Non-owner car insurance is a form of liability coverage that protects you if you get into an accident while driving someone else’s car. In Rhode Island, non-owner insurance can pay for injuries and property damage that you cause others, but it won’t pay for damage to the borrowed car or your medical expenses. It’s only used as secondary coverage to pay for damages above and beyond what is covered by the borrowed car’s insurance policy.
What non-owner car insurance covers in Rhode Island
A non-owner car insurance policy usually provides minimum liability coverage. Rhode Island's minimum liability coverage is typically 25/50/25. Additional coverage—like collision, comprehensive, roadside assistance, towing, and rental reimbursement—is not available with non-owner car insurance policies because there isn’t a specific vehicle for the policy to insure.
Non-owner car insurance won’t cover repairs to the borrowed car after an accident – that would be collision or comprehensive coverage. But you may be able to add uninsured/underinsured motorist protection or personal injury protection to a non-owner policy. You’ll just have to ask about these coverage options when requesting quotes.
Who needs non-owner car insurance in Rhode Island?
You may need a non-owner policy if you don’t own a car and you:
- Want to avoid a lapse in coverage. Canceling your car insurance policy creates a lapse in your insurance history, even if you don’t have a car to cover. If you change to a non-owner policy instead of canceling, you can avoid lapses and be protected if you borrow a car.
- Are court-ordered to maintain insurance. If you’ve had major traffic violations, you may be required to maintain proof of insurance, even if you don’t own a car. This is common if you have been convicted of driving without insurance or had a DUI/DWI.
- Rent cars regularly. A non-owner policy may be cheaper than paying for liability coverage from the rental company. Not all non-owner policies extend coverage to rental cars, though, so be sure to confirm your policy covers rentals.
- Borrow cars regularly. Non-owner insurance can supplement the owner’s policy after an accident. If damages exceed the owner’s limits, your non-owner policy will kick in as secondary coverage, so you don’t have to cover the costs out of pocket.
You may NOT need a non-owner policy if you:
- Own a car. In Rhode Island, you’re required to carry liability coverage if you own a car. You may also want to consider collision, comprehensive, and other coverage types, like MedPay, gap insurance, or roadside assistance.
- Borrow the same car regularly. If you have regular access to the same car, you should be listed on the owner’s policy. If your spouse, parents, siblings, children, family members, friends, neighbors, etc. own a car that you use often, you should be a listed driver.
- Cannot get a valid driver’s license. If you don’t have a valid driver’s license and cannot provide a valid driver’s license number, you won’t be able to finalize a policy.
- Use a borrowed car for work. A commercial non-owner policy might be better suited to this situation. If you drive a company car, the vehicle likely has enough coverage. You’ll want to confirm primary coverage before making a decision about a secondary non-owner policy.
How to get non-owner car insurance in Rhode Island
To purchase a non-owner car insurance policy, you’ll have to speak with an agent on the phone or in person. Not all insurance companies offer non-owner policies, and those that do have them don’t give online quotes.
To purchase a non-owner policy, you’ll need your driver’s license number and a credit or debit card. It’s also helpful to have a summary of your driving history, such as tickets, accidents, and license suspension information, so you can get the most accurate quote. In most cases, you can get proof of insurance the same day, and you’re covered as soon as your payment goes through. Non-owner coverage may not be as easy to find as traditional policies, but all of following insurance companies offer non-owner insurance in Rhode Island.
Rhode Island Insurance Companies with Non-Owner Auto Insurance Policies
- Geico: (800) 207-7847
- State Farm: (800) 782-8332
- Nationwide: (877) 669-6877
Of the top 10 largest insurance companies in the U.S., only three offer non-owner policies in all 50 states – State Farm, Geico, and Nationwide. Geico is the only company that allows you to bundle a non-owner policy with homeowner’s or renter’s insurance for a discount. Some of the largest car insurance companies do not offer non-owner policies at all, like Allstate and Liberty Mutual. Others, like Progressive, only offer coverage to existing customers.
How much does non-owner car insurance cost in Rhode Island?
The average cost of a non-owner auto insurance policy in Rhode Island is $972 per year. For comparison, an owner’s policy with minimum liability coverage costs an average of $1,589 per year in Rhode Island. Your rate will change depending on the amount of liability coverage you want or if you want any additional coverage types, like uninsured motorist or personal injury protection.
Non-owner coverage is less expensive than policies covering a vehicle, but since there’s no car to insure, you are the main factor that determines your rate. If you have less-than-perfect credit, a spotty driving record, or are a high-risk driver, you’re still going to pay more than someone with a clean driving history and excellent credit looking for the same policy. Other factors, like your age, marital status, and neighborhood are also considered.
Final thoughts for Rhode Island drivers
A non-owner car insurance policy can protect you from financial hardships if you cause an accident while driving a borrowed car. Even though car insurance usually follows the car and not the driver, you could still be on the hook for expenses if damages exceed the owner’s policy limits. Whether you’re a regular renter or need affordable coverage while you’re between vehicles to avoid a gap in your insurance history, the right non-owner policy can provide the coverage you need.
Like any other car insurance, you should compare quotes from at least three insurance companies to explore your options and make sure you get the best value.
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