If you no longer drive or your license is suspended, you may be tempted to let your insurance slide and save a little money. If you own a vehicle that someone else is driving, however, you’re legally required to have car insurance in most states.
Getting insurance without a driver’s license can take more effort since many car insurance companies won’t sell a policy to a policyholder without a license. There are companies out there that will sell you a policy if you list yourself as an excluded driver and someone else, such as a spouse or adult child, as the primary driver.
Let’s examine the options available and learn how to get car insurance without a driver’s license.
Can you get car insurance without a license?
While you can get a car insurance policy without a driver’s license, not all insurers will offer insurance to unlicensed drivers. You may need to make an extra effort to obtain a car insurance quote and find a policy.
As you look for the best car insurance, you may notice that insurers usually ask for your driver’s license number before calculating your monthly cost. This is so they can check your driving history and see if you have any at-fault accidents or speeding tickets on your record.
The insurance company determines your rate based on your driving history and other factors such as age, gender, and where you live. If you don’t have a license, the insurer may ask for the license number of the person who will be driving the car the most — the primary driver — instead.
Using the primary driver’s information, the insurance company will base your rate on that person’s driving history instead of yours as the policyholder. If the primary driver has a bad driving record with a history of accidents or multiple speeding tickets, you may pay higher rates to insure your car.
If your driving record is less-than-stellar, you can list yourself as an excluded driver on the auto insurance policy. Being an excluded driver means that while you own the car, you don’t drive it, and your insurance carrier won't cover any damages if you get behind the wheel and have an accident.
Why you might need car insurance without a license
There are a few different reasons why you may need to explore buying car insurance without a license
Age or disability: If you own a car but no longer drive due to age or a medical condition, you may have a family member or caregiver who provides transportation using your vehicle. If You’re the car owner, even if someone else is driving you to or from appointments or errands, you’re still legally required to insure the vehicle.
Insuring a driver under 18: Minors cannot purchase car insurance since they cannot enter legally binding contracts. As their parent, you may need to be the policyholder and insure the car they drive, even if they bought the vehicle and you don’t drive it.
Being a new driver or working on a learner’s permit: If you have a learner’s permit, you must have insurance before you can practice driving a car. If you’re a new driver or reinstating a suspended license, you’ll likely need to provide proof of insurance coverage at the department of motor vehicles (DMV) before receiving a valid driver’s license. Even if you aren’t driving for a while, keeping car insurance on any vehicles in your name is a good idea since a lapse in coverage can cause extra headaches, and potentially higher car insurance rates, when you’re trying to get back on the road.
Someone else drives your car: If you own the vehicle but let your spouse, friend, or roommate use it, and that person doesn’t have car insurance, you need to maintain coverage on the vehicle. Without it, you risk paying for any damages or repairs out of pocket.
Custom or classic cars: If you own a classic or vintage car that isn’t your primary vehicle, you might be able to drop collision or medical coverage, but it’s still a good idea to have other types of insurance such as liability coverage. Some carriers offer specific classic car insurance or may allow you to keep only comprehensive coverage for non-accident damages.
WarningNote that a car’s age is usually insufficient to qualify for specialized classic car insurance. You may also need to limit the vehicle’s use, secure storage, and have a clean driving record before you’re eligible.
How to get car insurance as an unlicensed driver
If you don’t have a license, you can still request a quote from insurance providers, but you may need to do some extra work to find one who will help you.
Most insurance companies require your driver’s license number when using their online quote forms, so you may need to call insurance companies to compare rates and coverage options.
TipAlternatively, you could work with an insurance agent who is licensed with multiple companies (also known as an independent agent) and have them do the legwork for you.
According to The Hartford insurance company, while people without a driver’s license can still get car insurance, they may be flagged as high-risk drivers. Since your insurance rate is based partly on your driving history, you may face higher premium costs if you don’t have a license or have a suspended one.
As part of the quoting process, you’ll need to list the primary or principal driver, which should be the person(s) who drives the car the most. The primary driver must have a valid driver’s license or a learner’s permit.
The primary driver can be your spouse or child, or if you have a caregiver who drives you to and from medical appointments or helps you run errands, you can also list them as the primary driver. Remember that if your primary driver has a few dings on their driving history, you may pay more for car insurance premiums.
List yourself as an excluded driver
The insurance company you’re working with may want to list you as an excluded driver on the policy. Not all states allow policyholders to exclude drivers from coverage, but it may be worth checking to see if it's an option where you live.
As an excluded driver, your name will appear as specifically excluded on your policy, along with any conditions where the insurance company wouldn’t provide coverage. You will likely have to fill out a form and sign an endorsement to the policy confirming that you won't be covered if you drive the insured car. Although you cannot drive the vehicle as an excluded driver, you should still be covered if you’re a passenger in the car and there’s an accident.
