AutoInsurance.com
Published: February 1, 2022Last updated: July 13, 2022

Can You Get Auto Insurance Without a License?

It’s still possible to buy car insurance, but finding an insurance company will be more difficult.

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Unless you live in Virginia or New Hampshire, you must have insurance to register a motor vehicle. But what happens if you don’t have a driver’s license but own a car? Getting auto insurance under these circumstances is possible, but it might not be easy. Let’s look at the circumstances.

Can You Get Auto Insurance Without a License?

It is possible to get auto insurance even if you don’t have a driver’s license, but it may be more difficult. It is at the insurer’s discretion to underwrite a policy where they cannot assign risk to a named driver on the policy. If you don’t have a license, an insurance carrier may still write the policy but will exclude you from coverage, since you aren’t legally allowed to drive.

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It’s easier to get auto insurance if you can name a licensed driver on the policy so that the insurance company can adequately rate the risk.

When Will You Get Insurance Without a License?

There are several circumstances where you might need to buy insurance while you don’t have a license. These are some typical scenarios:

  • Older people who have aides to drive them around but need auto insurance for seniors
  • Someone who owns a classic car but doesn’t drive it
  • Someone with a learner’s permit buying their first car
  • A driver with a suspension due to a bad driving record whose car is still being driven by family members1

How to Get Auto Insurance for Unlicensed Drivers

If you lack a license simply because you no longer drive but still need auto insurance, you should buy a policy and ask to be excluded from it. Being an excluded driver means that you are not authorized to drive the car. If you drive the car and have an accident, there is no coverage.

You may need to show proof of insurance to reinstate your license. In situations like this, you’ll need to file an SR-22. An SR-22 is a certificate of financial responsibility that allows you to get and show proof of insurance to unsuspend your license.

How to Get Car Insurance With a Suspended License

If your license is suspended, you’ll need to reinstate it. To do so, you must show valid insurance. To get valid insurance, you’ll need to shop for a high-risk insurance carrier that will file an SR-22 with the DMV.2

How to Register a Car With No License

Even if you don’t have a license, you aren’t excused from properly registering a car with the state. In order to register a car with the state, you’ll need to meet certain requirements:

  1. Present the title. Assuming you’re the owner, your name should be on the title.
  2. Show a photo ID. This can be a state-issued ID or a passport.
  3. Present proof of insurance by either showing an insurance card or providing an SR-22.

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Call the DMV before you go to ensure you have all required documents to register the vehicle.

How to Buy a Car Without a License

A car owner doesn’t necessarily need to be a licensed driver, but it can make buying a car tricky. Here are some options:

  1. Find a private seller. The easiest way is to buy the car without financing from a private seller. Private sellers rarely check state requirements; they just want the car paid for and the title properly transferred. Buying a car from a dealership may be a bit more challenging.
  2. Get a co-owner. You could get a licensed driver to be the co-owner of the car.
  3. List a licensed driver on insurance. Naming a licensed driver on the insurance policy can satisfy the dealership’s requirement for licensing.
  4. Shop for auto loans that don’t require licenses. It is important to show a strong credit history that will reduce the risk to a lender who is concerned about whether you will repay the loan and take care of the car properly. The purchase will also require insurance, so shop around for an insurance agent who will insure a car of unlicensed owners.3

Why Car Insurance Companies Prefer Licensed Drivers

Insurance companies prefer to insure licensed drivers because they assess risk largely based on driving history. Driving history suggests the likelihood of claims to the insurance company. Auto insurance risk assessment combines driving history with a car’s risk based on safety features and accident history; that’s how insurance companies value cars and car insurance in general.

The insurance company uses the driver’s record and the car’s risk to establish a rate, also known as a premium. Without knowing who the primary driver on a vehicle will be, the insurance company must make assumptions about the risk it is insuring. Mitigating the unknown risk is why insurance companies prefer licensed drivers on insurance policies.

Recap

Getting auto insurance without a license is possible, but it may require a few extra steps. You may need to exclude yourself from the policy and name a licensed driver as the primary driver for the vehicle. Learn more about insurance coverage, liability coverage, and how you can receive compensation for repairs in our auto insurance FAQs.

Citations

  1. Can You Get Car Insurance Without a License? AARP – The Hartford Insurance. (2022).
    https://www.thehartford.com/aarp/car-insurance/car-insurance-no-license

  2. Can you get car insurance with a suspended license? Progressive. (2022).
    https://www.progressive.com/answers/car-insurance-with-suspended-license/

  3. Can I Buy a Car Without a Driver’s License? Experian. (2021, Feb 24).
    https://www.experian.com/blogs/ask-experian/can-i-buy-a-car-without-a-drivers-license/