Can you get car insurance without a title?

Typically, you cannot get car insurance without a title unless proof of insurance is required to purchase a car. A non-owner policy provides general liability car insurance without a title.

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Joel Ohman is the CEO of a private equity backed digital media company. He is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, author, angel investor, and serial entrepreneur who loves creating new things, whether books or businesses. He has also previously served as the founder and resident CFP® of a national insurance agency, Real Time Health Quotes. He has an MBA from the University of South Florida. Jo...

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Reviewed by Joel Ohman
Founder & CFP® Joel Ohman

UPDATED: May 4, 2022

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Here's what you need to know...

  • In general, there is no requirement that you have a title for a car in order to be able to get auto insurance coverage
  • Almost every insurance company in the U.S. will require that an applicant for car insurance coverage be able to show that he or she has an insurable interest in a car or truck to get a policy
  • The way that an insurance provider determines whether you have some insurable interest in a vehicle is if you can show that you would suffer some loss if the vehicle was damaged

There is not necessarily a requirement that you have to be able to show that you have a car title in order to get an auto insurance policy.

The thing that most auto insurance companies are looking to make sure of is that you have an insurable interest in a vehicle that you are seeking to insure.

This means that you have some sort of financial responsibility for the car or would be harmed if the vehicle was damaged in some way.

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Can you get car insurance before you have the official car title?


If you have a valid driver’s license and search for insurance coverage because you drive someone else’s car, insurance companies may provide you with coverage. They will sell you a policy if you’re in the process of leasing or purchasing a vehicle.

A very common scenario is that you may need to get proof of car insurance coverage before you are able to officially complete your purchase of a new car.

This could be a requirement of the car dealership. In this situation, you would not be able to show a car title until you have it officially registered, but the auto insurance company will still sign you up right away for coverage.

If you are the registered owner of the car, then it is quite simple to prove that you would be financially harmed if the car were damaged.

When you pay for the vehicle, you’re required to provide proof of ownership to your insurance provider within 15-30 days.

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What if I am not the owner?

If you are not the owner, then you may end up being named as a driver on the insurance policy of the person who actually owns the vehicle.

Being listed as a driver on an auto insurance policy means that you will get coverage in the event of an accident.

In addition, you may be able to make the premium payments for the policy, but it is the actual policyholder who will be held accountable by the insurance company in the event of non-payment of the premium.

When you are signing up for car insurance as a driver listed on the vehicle owner’s policy, your rates may be affected by the driving history and credit score of the vehicle’s official owner.

The same is true for the owner of the vehicle in terms of your driving record and credit score having an effect on his or her overall policy premium.

If you do actually plan to own the car that you are insuring, then the type of car you are buying will also affect the premium.

Auto insurance companies find that cars with many modifications or exotic features are a higher risk to insure and charge more for those premiums to make up for the increased risk of having a claim filed for those vehicles.

You should factor the premium into the cost of car ownership.

How to get a non-owner car insurance policy


If you are in a situation where you are not driving any particular car exclusively, then a non-owner auto insurance policy may be the best option for your coverage.

This type of policy is basically an auto liability policy, which means that coverage is available for any damage that you are responsible for inflicting on another car or person.

If you are interested in seeing whether a non-owner auto insurance policy is the right fit, you can start by requesting quotes online for options in your area.

You may find that some insurers do not provide this option, and the quickest way to know is to request online quotes based on your particular situation.

After getting a range of quotes, you can quickly see what general prices you would pay for a non-owner auto insurance policy in your state.

The next step in the process is to determine what amount of policy limits make sense for you.

Remember that any damage you cause that is greater than the policy limits you choose is your responsibility to pay for.

If you decide to increase your policy limits above the state minimum for coverage, you could make up for the slightly higher price you may pay for your premium by inquiring about discounts you are eligible to receive.

Something that may coincide with your situation is to find out if there are lower rates available based on low estimated daily mileage.

If you only borrow a car to drive on very rare occasions, this could be an applicable discount for you.

Will insurance companies provide car insurance if you have insurable interest?

Having a title to a vehicle in hand is not a prerequisite to being able to get car insurance. What the auto insurance company is looking for is that you have some insurable interest in the vehicle that you are seeking to insure.

In addition, you may be able to get auto insurance coverage to satisfy state requirements if you get a non-owner car insurance policy.

In this case, you would typically be borrowing or driving vehicles that are owned by other people.

Even though you are not the owner of the vehicle, you would still be technically violating your state law if you drove the vehicle without having some form of auto insurance for yourself.

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In which circumstances do non-title holders need insurance?

There are a couple of instances where you will need car insurance, but you’re not the title holder:

  • If you’re leasing your car, truck, or SUV, the lending company is the title holder.
  • If you’re financing your vehicle with a lending company, the lender is the title holder until you pay your car off.
  • You take a title loan which lets you put up your vehicle title as collateral. The lending company owns your vehicle until you repay the loan.
  • If you inherit a vehicle, your insurance company will usually give you 30 days to provide proof of ownership

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