Get parked car insurance
If you don’t drive your car regularly, and nobody else does either, it may be worth looking into parked car insurance.This type of coverage protects your vehicle from damage that might happen while the car is parked or in storage, such as theft and vandalism, fire, flooding, or falling objects.
Since no one is driving the car, the insurance company may be less worried about you as the policyholder not having a driver’s license and may provide a lower premium rate if the car is kept in a secured location.
These policies are usually less expensive than a traditional policy with liability and collision coverage, so it may be a good option if the car is rarely driven and can meet the policy requirements.
How to get car insurance with a suspended license
A license suspension is a temporary hold on your license that keeps you from driving legally. Getting car insurance with a suspended license may be more complicated than getting insurance without a driver’s license, but it's not impossible.
Suspensions can happen for several reasons, including driving recklessly, having multiple traffic tickets in a short period, failing to show proof of insurance, driving without insurance, and DUIs or DWIs. Depending on why your license was suspended, some auto insurance carriers may deny you coverage, especially if you have a history of dangerous driving.
You likely still need car insurance even if you have a suspended license. Preventing a gap in coverage can help ensure that you don’t have to pay higher insurance rates when your license is reinstated. Keeping a car insured may also be required by your lender or lease agreement, and you could receive fines for having a car registered without insurance.
Each state’s requirements are different, but to buy insurance with a suspended license, you may need to:
Obtain form SR-22: If you drove without the minimum required coverage, had too many tickets or accidents, or even failed to pay child support, among other things, you may have to request that your insurance company file an SR-22 form, or an FR-44 if you live in Florida or Virginia. SR-22s are a certificate of financial responsibility that your insurance company files with the state certifying that you carry the required minimum amount of liability insurance.
Call your insurance company and request the form if this is required to get your license reinstated. Not all insurance carriers will file SR-22s on your behalf, so if your current insurance company doesn’t, you may need to get a new policy with a company that does file SR-22s. If you don’t have car insurance, you’ll need to purchase a policy before you can get an SR-22.
WarningWhile you may see advertisements for SR-22 insurance, that isn’t actually a policy type. Instead, it’s a certificate filed by insurance companies with the state showing that you have the minimum coverage required by law.
Apply for a hardship or restricted license: There are some scenarios where you may be allowed to drive on a minimal basis with a revoked license. Generally, if you qualify for a restricted license, you may be allowed to drive to work or school, take your child to school, or drive to required medical care. The rules vary by state, and not everyone will qualify for a hardship license.
You may pay extra fees to get this license, have to obtain an SR-22 form, and agree to drive only during specific hours or along particular routes. Depending on the reason for the suspension, you may even be required (and have to pay) to install monitoring equipment like an ignition interlock device that will prevent your car from starting if you’ve been drinking or using drugs.
Shop around for the cheapest available insurance: Having your license suspended may mean you’re classified as a high-risk driver by your insurance company. High-risk drivers often pay some of the highest car insurance premiums and may be denied coverage by insurance companies. Shop around to find an insurance company that offers you the coverage you need at a reasonable price.
How do you get a driver’s license without a car?
You can get a driver’s license without owning a car by borrowing one from a friend or family member to take your road test. If you borrow a car for your test, it's best to have the owner go with you so that they can prove the vehicle is qualified for road testing by being insured and registered. You may be able to borrow a car from your driving school, but you generally cannot rent a vehicle to complete your test since a licensed driver must sign the rental agreement.
Do you need a license to get car insurance?
Although it may be more difficult, you don’t need a license to get car insurance. If you have a car that a spouse or child drives frequently but is registered in your name, you can list a primary driver other than yourself and exclude yourself from the policy altogether.
How do you get your license back?
The steps you need to take to get your license back depend on why your license was suspended. You may be required to attend a court hearing (for a DUI or DWI), pay a fee, take a class, and complete the license suspension period before applying to get your license back.
You also need to provide proof of insurance when reinstating your license and you may have to obtain form SR-22 from your insurance company declaring that you have the required minimum insurance.
Although getting car insurance without a license might seem like a lot of effort, remember that you are legally required to have auto insurance on a car you own, even if you don’t drive it. If you don’t maintain at least the minimum coverage necessary, in the event of an accident, you could face legal penalties, have your license suspended, or even have to pay out of pocket for all damages and repairs in an accident.
As you research your options, you may need to name someone else as the primary driver and be prepared to exclude yourself from the insurance policy. Research the available options and call various carriers to compare rates and coverages to ensure you’re getting what you need and protecting your financial future.
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