt would go to you. You would have no cushion that would pay the damages the court requires. This kind of ruling could create a dire situation for you legally and financially.

By having nonowner car insurance, your insurance would pay the difference if the insurance on the car rental or car-sharing vehicle was not enough to cover it.

When you frequently drive someone else’s car, this coverage is similar to supplemental insurance.

It is also similar to an insurance settlement in the sense that it kicks in more money for the expenses when it is necessary to cover the costs.

How to Find Nonowner’s Car Insurance


When you are shopping and comparing car insurance plans, you will want to look for nonowner’s car insurance to cover you in a rental car or when driving anyone else’s car.

Many companies offer nonowner’s policy. But it isn’t as popular as other forms of car insurance, so you may have to ask specifically for the coverage.

When shopping for car insurance, here are some great questions to ask about nonowner’s car insurance to make sure you are getting what you need:

  • Does the non-owner car insurance cover all medical costs if I cause an accident while driving someone else’s car
  • Are there any expenses it does not cover that I might be held liable for?
  • What is the maximum amount of non-owner car insurance that I can get with this policy?
  • What is the monthly premium?

All of these questions get at the heart of whether the nonowner’s insurance will be worth the price you are paying each month. You want to make sure it truly covers these expenses so that you will be taken care of if the rental car insurance is not enough.

Tips on Talking to an Agent

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Insurance agents are trained to sell their product and make their pitch. They may only include specific details about the policy that they think you will find amenable.

Let’s face it,  they want to sell the policy. They are required to be honest, which is why you still have a right to ask questions if there is anything you do not understand.

Breakdown of Questions

There are a few questions you should ask yourself when comparing auto insurance policies between companies. These questions include:

– What are the exclusions or limitations of this specific policy?

This question digs deeper into the limitations of the policy. When you ask this question, the agent will tell you what it will not cover, as well as if there are any limits on maximum amounts of insurance you can carry under certain circumstances.

For example, in some states, there could be some limits on how much insurance you can get if you were previously convicted of a DUI. You will need to research this information on a reliable site first to find out if this applies to you.

– What is the exact amount of liability that this policy covers?

In this question, you will know exactly how much liability it offers so you can see if it meets the requirements and if it would be enough in the event of a bad accident.

– What are the cancellation rules of the policy?

This question tells you how long you have to cancel (in case you decide on another policy after you start it), as well as when the policy goes into effect.

– When does the policy begin and end?

Knowing the begin and ending dates of a policy is important because you may decide later to switch companies. You will need to know if you are covered before switching so that there is no gap in coverage.

Comparing Car Insurance


Information is the key to finding the best nonowner’s car insurance. Shop around and compare the exact coverage, including any limitations and exclusions to make sure you know what you are getting.

Keep in mind that the lowest rate may not be the best rate for you. There are many factors that can affect your premiums, so it’s best to compare at least three quotes from different insurance carriers.

Asking questions is important to ensure you are completely informed. Missing details could cost you money in the long run.

By asking the right questions and comparing, you will be able to find the right insurance if you are a non-owner. Enter your zip code into our FREE comparison tool below to get started!

Things to Remember...
  • Auto insurance typically follows the car, but in some cases, it can follow the drivers on the policy as well
  • When you borrow a car, some of the coverage options that you carry on your existing insurance policy will extend while you’re driving the borrowed car
  • Liability coverage under your existing insurance will automatically follow you when you drive cars that aren’t on your policy. Coverage only follows you when you don’t own the vehicle you’re borrowing
  • If you rent a car or borrow a car to replace one of your vehicles while it’s being repaired or serviced, your physical damage coverage may extend to the temporary substitute
  • The existing policy that’s being carried on the policy that you’re borrowing may still cover you even if you’re not listed on the policy. Coverage extends under the permissive user provision

If you look at the declarations page of your insurance policy, it’s easy to identify what’s covered and what’s not. After all, the declarations page includes vehicle information, the drivers on the policy, your coverage, and the coverage limits you carry.

Unfortunately, the declarations page doesn’t directly explain how coverage extends when you borrow a car. At surface level, auto insurance follows the car on the policy rather than the driver.

In most cases, you can loan your vehicle out to friends or family members and they’ll be covered if they have permission to drive the car.

Insurers don’t tell you that your auto insurance might even help cover accident claims when you’re in a borrowed car, but do you need that coverage?

Start comparison shopping today! Enter your zip code in our FREE tool above.

How Your Liability Insurance Protects You

If you have existing insurance on your car, elements of your policy will follow you when you’re driving someone else’s car. It’s important that you recognize that only elements of your policy will extend.

Most commonly, your liability coverage pays for claims that occur in listed vehicles, rented vehicles, and borrowed vehicles.

Under a standard insurance policy, your liability coverage is one of the few basic coverage options that will automatically protect you when you operate a borrowed car.

One of the reasons the coverage extends is to protect your assets if you’re in an accident, and the victim sues you instead of the owner of the vehicle. The coverage extension also helps when the car you borrow isn’t insured.

Will physical damage coverage on your policy extend to a borrowed car?

When you rent a car, there’s no point in buying the agency’s supplemental rental car coverage when you have a full coverage policy in effect. Your coverage extends to the rental since it’s acting as a temporary replacement for your car that’s listed on your insurance policy.

Borrowed cars may be treated differently. The only way that physical damage coverage on your policy will follow you as a driver is when you’re driving a car as a temporary substitute.

Not just any car meets the Personal Auto Policy definition of temporary substitute either. Here are the conditions that must be fulfilled for comprehensive and collision to pay for damages when you borrow a car:

  • You can’t have a financial interest in the vehicle
  • The vehicle must meet the definition of a private passenger auto
  • You must be driving the vehicle because you’re unable to use your car (e.g., breakdown, maintenance, repairs, destruction, or theft)

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Do any other forms of coverage follow you as a driver?

In most states, your Medical Payments or Personal Injury Protection coverage options will follow you in any car.

As long as the injuries that you suffered happened in an incident involving a vehicle, the insurer will help you pay for your medical treatment. These no-fault coverage options will also pay when you’re a passenger in the vehicle or a pedestrian.

Uninsured Motorist Protection is another one of those coverage options that helps to cover your medical bills.

Just like liability coverage extends to pay for third-party damages, your Uninsured Motorist Protection will extend to cover your medical bills when someone hits you, and they don’t have insurance. It doesn’t matter who’s vehicle you’re driving.

Your Liability Coverage Might Not Matter

AdobeStock_53649212-1600x1600It’s nice to know that your existing liability limits will cover you when you’re driving someone else’s car, but the limits that you carry might not matter.

Under each policy contract, it says that insurance that’s being carried on the car is primary. This means that you can borrow a car and the coverage the owner carries on it will pay first.

There are only a few scenarios where the primary insurance policy won’t pay, and your carrier must step in to cover the damages. One scenario is when you’re listed as an excluded driver on the policy. The other is when you don’t qualify for coverage as a permissive user.

To be a permissive user, you must meet the following status requirements:

  • You must live outside of the insured’s household
  • You can’t be a child of the insured
  • You can’t have an insurable interest in the car
  • You must be over 25
  • You must have a license
  • You can’t have serious tickets or accidents
  • You can’t have regular access to the car

Should you buy insurance if you don’t have your own car?

It’s typical for people to assume they don’t need insurance when they don’t own a car. If you don’t have a license, and you don’t drive cars, that’s true, but not if you borrow and rent cars regularly. If you’re a licensed driver who simply doesn’t own a car, you should consider getting a non-owner’s insurance policy.

Non-owner’s insurance is for people who frequently drive borrowed and rented cars. It provides you with liability coverage to protect your assets just in case the owner of the car doesn’t have insurance. It also helps if the car is insured with low limits of liability.

If the coverage isn’t clearly defined in your policy, ask your agent. You should get quotes for coverage if you don’t yet have a policy for protection.

Get your quotes by using our FREE online rate comparison tool, and you can price the cost of financial security just minutes after you enter your zip code.

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