Zaneta Wood, Ed.S. has over 15 years of experience in research and technical writing bringing a keen understanding of data analysis and information synthesis to reach a wide variety of audiences. She studied adult education and instructional technology at Appalachian State University as well as technical and professional communication at East Carolina University. Zaneta has prepared technical p...

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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®

UPDATED: Oct 22, 2020

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Here's what you need to know...

  • If you are not insured to drive a car, regardless of who the owner is, then you are financially responsible for all damages resulting from an accident or any other incident
  • Driving without liability auto insurance coverage is against state law and will result in fines and a possible jail sentence
  • Review your insurance policy to see if you need extra coverage to drive another person’s car

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

Yes, you do need car insurance to drive someone else’s vehicle. You can be insured either by the car owner himself or by non-owner car insurance. You do not necessarily need to take out a policy in your name.

You can find and compare car insurance rates online if you’ll be driving multiple vehicles in just minutes with our FREE multi-company comparison tool. Just enter your ZIP code above to start right now.

Table of Contents

Do I need car insurance to drive a friend’s car?

Do you have to have car insurance to drive someone else’s car? The answer is yes.

Can I drive an uninsured car on my policy? What happens if there is an uninsured driver driving an uninsured car? The car you’re driving needs to be insured. If your friend has insurance on the vehicle, that coverage will provide financial protection when you’re driving it.

You do not need your own policy to borrow a car. However, having your own insurance could provide additional protection. If your friend’s policy limits are exceeded, your coverage would kick in.

This video from eHow talks about this.

You should review the insurance policy to determine whether or not you need car insurance when driving someone else’s car.

The insurance policy may or may not cover this situation, but you should still check.

This type of coverage is often referred to as third-party coverage.

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Driving Without Car Insurance

What happens if you drive someone else’s car without insurance? Every state requires a minimum amount of liability coverage or some proof of financial responsibility. If you drive a car that is uninsured and you get caught, you’re going to face penalties even if you’re just borrowing that car.

Laws vary by state and many can be found here at the NAICs site, but it is not uncommon to lose your license, pay heavy fines, and risk getting sentenced up to five years in jail for driving without insurance.

For example, if your state mandates that you have liability coverage for 20/40/10, then make sure the car you’re driving has insurance at least in the amounts of:

  • $20,000 liability coverage for bodily injury to one person
  • $40,000 liability coverage total for bodily injury to multiple persons
  • $10,000 liability coverage for property damage

Remember — every state has different laws, so check your state’s mandates to know what you’re required to have.

Being Covered Under Someone Else’s Car Insurance Policy

If you drive your friends car, does car insurance cover you?

Car insurance almost always follows the car and not the policy owner. However, there are limitations on everyone’s car insurance policy that can make this confusing.

If you loan your car to someone, they will most likely be covered provided they do not fall into any of the exclusions categories.

If you have your own car insurance then your car insurance may follow you even though you are driving someone else’s car. Sometimes the accident damages costs are split between your coverage and the car owner’s coverage.

Review your policy or call your agent to confirm the details of your coverage.

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Getting Non-Owner Car Insurance

Can you get car insurance to drive someone else’s car? There are times when you don’t own a car but you plan to drive someone else’s car. If you don’t own a car, then you won’t have car insurance.

You may be able to get non-owner car insurance in Ohio, California, or wherever you live.

You may be covered on the car owner’s insurance policy, but if you are going to be driving routinely then you should either request to be specifically added to the policy or you should consider buying non-owner car insurance.

The owner of the car may also ask you to provide your own car insurance even if you are covered by his policy, so under that circumstance, you will need to comply and get non-owner car insurance.

Consider the type of driving you’ll be doing and decide which option works for your situation:

Non-Owner Car Insurance Options
Type of DrivingOwner's CoverageNon-Owner CoverageYour Own Coverage
Occasional BorrowingThe car owner's insurance should cover youNot necessaryIf you have a car and insurance, your coverage may kick in if the damage you cause exceeds the owner's policy
Regular BorrowingThe owner should add you to the policy if you regularly drive their vehicleYou could consider purchasing this type of coverage if the owner doesn't want to list you as a driver on their policyIf you have a policy, it may kick in after the other coverages are exhausted
RentingYou can purchase coverage from the rental companyA non-owner policy may be cheaper for a long-term rentalYour own coverage will provide the same level of coverage to a rental vehicle. Just evaluate if your current coverage is substantial enough for a rental vehicle
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A non-owner car insurance policy is available for liability coverage and can be purchased for either a car that you are borrowing or renting.

If you are renting a car then you can buy rental insurance from the car rental company which could end up being more expensive than non-owner car insurance, especially if the rental is long term.

If you are getting car insurance to drive someone else’s car, make sure there is a clear understanding of whose insurance will cover liability and whose insurance will cover comprehensive damages.

If you are at fault for an accident, then your non-owner car insurance policy will pay for bodily injury and property damages suffered by the other parties of the accident.

However, if the car is stolen while it is under your care, chances are the car owner’s comprehensive insurance policy will cover those costs.

Anytime you are going to drive, whether the car is yours or someone else’s, you will need to be covered by car insurance.

To sum it up, here are the choices you have that are appropriate for different situations:

The car insurance can be your own, you can be covered by someone else’s policy, or you can buy non-owner’s car insurance. Whatever you do, make sure insurance is in place before driving any car.

The consequences of driving without insurance are severe and completely avoidable by just obtaining the proper amount of liability insurance.

Make sure you have the right insurance to cover every driver. Now that you know if you need car insruance to drive someone else’s car, get FREE quotes from different car insurance companies by entering your ZIP code below.

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Frequently Asked Questions: Do you need car insurance to drive someone else’s car?

Hopefully you know all there is to know about if you need auto insurance to drive someone else’s car, but just in case, let’s take a look at a few more FAQs below.

#1 – Do all cars need insurance?

All cars that will be driven need insurance. If you’re leasing or financing, most lenders require that you keep full coverage on the vehicle for the duration of your loan.

However, if you own the car outright, you can get liability-only insurance. This refers to your state’s minimum liability requirements, which are listed for each state over at the Insurance Information Institute.

Liability-only coverage is usually best for older vehicles, as it doesn’t cover damages to your own car at all.

#2 – Is the car insured or the driver?

Most of the time, your insurance follow the car. If you let someone borrow your vehicle and they get into an accident, your car insurer will be reponsible for damages.

#3 – Can you rent a car and let someone else drive?

Can someone else pay for my car rental? It’s a very bad idea to rent a car for somebody else, as your credit card and ID will be on file. You’ll be responsible for damages if that other person causes an accident.

#4 – Will insurance pay if someone else is driving?

As long as the driver has permission from the vehicle’s owner to drive it, car insurance will likely cover liability damages.

#5 – Can you insure someone else’s financed car?

If you’re trying to finance someone else’s financed vehicle, the insurance company will probably require that their name be on the insurance as well.

You may be able to get car insurance for a car you don’t own by adding it to your policy.

You can’t have one person’s name on a lender contract and another one person’s name on the car insurance policy. But you can have multiple people listed for each.

#6 – What can someone do with your car insurance card?

Savvy thieves may use your car insurance card for fraudulent activity. The card includes your VIN number and address. Always lock your car doors.