Can I carry car insurance for a car if the title is not in my name?

UPDATED: Sep 21, 2022Fact Checked

Free Insurance Comparison

Compare Quotes From Top Companies and Save

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

The Rundown

  • Drivers who don’t own a car should purchase non-owner liability insurance 
  • If a driver lives with the car owner, the owner can add them to their insurance policy 
  • If the vehicle was a gift, drivers should ask for the registration and title to be transferred to their name so they can purchase a policy 

Can I insure a car not in my name? If you have been gifted a car or are driving another person’s car regularly, it is vital that you are fully protected on the road. However, you can’t insure a car you don’t own with a regular car insurance policy unless you live with the vehicle owner. 

Your insurance options as a non-owner are usually to be added as a driver to an existing insurance policy or purchase non-owner liability car insurance.  

Continue reading to learn more about how you can be protected in an accident in a car you don’t own and why you can’t purchase regular insurance for a non-owned vehicle when your name isn’t on the title. 

How Non-Owners Can Be Protected

There are a few different ways drivers can still be protected by insurance when driving a car they don’t own. We’ve listed the most common ways non-owners can seek out insurance below to see which is the best course of action for you. 

Add Driver to Owner’s Policy or Add Owner of Car To Driver’s Policy 

If you and the car owner live at the same address, it is relatively easy for the owner to add you as a driver to their existing insurance policy. 

However, if you don’t live at the same address, insurance companies may not allow you to be added to the owner’s existing policy. This is because insurance companies use a driver’s area to calculate vehicle risks like crime, crashes, and weather hazards. 

You also will not be able to receive two separate bills. The policyholder is responsible for the bill, although you can pay the owner your portion of the bill separately. 

Another option is adding the car to your own insurance. 

Can you insure a car you don’t own? The answer is yes if you have an existing car insurance policy and the car owner lives at the same address. Then you have the option to add them and their vehicle to your existing policy. 

This option is offered by a few insurance companies, such as Progressive. It is typically used for roommates who live together and own their cars. As with the option of adding the driver to the owner’s policy, if you don’t share an address, you won’t be allowed to use this option. 

Buy a Non-Owner Insurance Policy 

Can you insure yourself to drive someone else’s car? Yes, if you don’t own your own vehicle, you can purchase non-owner car insurance. 

The majority of insurance companies offer this coverage for drivers who regularly drive cars they don’t own. In addition, non-owner car insurance is cheaper than regular insurance policies, as it only provides bodily injury and property damage liability insurance. 

If you get into a crash, liability insurance will pay the cost of other parties’ medical bills and property damage bills. 

Take a look at the table below to get an idea of what the top insurers charge for minimum liability coverage.

Minimum Coverage Annual Rates for the Top 10 Auto Insurance Companies
Insurance CompanyAverage Minimum Coverage Rates
American Family$582
Liberty Mutual$771
State Farm$408
Get Your Rates Quote Now

Compare RatesStart Now →

Keep in mind, non-owner car insurance won’t cover any damages to the car or injuries to you. Because of this, if you are driving a friend’s car, you should check that they have collision or comprehensive insurance so you don’t get stuck paying for car damages out-of-pocket. 

In addition, when purchasing non-owner car insurance, make sure you read insurance company reviews and compare rates to choose a company that’s right for you. 

Have Vehicle Title and Registration Transferred to You or Your Name Added 

One simple fix, especially if you have been gifted a car, is to have the registration and title transferred to you. Then the vehicle will be in your name, and you can easily purchase an insurance policy. 

You can also ask to be added to the car’s registration or title, which can help you prove insurable interest to insurance companies so you can purchase an insurance policy on the car. 

However, this can be difficult if the car is leased or loaned, and the lender may not allow the owner to change the title to a co-title. 

Compare The Best Insurance Quotes In The Country

Compare quotes from the top insurance companies and save!

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

Why You Can’t Buy Standard Car Insurance for a Car When the Title Isn’t in Your Name 

Unless you meet one of the situations listed previously, you can’t purchase a standard auto insurance policy for a car when the title isn’t in your name. 

Your only option is non-owner car insurance, as insurance companies won’t let you insure a vehicle with the title not in your name for the reasons listed below.  

