Does your car insurance and registration have to be under the same name?

Although your car insurance and registration don’t have to be under the same name, your insurance company can deny or delay claims. Instead, consider non-owner car insurance if you don’t own a vehicle.

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Chris Tepedino is a feature writer that has written extensively about home, life, and car insurance for numerous websites. He has a college degree in communication from the University of Tennessee and has experience reporting, researching investigative pieces, and crafting detailed, data-driven features. His works have been featured on CB Blog Nation, Flow Words, Healing Law, WIBW Kansas, and C...

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Laura Walker graduated college with a BS in Criminal Justice with a minor in Political Science. She married her husband and began working in the family insurance business in 2005. She became a licensed agent and wrote P&C business focusing on personal lines insurance for 10 years. Laura serviced existing business and wrote new business. She now uses her insurance background to help educate...

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Reviewed by Laura Walker
Former Licensed Agent Laura Walker

UPDATED: Mar 31, 2022

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The Rundown

  • Most states don’t require your car insurance and registration to be under the same name
  • Car insurance companies may delay settling claims if the policy and registration are under different names
  • Non-owner car insurance provides coverage no matter what car you drive

There are a few instances when you want to insure a vehicle you don’t own. While you may have a legitimate reason, trying to insure a car you don’t own can cause major problems.

Does your car insurance and registration have to be under the same name? Technically, you can buy insurance for a car you don’t own, but your insurance company may delay or deny claims if the names don’t match.

Instead, consider adding your name to the registration or buying non-owner car insurance. Although it may be harder to find a non-owner car insurance quote, coverage follows you no matter what car you drive.

Keep reading to learn more about whether your car insurance and registration must be in the same name and when to consider non-owner insurance.

Does your car insurance and registration have to be under the same name?

Every state creates its own rules for registering and insuring vehicles. However, only New York requires the same name to be listed on both.

Can I carry auto insurance for the car if the title isn’t in my name? Do the insurance, registration, and title have to match? While the title and registration must match, the insurance can possibly be in a different name.

The problem is that your car insurance company doesn’t like it when the name on the insurance doesn’t match the name on the registration. In fact, your claim can be denied or delayed while the insurance company figures it out.

Your car insurance company wants drivers to have an insurable interest in the vehicle. Simply put, damages would impact you financially. If you insure a car that’s not in your name, you may not be responsible for paying for damages and not treat the vehicle with the same care.

In addition, insurance companies want to avoid fraud. According to the Insurance Information Institute, insurance fraud costs insurers about $29 billion a year. For example, insuring a car that’s not in your name opens the door for fraudulent claims if there isn’t a reason for the car to be insured by a non-owner.

Why would you insure a car that’s not in your name?

There are several reasons you may want insurance coverage on a vehicle you don’t own. Let’s look at some scenarios.

First, you have a bad driving record, resulting in higher insurance rates. So bring down rates by allowing someone else to carry insurance and list you as a driver.

This table shows just how expensive car insurance rates can be with a bad driving record. Average annual rates from top companies are listed by driving history.

Average Annual Car Insurance Rates by Driving History
CompanyAverage Annual Rates With Clean RecordAverage Annual Rates With 1 AccidentAverage Annual Rates With 1 DUIAverage Annual Rates With 1 Speeding Violation
American Family$2,693.61$3,722.75$4,330.24$3,025.74
Liberty Mutual$4,774.30$6,204.78$7,613.48$5,701.26
State Farm$2,821.18$3,396.01$3,636.80$3,186.01
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Next, names may not match on car insurance and registration if you have a young driver. For example, if your teen bought a car themselves but wants to be on your insurance for lower rates, names won’t match.

Finally, you borrow a car often from a friend or family member. While the owner should already have coverage, additional coverage in your name offers peace of mind.

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What are alternatives to having car insurance and registration under the same name?

Since insuring a car that’s not in your name can be problematic, there are some alternatives.

Consider co-registering the vehicle. Adding both names to the registration allows you to insure the car in your name. However, this does make you part owner of the vehicle.

In addition, ask the owner to add you to their insurance policy. Although this is easy if you live in the same house, it may be more difficult if you live separately. You’ll have to show you have a vested interest in the vehicle.

The easiest way to carry insurance on a car you don’t own is to get non-owner car insurance. A non-owner insurance policy follows the driver, not the vehicle. So it doesn’t matter what car you drive.

What is non-owner car insurance?

Non-owner auto insurance offers coverage for drivers who don’t own a vehicle. Although not every insurance company offers non-owner coverage, some top companies provide the coverage. For example, you can get non-owner car insurance from GEICO.

Non-owner insurance typically only includes liability coverage and other coverages required by your state, such as personal injury protection and uninsured/underinsured motorist coverages.

While non-owner policies are cheaper, liability coverage only pays for property damage and bodily injuries of others if you cause an accident. The car you’re driving isn’t covered at all.

For example, if you borrow a friend’s car and hit another car, your non-owner policy doesn’t pay to repair your friend’s vehicle. Your friend’s auto insurance may cover repairs in some cases, but it’s up to the insurance company.

You can also get temporary non-owner car insurance while you are looking for standard coverage. Temporary coverage meets state requirements and gives you time to find the best coverage for you.

How do I find cheap non-owner car insurance near me?

Your personal factors determine non-owner car insurance rates. So shop around to find the best non-owner car insurance rates.

Car Insurance and Registration: The Bottom Line

While most states don’t require car insurance and the registration to be in the same name, your insurance company probably won’t like it.

Your insurance company needs to know you have a vested interest in keeping the vehicle damage-free.

The easiest way to avoid problems is to add your name to the title or car insurance policy.

Also, consider non-owner car insurance. Non-owner insurance allows you to carry liability coverage no matter what car you drive.

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