Can you insure a car not in your name?

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Often, when you want to insure a car, it will be under your name. However, there are situations where you may need to insure a vehicle that isn’t registered to you. When that happens, can you get car insurance if the car is in someone else’s name?

You may be asking, “when can I insure a car I don’t own? And what does that process look like?” While this process can be a little more difficult than getting insurance for a car you own, it is possible.

Can you insure a car without the title being in your name?

Can you insure a car not in your name? Depending on the situation and the insurance company, yes, you can. However, the long answer is more complicated.

While an insurance company can legally (in many states, but not all) let you insure a vehicle you don’t own, providers are cautious about doing so. If you cannot show an “insurable interest” in the car, a provider might not let you take out a policy on it.

The idea is that if you don’t have a financial stake, of some sort, in the vehicle, you have no reason to insure it. In part, insurance companies are cautious about this to reduce the risks of fraud, but also to ensure that the policyholder will take care with the vehicle.

When can you insure a car without the title in your name?

Although insuring a car not in your name isn’t as common and might involve refusal or unwillingness from insurance companies to insure you, there are times when you can insure a car not in your name. These are:

  • If you have an insurable interest
  • When you add the vehicle owners name to your auto policy
  • If you take out a non-owner’s insurance policy
  • If you are added to the car owners auto insurance policy
  • If you share the same address as the vehicle owner

When you cannot insure a car without the title in your name

There are also several times when insuring a car not in your name isn’t possible at all:

  • Anytime that you don’t have an insurable interest in the vehicle
  • If you cannot legally drive in that state
  • When the car owner doesn’t give permission

How to insure a car you don’t own

When wondering, “how can I insure someone else’s car?”, there are a few possible approaches.

Live at the same address

If you share the same address with the owner of the car you would like to have an insurance policy on, it is relatively easy to be added to their insurance.

The vehicle owner must inform their insurance company that they would like your name added to their auto insurance policy. After this, you will be covered by that policy on that vehicle. This option comes with the advantages of ease and affordability. Still, the need to live at the same address can be a serious barrier.

Get added to the car owners auto insurance

While this overlaps with the previous method, you do not always have to live at the same address as the vehicle owner to be added to their policy.

It does become much more challenging to get onto a plan when you don’t share an address. However, depending on the insurance company and your situation, it may still be an option. This has all the previous method’s advantages without the downside of needing to live together.

Add the vehicle owner’s name to your auto policy

Another possibility is to add the vehicle owner’s name to your own auto insurance policy. This way, it is you who are insuring the vehicle and holding the plan. The insurance company will only allow this with the vehicle owner’s permission. This method can result in raised premiums but has the upside of being convenient.

Alternatives to insuring the vehicle

If the above options don’t work, consider some of the other possibilities.

Co-sign on the title as a co-owner

Depending on your relationship with the owner, you might be able to co-sign on the vehicle registration. In this case, you would be a legal owner of the vehicle and able to take out an insurance policy on it. With co-ownership of the car, you demonstrate an insurable interest in the vehicle. While this is excellent when it works, not everyone will be willing to share half-ownership of their car.

Find alternative transportation

Depending on where you live and what your needs are, public transportation may be an option. Even if there is not a viable public transit, taxis and other driving services may be able to fulfill your transportation needs.

While this option is perhaps the most accessible overall, it does involve regular expenses that may or may not be more per month than an auto insurance policy.

Have the car transferred to your name

Again, depending on your relationship with the car owner, you may be able to have them transfer the vehicle title to your name. When this happens, you become the legal owner of the car and can insure it.

Get a non-owner car insurance policy

A final alternative, and perhaps the most broadly applicable, is to get a non-owner car insurance policy. These policies follow the individual insured, instead of a specified vehicle, unlike most auto insurance.

With a non-owner plan, you will have basic liability coverage in any applicable vehicle that you drive. These policies do not offer collision or comprehensive coverage options.

Frequently asked questions

What is the best car insurance company?

The best car insurance company for you will depend on what kind of coverage you want, what type of vehicle you have, and how much you want to spend. Shopping around and comparing quotes between companies is the recommended way to get the best deal on your auto insurance. Please read our article on the Best Car Insurance Companies for 2020.

Who has the cheapest car insurance?

Much like trying to find the best company, finding the cheapest one will depend on your situation. For a look at which companies to consider, read our article on the Cheapest Car Insurance Companies for 2020.

How much car insurance do I need?

Most states have a legal minimum that you must start with. Beyond that, it can depend on factors such as what type of car you drive, how much you drive and how far you drive. You will need to determine the right amount of car insurance for you.

Can I add a car to my insurance that is not in my name?

Provided you can demonstrate for the insurance company that you have insurable interest in the vehicle, it is possible. Insurance companies tend to be strict about this, but some will allow it in certain situations. If you share an address with the car owner, the process can be much simpler.