Rachel Bodine graduated from college with a BA in English. She has since worked as a Feature Writer in the insurance industry and gained a deep knowledge of state and countrywide insurance laws and rates. Her research and writing focus on helping readers understand their insurance coverage and how to find savings. Her expert advice on insurance has been featured on sites like PhotoEnforced, All...

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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Reviewed by Jeffrey Johnson
Insurance Lawyer Jeffrey Johnson

UPDATED: Mar 16, 2022

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Just the Basics

  • In most states, there are no laws that require car insurance and registration to be under the same name
  • Many car insurance companies will provide you with an insurance policy even if it’s for a car that’s registered in someone else’s name
  • Depending on your situation, you may need to be listed on an insurance policy along with the registered driver

Does your car insurance and registration have to be under the same name? In many cases, no.

Whether you want to buy insurance for a family member or are looking for car insurance coverage that applies to you if you borrow a friend’s vehicle, there are plenty of situations where registration and insurance for a car could be under different names. Although some insurance companies may refuse to insure a car that doesn’t have your name on the registration, many others are used to working with people in your situation.

With this article, we’ll take a look at when insurance companies will cover a vehicle if the registration is under a different name, so you can find the best coverage available in your area. We’ll also walk you through some common situations where a car’s insurance and registration could be under different names.

Do car insurance and registration have to be under the same name?

There are a number of situations where someone may want to obtain insurance for a car that’s registered under someone else’s name. Maybe you’re a young driver looking to purchase insurance for a car that you drive but your parent or guardian owns. Or you could be looking for temporary insurance coverage for a caregiver or visiting relative who frequently borrows your vehicle.

In nearly all states, there is no law that requires the insurance and registration for a car to have the same driver’s name. That said, individual car insurance companies may refuse to cover a car that’s not registered to the same driver that’s purchasing the insurance policy. The one exception is the state of New York, where the name on a car insurance policy needs to be the same as the name on the car registration.

If you’re trying to obtain coverage so another member of your household, such as your spouse or child, can drive a car registered in your name, you may be able to add them to your existing insurance policy. In some cases, you may need to add the other member of your household to your vehicle’s registration, meaning you’d both be registered drivers of the vehicle.

Will insurance companies cover your vehicle if it’s registered in someone else’s name?

Many car insurance companies will cover your vehicle if it’s registered in someone else’s name. Insurance companies may ask to contact the registered owner of the car for their information and approval, but only you will need to be listed on the insurance policy once it’s set up.

According to Fox Business, an insurance company may refuse to insure a car that’s not in your name if you have a driving record that shows DUIs or accidents where you were responsible. Insurance companies may also refuse to cover you if you’ve had gaps in your coverage history.

Some insurance companies may refuse to cover your vehicle if it’s registered in someone else’s name. This can be because of your specific arrangement with the vehicle’s registered owner or because of a general policy the insurance company has. That said, you should be able to find multiple insurance companies in your area that will offer you a policy — as long as you don’t have any serious violations or other red flags on your driving record.

You might also want to consider having both yourself and the vehicle’s registered owner listed on the insurance policy as drivers. This can make it easier to secure a policy. Depending on your relationship to the vehicle’s owner, it may even make sense to update the title to a car so that both of you are listed as owners.

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Can you purchase car insurance for someone else’s vehicle?

Yes, there are a number of situations where it makes sense to purchase car insurance for someone else’s vehicle. For example, if you’re a parent or guardian and your college-aged child owns their own car but has left it at home while they’re away at an out-of-state school, your insurance company may be able to help you purchase an insurance policy for the parked or stored car.

Here are a few other situations where it might make sense to purchase insurance for someone else’s vehicle:

  • If you frequently borrow a car owned by another member of your household
  • If you have a teen driver in your household who owns their own car
  • If you are a caregiver who drives someone else’s car as part of your job

In all of these cases, you may also have the option of being added to or adding someone else to a shared insurance policy. But you may find that the most affordable or simplest option for you is to purchase car insurance that covers a vehicle owned by someone else.

What is non-owner car insurance?

Non-owner car insurance is a form of coverage intended for drivers who don’t own cars but frequently rent or borrow vehicles. In terms of what it covers, non-owner car insurance is similar to liability coverage. Here’s an overview of what non-owner car insurance protects you from:

  • Damage to other drivers as the result of a car accident (medical expenses)
  • Damage to property as the result of a car accident (anything from a broken fence to a collision with another car)
  • Legal expenses in the event that you’re sued for causing an accident

In general, non-owner car insurance is good to have if you frequently rent, borrow, or share cars. It’s not a perfect substitute for full-coverage car insurance (which is comprehensive, collision, and liability coverage), but it typically costs only a few hundred dollars annually, provides basic liability protection, and helps you avoid a lapse in your insurance history. Many insurance companies, including GEICO and Progressive, can offer you long-term or temporary non-owner car insurance.

You should also know that non-owner car insurance typically doesn’t cover damage to the car you drive. In other words, if you get into an accident while driving a friend or family member’s car, they (or you) may have to pay for repairs out of pocket. Likewise, non-owner insurance doesn’t cover driving for business purposes, so it’s not the best choice if you’re renting or borrowing a car as part of a job.

What to Remember About Having Car Insurance and Registration Under the Same Name

  • Most states allow a car’s insurance and registration to be under different names. Not all insurance companies will offer you a policy if you’re not the registered owner of a car, but many others will be prepared to give you coverage
  • You can purchase an insurance policy for another member of your household, but you may need to be listed on the policy alongside the primary driver of the vehicle
  • Non-owner car insurance might be a good option for you if you frequently rent, borrow, or share vehicles that you don’t own