Can I Insure a Car Not in My Name?

If you regularly drive someone else’s car, you might wonder about buying insurance for it. But when it comes to purchasing an auto insurance policy, the car owner is the one in the driver’s seat. Here’s what to know about insuring a car not in your name.

Can I insure a car not in my name?

No, you can’t insure a car not in your name. In most cases, only a person listed on the car’s registration can get insurance for it.

There may be an exception made if you can prove you have “insurable interest” in the vehicle. To have insurable interest in something, you must have a financial stake in it, meaning that the loss of the car would have a financial impact on you. If you’re not the owner, that can be hard to prove. If you believe you have a legitimate need for someone else’s car, you can try to prove you have insurable interest to an insurer to try to get them to cover you.

If you’re unable to prove you have insurable interest in the vehicle you’re driving, you could:

  • If you and the vehicle owner live at the same address, get an auto insurance policy that covers you both. If you already have auto insurance, add the car’s owner to your existing policy; or have the car’s owner add you to their existing policy, if they have one.

  • Buy non-owner car insurance so you have liability coverage in case you cause an accident that results in damages to others while driving someone else’s car.

How to handle common scenarios

How to be insured while driving

Drive a parent’s car while living at home

You should be added as a driver on your parent’s policy.

Regularly drive a roommate’s car

You should be added as a driver on your roommate’s policy.

Occasionally borrow the car of a friend or relative who doesn’t live with you

The owner’s policy will likely cover you. A standard auto insurance policy usually covers drivers who occasionally use a car with the owner’s permission.

Drive a parent’s car while away from home at school

A parent should list you on their policy and tell the insurance company where you’re going to school.

Drive a parent’s car once you’ve moved out

You’ll need to buy your own policy. Insuring a car at one address when it’s kept at another is fraud. Car insurance rates are based in part on where a car is kept. Also, insurance companies won’t allow you to stay on someone else’s policy and drive their car when you don’t live with them. Your parent could add you to the car title, or sell or transfer the car to you. Then you could register the car and buy car insurance using your own address.

Regularly drive the car of a friend or relative who does not live with you

If you routinely use somebody else’s car, discuss having your name added to the vehicle title so you can buy coverage for it. This is particularly important if this is a car that is no longer being used by the owner and is therefore not insured by them.

Consider non-owner car insurance

If you frequently drive cars that are not yours, you might consider purchasing non-owner car insurance.

If you occasionally drive somebody’s car with permission, the owner’s policy will typically cover you in an accident, up to the policy’s limits. However, any costs related to the accident that go beyond those limits would fall on you. Plus, if the car owner’s insurer decides you drive the car too often and should have been added to the policy, they might refuse to cover the accident. This is why non-owner insurance can be a smart purchase if you regularly drive someone else’s vehicle.

Non-owner car insurance provides liability insurance for drivers who don’t have a car of their own. A non-owner policy’s liability insurance pays for damage you cause to others and their property in an accident where you’re at fault, if the costs from an accident exceed the car owner’s liability limits. Liability insurance can also protect you financially if you’re sued because of a crash.

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