You Can’t Prove Insurable Interest As a Non-Owner

Unless you are on the vehicle’s registration and title, you can’t prove insurable interest in the car. Insurable interest proves that you would face a financial loss if the car were damaged or totaled. 

Because you don’t own the vehicle, there isn’t a way to prove insurable interest unless the owner adds you to the registration and title. 

You Can’t Make Insurance Claims As a Non-Owner 

Because you have no insurable interest in the car, you can’t file a claim as a non-owner. The payouts would need to be to the car’s owner if you get into an accident and damage the car. 

If insurance companies allowed non-owners to insure cars and file claims, fraudulent payouts could be made to people with zero financial investment in a car. Because of this, insurance companies will not issue policies if there is no insurable interest to avoid fraudulent claims. 

You Can’t Register a Car As a Non-Owner 

The vast majority of states require drivers to have proof of insurance when they register a car. 

The registration and car insurance will already be in the owner’s name if you are gifted a car. You would need the title transferred to your name and purchase your own insurance policy to register the car in your name. 

The Final Word on Car Insurance for Non-Owners 

If the title is not in your name and you don’t live with the car’s owner, then your only option is to purchase non-owner car insurance. Non-owner auto insurance is a bare minimum policy that provides bodily injury and property damage liability insurance if you cause an accident. 

If you want to search for the best rates on non-owner car insurance policies, use our free quote comparison tool to find the best rates in your area.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do drivers need car insurance if they don’t own the car?

If you don’t own a car, then you legally do not need to purchase insurance for a car you don’t own. However, you may wish to purchase non-owner auto insurance to be better protected if you cause an accident rather than depending upon the car’s insurance policy.

Do I need insurance to drive someone else’s car?

The auto insurance that the owner has on the car will protect you if you have permission to use the car. However, you should also check that there is insurance on the car so you don’t accidentally drive an uninsured vehicle. In addition, if you live with the owner, you may be added as a driver to their policy if you drive their vehicle frequently.

Can you register a car without insurance?

In most states, you must provide proof of insurance to register a car at the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). For example, according to the DMV, it is illegal for a car to be operated in Vermont if it isn’t covered by minimum liability insurance.

Can someone else insure my car?

Yes, just as you can insure someone else’s car, another person can insure your car if they are added to your vehicle title and you live together. They may also purchase non-owner car insurance for when they drive your car, but remember that this won’t be insurance coverage for your vehicle but rather for the driver.

Can you get insurance without a title?

If you don’t own the car and therefore don’t have the car’s title, you can only purchase non-owner car insurance if you drive the vehicle. However, you may be able to be added to the owner’s auto insurance policy if you live with them.


Asked November 10, 2014 by Lauren Lockett

2 Answers

If you already have insurance on your own vehicle, you can add the car you do not own to your policy, for the additional premium.

You can take out a policy on a car even if you do not own it.

If you often drive cars you do not own, you may want to check out non-owner automobile coverage. This is liability coverage that applies whether you are renting a car or borrowing a car from someone else. It would pay for injuries suffered by other people involved, the drivers of other cars and their passenger. It would also pay for damage you cause to another vehicle.

Answered February 19, 2016 by mziarnik

The problem with insuring a car that is not in your name is that you will have to be able to show an insurable interest in the car. Typically, the owner has an insurable interest because they have something to lose if the car is totaled, while someone who is not on the registration does not. If you can prove an insurable interest, you can insure the vehicle, but that may a difficult feat to achieve.

Most insurance companies will want you to be named as a driver on the car rather than the owner of it. The insurance will still be written for the owner of the vehicle, but you can pay the premiums and be covered if something goes wrong.

Even if the car is in your child's name, you will have a hard time showing an insurable interest. In this case, an insurance agent will advise you to get a new registration which includes both you and your child as the registered owner. This same tactic will work for someone who is not related to you, but the DMV may be concerned that the car is owned by two different and related people, especially if you live at different addresses.

You can always pay the insurance for the vehicle, even if you are not listed as driver. In this case, your payment will not benefit you in any way, because you are simply acting as financial benefactor, not as someone who has anything invested in the vehicle. This method works, but introduces other problems if something changes in your relationship with the car owner. To protect your own use of the car, you should be listed as a driver of the car even if you only use it on rare occasions.

Answered November 10, 2014 by Anonymous

Related Links

Free Insurance Comparison

Compare quotes from the top insurance companies and save!

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption