How to get car insurance with no license

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Buying a car insurance policy when you do not have a valid driver’s license may seem pointless. After all, many drivers may think the only reason a driver needs auto insurance is if they have a valid license. However, that is not always the case.

You can, and perhaps may need to have car insurance if you do not have a valid driver’s license, although in many cases, finding an insurance carrier to cover you with no license insurance will be a little harder than normal. One of the first things an insurance company will typically request when you are inquiring about purchasing an auto policy is your driver’s license number, and if you do not have one, it can make the situation more challenging for the carrier and for you.

However, purchasing car insurance without a license is possible, and even necessary, in certain situations.

Reasons to buy car insurance without a license

We know it sounds odd to suggest someone who is not getting behind the wheel of a vehicle would need auto insurance, but there are scenarios where having a policy without a license may be in your best interests. You may want to consider buying a no license auto insurance policy if the following situations apply to you:

Health reasons prevent you from driving

If you have a health condition that prevents you from driving, you may still want to consider protection, even if you will not be driving your vehicle for the time being. If you are putting your car in storage for a while and your license expires while you recover, you may still want car insurance to protect you and your vehicle in the case that anything were to happen to your car while in storage.

You may also want to keep an auto insurance policy if you think you may drive again in the future to avoid a lapse in coverage, which could make your rate higher when you need insurance again. Keeping cheap car insurance rates may be much more difficult if your car insurance lapses.

You are being driven to and from appointments, work or anywhere else

If you are a senior who has lost your license or is not comfortable driving, you might have a younger relative or caregiver take over as your chauffeur.

Even if you are not the main driver for your car, you still need auto insurance to cover your vehicle. Because the average car insurance cost increases with age, it may be cheaper to let someone else be the primary driver on a vehicle in your name. However, listing another person as the vehicle’s primary driver will not always be an option unless the person who drives you is a part of your household.

You are a student driver or only hold a provisional license

Teen drivers with a learner’s permit need to have auto insurance, even though they are not technically licensed. Student drivers usually learn to drive on their parent’s vehicle, which hopefully is already insured. However, parents should consider adding their student driver to their auto insurance policy as a provisional driver.

You do not drive, but your student driver does

Say you purchase a car for your teen’s 16th birthday when they get a driver’s license. Even if you aren’t driving the vehicle, the car will still need to be insured. In almost every state, you will not be able to register the car with the department of motor vehicles unless you can show proof of insurance first. And if your teenager is not old enough to be on their own policy, they would need to be listed as a driver on the policy of someone age 18 or older. Adding a teen to your policy can increase your rates significantly, so you may want to shop around and compare car insurance quotes to see which company offers you the lowest rate.

You own a vintage vehicle that you do not drive

If you purchase a vintage car that sits in your garage, you still need to have insurance on it if you want to be financially protected against damage or theft. Even if you have no intention of getting behind the wheel, you may want to purchase a policy that includes optional comprehensive auto to cover non-collision situations, including theft and vandalism. If you don’t drive this vehicle, it may make more sense to cover potential losses on the vehicle, like a tree falling on the garage and smashing the windshield, rather than purchasing collision insurance for accidents.

Your license is suspended

If you get charged with a DUI, or have a messy driving record, it is possible that your license could get suspended. If that is the case, you will not be able to get it back until you have shown proof of financial responsibility with an SR-22 certificate. An SR-22 is not actually insurance but is a certificate that proves to the court that you have the minimum amount of liability insurance required by your state.

How to buy car insurance without a license

It is possible to buy auto insurance as an unlicensed driver. However, note that many insurance companies do not offer insurance for unlicensed drivers or require extra steps if they do. Here are some tips to help you get started, although your best bet is to speak with a licensed insurance agent.

Ask about an SR-22 certificate

If your license is suspended, you may need to file an SR-22 form or the equivalent in your state. An SR-22 certificate is proof of liability insurance that is required for drivers labeled “high-risk.” Although not every auto insurer offers it, you may want to research which carriers accept SR-22s if you are required to get one. This could be valuable if you are trying to buy car insurance when you do not have a license because you would be labeled a high-risk driver under this category.

Buy a policy with someone else as a listed driver

A primary driver is the person who is the owner of the vehicle or a joint owner of a vehicle who drives the car the most.

If you own a car but don’t drive it, such as in a chauffeur situation, you may be able to list someone else as the primary driver. Some insurance companies might require that the driver is part of your household, but speak with a licensed agent at your company to determine its requirements. You’ll need the person’s identifying information and driver’s license number, but the car owner must also be listed on the policy.

List yourself as an excluded driver on the policy

An excluded driver is someone that your auto insurance will not cover. For example, if you have been listed on the insurance policy before but no longer wish to be listed, you can be excluded from the policy by asking the insurer to exclude yourself, although not all insurance providers allow excluded drivers.

If you do not have a valid driver’s license, it can be difficult to purchase auto insurance. However, you may be able to get coverage if you include someone else as the primary driver and list yourself as an excluded driver on the policy.

You can add yourself as an excluded driver on the policy by informing your auto insurer that you would like to exclude yourself from the policy and add someone else as the primary driver.

Parked car coverage

If you plan to park your car somewhere for a period of time, you may want to add parked car coverage. Leaving your vehicle for an extended period without supervision can be risky, especially if there isn’t a valet or security guard on-site to watch your car.

By adding parked car coverage or obtaining optional comprehensive coverage, you will be protected if your vehicle is stolen, catches on fire, flooded or damaged by a covered incident.

How to buy a car without a license

Technically, you can buy a vehicle without a driver’s license, but it won’t be easy. It’s a whole lot less strenuous of a process to buy a car if you do have a license, but you don’t have to have one to do it. The parameters in which this can happen will depend on the auto dealership’s rules. You may need to show immediate proof of insurance for the deal to be closed. You will not even be allowed to test drive the vehicle without proof of a license and insurance. There are ways to buy cars without a license, though, and you will have to ask around to find out what they are in your area.

However, a licensed driver must drive the vehicle off the lot.

Frequently asked questions

Can you buy car insurance with a suspended license?

Yes, certain car insurance options will be available to you with a suspended license. You will probably need to have your insurer file an SR-22 certificate or equivalent in your state to get your license reinstated. SR-22s are a requirement for high-risk drivers that proves they carry the minimum required amount of liability insurance in their state.

Should I have insurance if I have a car but not a license?

Yes, any vehicle you own that will be driven must be insured, even if you don’t have a valid driver’s license. That’s a legal requirement in almost every state.

How much car insurance do I need?

Almost every state has a minimum amount of car insurance coverage that all drivers are required to carry. Most states require drivers to carry bodily injury liability coverage and property damage liability coverage. Some states also require drivers to have uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, and/or personal injury protection (PIP). Before you purchase auto insurance, make sure you know what your state requires and what additional coverage you may want to purchase to protect your finances. Regardless of your state’s minimum requirements, most insurance experts recommend purchasing full coverage car insurance. Although full coverage insurance rates are higher, it provides you more financial protection in the event of a covered loss.

Written by
Lizzie Nealon
Insurance Writer
Lizzie Nealon is an insurance writer for Bankrate. Her favorite part of the job is making home, auto and life insurance digestible for readers so they can prepare for the future.
Edited by
Insurance Editor
Reviewed by
Director of corporate communications, Insurance Information Institute