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How Do You Get Insurance on a Car Not Registered to You?

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Depending on where you live and your circumstances, you may have options to insure a car not registered to you.

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Our experts will walk through everything you need to know to find insurance coverage for a car that’s not registered to you. We’ve also carefully evaluated and reviewed all the best car insurance companies to help you find the best coverage for your needs.

Can You Get Insurance on a Car That’s Not Registered to You?

The short answer is that it depends. While it’s possible in most cases, some states, such as New York, require a driver’s auto insurance policy to have the same name as their vehicle’s registration. In these cases, the owner of the car is required by state law to be the one who takes out the car insurance policy for the vehicle. Make sure to check with your insurer or DMV to ensure you know the laws in your area before seeking coverage on a car you don’t own.

Ways to Get Insurance When a Car is Not Registered to You

If your name doesn’t appear on the vehicle registration of the car you drive, you have a couple of options to consider for auto insurance coverage, depending on your circumstances. 

Add the Vehicle to Your Current Policy

If your state allows it, you may be able to add a car to your existing insurance policy even if the new car isn’t registered in your name. This can be challenging due to the many restrictions insurance companies have in place. Additionally, not all insurers offer this option, so you’ll likely have to search around to find a provider that does.

If you find a provider willing to offer coverage, adding the vehicle to your policy should be similar to adding an auto you own. You’ll need to supply the VIN and other information, as well as a list of drivers who use the motor vehicle. Your insurance company may also require you to list the owner of the vehicle as a driver.

Have the Owner Add You to Their Policy

If you regularly drive an auto registered to someone else, they will need to add you to their insurance policy. The most common example of this is couples or family members who share cars. This is why many insurance companies require you to list all licensed drivers in your home on your policy.

Have the Owner Add You to the Registration

Another solution is to ask the owner of the vehicle to add your name to the car registration. Cars can typically be registered to more than one person, and having your name on the registration makes getting insurance an easier process.

However, be aware that this decision requires a great deal of trust on the part of the vehicle’s owner as it gives you a legal claim to the car. The process of adding another person to a vehicle’s registration can also be straightforward or a hassle, depending on your state.

Get a Separate Auto Insurance Policy

Another option is to get a separate auto insurance policy for the car you don’t own. This is an option if the owner doesn’t want to add you to their policy, and you can’t add their auto to yours.

This option requires you to show that you have an insurable interest in the vehicle. In other words, you need to prove that if the car is damaged, you will also face a financial loss. This typically involves proving you have a direct relationship with the owner of the vehicle.

These types of policies most often apply to families. For example, an adult child may want to get vehicle insurance for their 80-year-old mother’s car. Or, a parent could get insurance for their teen’s auto if their child lives at home and the parent contributes to payments.

Get Non-Owner Insurance

A smart option for many people in this situation is to get non-owner car insurance. This type of policy offers protection that the car owner’s standard policy may not provide you. It’s worth considering if you regularly drive cars you don’t own.

Keep in mind that non-owner insurance usually just includes liability coverage. In other words, it covers bodily injury and property damage claims for other parties in accidents you case, but it doesn’t cover damage to the vehicle you’re driving.

There are some restrictions that come with non-owner policies. For instance, you will not be able to get non-owner insurance if you regularly drive the vehicle or live at the same address as the registered owner. In either of those cases, the owner of the car will have to add you as a named or authorized driver on their existing insurance policy. Some non-owner insurance policies may require you to borrow other people’s cars or rent cars regularly as well.

SR-22 Non-Owner Insurance

If you have a serious infraction on your driving record, such as a DUI or driving without a valid driver’s license, you may be required by your state to file an SR-22. If this is the case and you don’t own the vehicle you drive, you can purchase a specific type of non-owner policy: SR-22 non-owner insurance. Similar to standard non-owner policies, SR-22 non-owner policies only cover basic liability insurance.

Getting Insurance on a Car Not Registered to You: Conclusion

Depending on where you live and your circumstances, you have options available to you when it comes to finding insurance coverage for a vehicle you don’t own. If you need insurance for a car that isn’t registered to you, it’s crucial to be honest with your insurance provider to ensure you’re following all laws and getting the right type of coverage for your situation.

Our Recommendations for Auto Insurance

Whether you’re insuring a car that’s registered to you or someone else, we recommend insurance from GEICO, USAA and Progressive. Compare quotes from multiple auto insurance providers to find the best coverage for your needs.

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In our expert analysis, GEICO earned an overall rating of 9.1 based on its low average rates and good customer service reputation. Supplement your GEICO auto insurance with add-ons like rental reimbursement, mechanical breakdown assistance, rideshare coverage, roadside assistance and classic car coverage.

USAA: Best Military Provider

USAA earned a 9.3 overall rating in our review of the best car insurance companies. The provider offers extras like classic car insurance, rental reimbursement, gap insurance, roadside assistance, rideshare coverage and accident forgiveness. Coverage through USAA is only available to military members, veterans and their families.

Progressive: Best for High-Risk Drivers

Progressive received an 8.6 overall rating from our experts and is known for its affordable rates for high-risk motorists. Progressive also offers additional coverage and add-ons, such as classic car coverage, accident forgiveness, roadside assistance, rideshare coverage, custom parts value, loan/lease payoff and a deductible savings bank.

Frequently Asked Questions

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

Depending on the state, it’s possible to insure a car that’s not in your name, but it can be more challenging than insuring one that’s registered to you. Depending on your insurance carrier and where the car’s owner lives, you may be able to add the auto to your policy. Another option is to get non-owner insurance.

Can I insure my wife’s car in my name?

Most insurance companies will allow you to insure your spouse’s car in your name. However, you should expect your insurance company to require you to list your wife on your policy for this to be possible.

Can I insure a car with multiple names on the title?

As long as yours is one of the names on the car title, you can insure a car with multiple names on the title. In fact, adding a name to a vehicle’s title or registration allows the new person to add the car to their insurance policy. This is especially common in parent-child relationships and between spouses or significant others.