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

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 insurance is against state law and will result in fines and a possible jail sentence. You also can lose your driving privileges on a temporary basis through suspension or even permanently through revocation.
  • Review your insurance policy to see if you need extra coverage to drive another person’s car.

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

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How does the policy affect whether or not I need car insurance when driving someone else’s car?

Time to look through bills. Handsome young man holding papers and looking at it while sitting on the couch at home

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 according to Ask For Insurance.

Driving Without Car Insurance


Every state requires a minimum amount of liability coverage or some proof of financial responsibility. If you drive a car without having the minimum amount of car insurance then you risk serious consequences.

Many people can try driving under someone else’s insurance. Laws vary by state, but it is not uncommon to lose your license, pay heavy fines, and risk getting sentenced up to five years in jail.

When it is time to get your license reinstated, you will have to pay additional fees and probably need to retake your written test as well.

The penalties are almost the same for driving with too little insurance as for driving with no insurance at all.

When you go to buy your car insurance, make sure you have enough coverage to meet your state’s minimum liability requirements.

For example, if your state mandates that you have liability coverage for 20/40/10, then make sure you buy enough insurance to have bodily injury and death for at least $20,000 per single person, $40,000 per multi-persons combined, and $10,000 for property damage.

If you do not have any coverage at all or your coverage falls below the state requirement, then you risk all of the above mentioned possibilities.

Being Covered under Someone Else’s Car Insurance Policy


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.

When you buy car insurance you are required to list all potential drivers on your policy. If you loan your car to someone and they are not listed on the policy, they will most likely be covered provided they do not fall into any of the exclusions category.

Most policies automatically exclude certain drivers, such as all persons under the age of 25. Therefore, if you are 22 and you drive someone else’s car, you may not be covered on their insurance policy.

It is best to read all policies to make sure you are not excluded from coverage before you even get behind the wheel.

If you have your own car insurance then your car insurance may follow you even though you are driving someone else’s car.

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

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Getting Non-Owner Car Insurance

There are times when you don’t own a car but you plan on driving someone else’s car. If you don’t own a car, then you won’t have car insurance.

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 on his policy, so under that circumstance you will need to comply and get non-owner car insurance.

Non-owner car insurance 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 body 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.

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 you are insured somehow before driving any car.

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

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