There are a few situations where you might want to insure a vehicle that’s not in your name. For example, maybe you drive a family member’s car regularly, or maybe you received a car as a gift and it’s registered in the giver’s name. Insuring a vehicle in these circumstances can be tricky. We’ll walk through when you can and can’t insure a vehicle that’s in someone else’s name.
Can I Insure a Vehicle Not in My Name?
In most cases, you cannot insure a vehicle that is not titled and registered in your name. However, there are exceptions. To understand why, it helps to know a little about how insurance works.
What Insurable Interest Is and Why It Matters
When an auto insurance company writes a policy, it wants to know that the policyholder has a stake in keeping the vehicle safe and in good condition. This is known as insurable interest.1 It’s a core part of how auto insurance works. Normally, you can prove insurable interest easily by producing a title and registration for the vehicle in your name.
When someone files a claim, the insurance payout goes to the policyholder. So, let’s say a car insurance company allowed you to hold a policy for a car you didn’t own, like your friend’s car. If you hit a tree, you would get the insurance money, even though you have no financial stake in repairing your friend’s vehicle, or insurable interest in the vehicle. That’s why, in most cases, you cannot insure a car that’s not in your name.
Ways to Get Coverage for a Car You Don’t Own
If you’re trying to insure a vehicle in someone else’s name, you’re not out of luck. There are several ways you can get coverage.
- Co-titling: You can become a partial owner of the vehicle by adding your name to the car’s title. The exact process depends on which state you live in, but essentially, it involves co-applying with the owner by filling out paperwork at the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). Unfortunately, if the owner hasn’t paid off the car, applying for a co-title often isn’t an option. To know whether you’re eligible, contact the institution with which the owner financed the car. Keep in mind that the insurance premiums are likely to increase if you co-title a car. Also, some auto insurance providers don’t allow joint insurance unless you live with the policyholder.
- Adding another person to the policy: If you live with someone and drive their car frequently, they can (and should) add you to their auto insurance policy. Some auto insurance providers require policyholders to add their partners to the policies if they live together. If you get into an accident while driving your partner’s car and the insurance company discovers you’re living together, it could deny the claim.