Your friend has a car you drive around now and then, but you don’t have any auto insurance to cover it. In terms of legality, there is no law stating you should have insurance on a car that isn’t yours. And technically speaking, you cannot ensure what you don’t own. However, car insurance follows the vehicle and not the owner, so you’re good to go if your friend has insurance.
Driving Your Friend’s Car Without Insurance- Good Idea/Bad Idea
You don’t have a car at the moment and need to run a few errands that would go smoother if you had some wheels to get around. So, you call your longtime buddy Jp asking if you could borrow his car for the day to get around some errands.
Jp has car insurance, and because you two are close, he permits you to use his car for your errands. With his permission, it is legal to use his car without insurance in most cases. The reason is that insurance follows the car and not the owner or driving it.
It gets tricky when we consider if Jp’s car insurance would cover you in a situation where you crashed his car and sustained a few injuries.
Whether his policy will cover you depends on multiple factors on what kind of policy he purchased, where the accident took place, and incidents surrounding the accident. However, in a typical situation, the liability portion of Jp’s policy should cover any injuries you sustained while using his car.
However, it doesn’t always work out this way. For example, some insurers will not cover anyone who is not listed as a driver under Jp’s car policy. So if you are a regular user of Jp’s car, the insurance company expects you to be listed on his policy.
Options For When You Borrow Someone’s Car
You can explore options as someone who regularly borrows your friend’s car and have no insurance. These include:
There is a clause called the “omnibus clause in the auto-insurance industry.”This clause provides coverage for vehicle users with the insured’s express or implied permission.
This clause considers family members, spouses, and children as permissive users. This means the insurer already expects that they will be regular vehicle users. Some states offer less coverage for permissive use drivers.
Close relations or guests who temporarily live with the insured can use their vehicle with their permission, except they are listed as a non-permissive use driver under their car policy.
Get Listed On Their Car Policy
Several insurers allow individuals to list more than one driver on a car policy. This is common with spouses, children, or family members who share a vehicle.
Even if your friend has given you express permission to use their car, it is better to go further and have them list you as a driver under their car policy. This way, you can enjoy full coverage under that policy. This is especially useful if you borrow the car frequently or for long periods.
Purchase Non-Owner Car Insurance
Non-owner car insurance is a policy that allows you to purchase car insurance even when you don’t have a car. This policy is ideal for anyone who frequently rents or borrows a car. It can also be a lifesaver doe anyone who needs to provide proof of car insurance (for instance, filing an SR-22 form).
The great thing about this policy is that it provides coverage for anyone who sustains any damage when you are behind the wheel.
Here’s a list of other things covered by non-owner car insurance:
- Bodily injuries caused to others in the form of medical bills
- Damages caused to others in the form of car repairs
- Legal defense if you are sued
Note that non-owner Insurance is a secondary policy; hence it only kicks in after your primary coverage has paid up. In this case, your friend’s insurance company is the primary insurer, and they will cover the liability up to their policy’s limit. Once their limit is maxed out, your policy will kick in and cover the damages up to your limit. Any balance left will be covered by you and your friend out of pocket.
What Your Non-Owner Policy Won’t Cover
A non-owners policy is not as comprehensive as a regular car policy, so it is expected that your policy will not cover some things. Some of these include:
- Damage to the Car You’re Driving – this car insurance policy doesn’t have collision and comprehensive coverage like regular car policies.
- Personal injuries – a regular non-owner insurance policy does not cover any bodily injuries you may sustain. Therefore, you will have to add medical payment coverage to your policy.
- Other drivers – unlike regular policies, non-owner policies do not cover other drivers such as spouses and family members. They are specific to you.
- Business Drivers – business use is a common exclusion for most non-owner policies.
- Personal property – any personal property lost or damaged in a car is not covered by auto insurance. However, a separate policy such as homeowner’s or renters’ policy offers coverage for such scenarios.
Scope of Coverage for Non-owner Car Insurance
|What is Covered||What Isn’t Covered|
|Body injuries by others||Damage to the car you drove|
|Damages to vehicles of others||Personal injuries you sustained|
|Legal defense||Other drivers related to you|
It can be tricky dealing with insurance and state laws, but this doesn’t have to be the case every time. Legally, you can drive your friend’s car even when you don’t have insurance; all you need is their permission.
You can also get listed under their policy if you borrow their car frequently. However, in our opinion, the best option is to purchase a non-owner car insurance policy. This way, you can save you and your friend the stress that comes with having an accident in their vehicle.