UPDATED: Mar 12, 2020
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Most people know that if they are going to drive in the United States, they will have to have some form of insurance, typically at least the state minimum depending on where they live. Other people, including those that own a car but can no longer drive. As well as some that own a car that will be driven by another person, may want to carry insurance on that vehicle either because they are still responsible for the car or because they are not confident that the person driving it will get the proper insurance. There are some limits to getting insurance without a license for a car if you do not already have insurance, but it can be done.
When Non-Drivers Still Own a Vehicle
Owning, driving, and insuring a vehicle are three separate considerations. You can own a car but never expect to drive it for several reasons:
- You are disabled and will no longer be physically able to drive the car on either a permanent or temporary basis.
- You no longer have a driver’s license but still want to maintain the title to the car that is in your name.
- The person that you are allowing to drive your car cannot title the car in his or her own name for legal reasons.
- You want to maintain legal control over the car and the insurance coverage until the designated driver is of a certain age or has met certain requirements.
- Your own license has been suspended or revoked for some reason.
In the case of the license suspension, you may be required to get insurance and maintain an SR-22 filing before you can get your license back. You may have to show paperwork that you are in this process before the insurer will write your coverage. Some insurance companies will not cover you until your license is back in good standing, so you always have to shop around to find the best deal for your situation. It is difficult to get auto insurance without a license but it is not impossible.
When a Titled, Non-Driver Lives with the Designated Driver
Retaining the title to the car means that you are still legally liable for anything that happens with that car. It must be covered by insurance, which should cover not only the vehicle but the driver as well. Since that will not be you, it will be the primary person that you list, and the insurance rate will be based on their factors, including gender, age, and driving history, rather than on your own. If you share an address with that person, you may be considered a potential driver, and that can increase your premium because it will cover two drivers rather than one. You may be able to have that waived, however, if:
- You can prove that you would be physically incapable of driving the vehicle.
- You provide information about why you cannot drive and why the car is still titled in your name.
The Benefits of Persistence and Shopping Around for Insurance Coverage
If you merely limited your search to just one place, you might have walked away thinking that you cannot get cheap auto insurance without a driver’s license. There are a number of websites that lead off with this statement purely so that you will click through and learn that you can in fact get insurance but “only” through a select few companies. This is not as true as they would lead you to believe, so always do careful and thorough research, not only in terms of finding the coverage that you need but for pricing as well. To get the best possible quote:
- Always explain your personal situation right away.
- Provide any documentation that would support your claim, especially if you are permanently disabled but still plan to maintain legal ownership of your vehicle. This is common when one family member would like for people to come and run errands for them but do not want to just hand over their car.
- Always choose the designated driver that will give you a fair premium, but do not lie. It will not do you any good to list one person if they only drive you a few times a year and someone else drives the rest of the time.
- If your license has been suspended and you are looking for insurance to be able to get it returned to you, make sure the agent knows this up front. They can give you the advice that you need to not only get the best insurance from a legal standpoint but may also be able to make the process easier for you as well.
Other Things to Consider
Insurance is very complex, especially when you consider the various laws of each state. Almost every state requires some form of insurance on all drivers and/or car owners. The exceptions are Virginia, which allows drivers to pay a fee to the state instead of having personal auto insurance, and New Hampshire and Mississippi, which allow drivers to opt for cash bonds instead of insurance coverage as well. In every other state, you must carry at least state minimum insurance, which includes coverage for injury and property damage to others. Additional coverage, which will cover your own losses and provides additional services such as towing or car rental assistance, can also be selected at a higher cost.
Getting the right level of coverage at a price that you can actually afford is very important, especially considering the high cost of replacing vehicles these days. Medical payments for injuries during an accident can also be quite high, so that is another important consideration.
While it may seem that insurance is expensive, it is not as expensive as the cost of fines, court costs, and other legal issues that can arise if you do not have insurance even on a car that you are no longer able to drive. If you are going to own a car, it is always best to carry insurance, driver’s license or not. Your best bet is to enter your zip code and see if one of the companies has an option for no license insurance.