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Corin Cook

By: Corin Cook on June 26th, 2023

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What is Non-Owner Auto Insurance?

personal insurance | non-owner auto insurance

While vehicles can certainly be one of life’s greatest conveniences, not having one can actually come with a lot of perks.

For one -- the money savings! You don’t need to pay for the car or a car loan, maintenance, gas, or an insurance policy. 

But wait, not so fast. Even if you don’t have a car, there’s a good chance you still need auto insurance -- non-owner auto insurance to be exact.

Not sure what that means? We can help. At Berry Insurance, we write non-owner policies every week for clients without vehicles, so we know all the ins and outs.

In this article, we’ll explain what non-owner insurance is, what it covers, how much it costs, when you might need it, and what you need to get it.

What exactly is non-owner car insurance?

Let’s begin with the basics.

Non-owner car insurance (also called named non-owner) is a type of car insurance policy for people without a car. In other words, this insurance will cover you if you were to get into an accident while driving someone else’s car, whether it’s a friend’s or a rental.

Non-owner auto insurance is a secondary coverage, used to cover the gaps that the borrowed car’s insurance policy won’t cover. This means if you cause an accident and the car owner’s car insurance reaches its limits, the non-owner policy will kick in to cover the rest (if your policy has the proper limits -- but we’ll get into that more below)

What does non-owner auto cover (and not cover)?

Compared to other types of auto insurance, non-owner insurance is a fairly bare-bones policy. It has a few essential coverages, but is missing some things you might expect. 

What is typically covered?

  • Injuries caused to others while driving someone else’s car
  • Property damage caused to others while driving someone else’s car

What is not typically covered?

  • Damage to the car you borrowed
  • Medical expenses for yourself
  • Roadside assistance/towing
  • Rental coverage
  • Coverage if your limits are less than or equal to the original policy’s limits

How much does non-owner auto cost?

Since a non-owner policy has fewer coverages than a standard policy, the cost is usually much lower.

That cost varies on factors on driving record, credit, risks, age, location, and the amount of coverage you want, but the average cost for a non-owner policy in Massachusetts costs around $400 - $700 per year ($33/$58 per month)

Do I need non-owner car insurance?

If you don’t own a vehicle, non-owner auto insurance isn’t legally required. However, if you drive any vehicle and you aren’t listed as a driver on the owner’s policy, you need one.

Even if you don’t drive at all and are just experiencing a lapse between buying cars, you may want to get a non-owner policy so you don’t have any lapses in your insurance history, which could make it more expensive to get policies again in the future.

Whether you rent cars regularly, or borrow a friend’s vehicle once in a while, a non-owner policy will ensure you won’t be stuck with a costly bill if you were to get in an accident.

If you own a car, you do not need a non-owner policy because your car insurance policy will cover personal injury and liability coverage (but you will probably also need additional coverages)

Also, if you regularly use the same person’s car, you should probably just be listed on that person’s car insurance rather than having a non-owner policy.

Without a non-owner policy, if you get into an accident in someone else’s car, that person’s car insurance will automatically cover injuries and property damage you caused up to the limits on their policy. However, a non-owner policy will cover any costs that exceed their limits, so without it, you could be stuck with a large out-of-pocket bill.

How much non-owner coverage do I need?

Only you can decide how much non-owner auto insurance you want based on your risks and financial situation, but at a minimum, we recommend $100,000 bodily injury per person, $300,000 bodily injury per accident and $100,000 property damage.

This type of insurance is something you don’t want to skimp on. Non-owner auto insurance only pays out if your limits are greater than those on the primary vehicle owner’s policy, so you’ll always want to be sure you have enough so the insurance will be there when you need it.

What do I need to apply for non-owner coverage?

Most insurance carriers in MA will require you to have a MA license and six years of driving experience to get a non-owner policy.

Also, you probably won’t be able to get just a non-owner policy alone. Most carriers require you to bundle it with another policy, such as home, condo, or renter’s insurance. 

For more information on what you'll need for a non-owner policy, check out this article: What Do I Need to Get Named Non-Owner Auto Insurance in Massachusetts.

Protect yourself behind any wheel

Remember, just because you don’t have a car, doesn’t mean you don’t need some type of auto insurance.

Non-owner auto insurance gives you the liability protection that could save you from a significant out-of-pocket expense from a car accident.

If you think you need a non-owner policy (which if you drive at all, we think you do!) reach out to an insurance agent today to get you covered.

Not sure how to decide if an insurance agency or carrier is right for you? Check out this article What to Look for When Selecting an Insurance Agency or Company.