Why would you need car insurance if you don’t have a license? Legally, you don’t need a driver’s license to purchase a car. You might buy a car to give as a gift and want to insure it in the meantime. Or you might lose your license for any one of a number of reasons, but still have a car under your name. Getting car insurance even when you don’t have a license protects your investment if it’s damaged or stolen.
But it’s not easy to buy insurance without a driver’s license number. Insurers use the number to check your driving history and assess whether you’re a high-risk driver. They also worry about whether they’ll be stuck paying bills for an accident if you decide to drive unlicensed. Because of this added risk, you might have to look beyond big-name insurance companies. A non-standard insurer may be willing to take you on.
Who Needs Car Insurance Without a License?
Here are some cases that might require you to have car insurance, even if you don’t have a driver’s license.
You need a chauffeur to drive you: Maybe you can’t renew your license because of health conditions. But, you still want to maintain the car’s title in your name while a driver takes you where you need to go. If you get the right policy, even though a different person than you will be driving, the insurance will cover accidents and injuries. This is because insurance policies follow the car, not the driver. Having a chauffeur is different from having someone in your household drive you around, which may not require you to have insurance (more about that later on).
All states require you to show you can take financial responsibility for damages if an accident happens in a car that you own. That’s because accidents can cost a king’s ransom. Two-car fender benders cost an average of $9,000. And if there are injuries? That’s an average of $23,000 per injured person. If someone dies, those averages reach $1.66 million.
You have teen drivers: If you're a parent, you might buy a car for your teen but keep legal control of it until your child reaches a certain age.
You own a vintage car: You can insure your collector or high-end car against theft.
You have a provisional license: A few states require you to get a learner’s permit even as an adult before you can apply for your license. Some companies let you insure your vehicle if you have a provisional license and are trying to get a driver’s license.
You want to avoid a coverage lapse: These can increase your rates when you buy insurance again.
Your license was suspended or revoked: The state or court might mandate an SR-22 or FR-44 filing to get your license back if it was suspended. These documents prove you have the insurance coverage required by law in your state. If your license was revoked, you still might want “parked car” insurance because a car is a hefty investment. It makes sense to protect it while it’s under your care.
How Can You Get Car Insurance Without a License?
Here are the main ways to get car insurance if you don’t have a driver’s license:
Name a Licensed Primary Driver
You can add someone to your policy if they live at your address, have a valid license, and are related to you. You may even be able to share a policy with a licensed roommate. Some providers will give you car insurance if you name the licensed individual as the primary driver. Others will also want you to list yourself as an excluded driver. This way, if you cause an accident behind the wheel, the insurance company isn’t liable.
You typically can’t add someone who doesn’t live with you and isn’t related to you to your policy. For family members living at different addresses, it’s best to call the insurer to see what’s allowed.
Make a Licensed Driver the Co-Owner
Adding someone else with a license to your vehicle title is a good solution for a paid-off car. Otherwise, most lenders hold the title until the loan is paid in full. They may require you to get their permission to add a co-owner to the title. Even if your lender allows this, some insurance companies only give insurance to the holder of the car loan.
Get a Parked Car Policy
If your car is going to stay in a garage or storage space, you might be able to drop liability and collision coverage while keeping only comprehensive coverage. This coverage insures against theft, fire, and other dangers that might happen to a car kept in storage. However, you may not be able to make this change if you’re still financing your car. Lenders might ask you to carry certain coverages.
Which Companies Offer Car Insurance Without a License?
We called customer service at five national insurers. State Farm and Liberty Mutual told us we would need a valid driver’s license to get car insurance under various scenarios. Progressive and Nationwide had some options. They said they would, for instance, be able to provide us with car insurance for an aging parent without a license if someone else was listed as an additional driver on the policy. Allstate directed us to speak with local agents to discuss options, but confirmed that we couldn’t get car insurance with only a provisional license.
It’s best to call insurers directly to see whether they allow for insurance in your situation. You won’t be able to get accurate quotes online without a driver’s license number.
If you’re having trouble finding insurance with national companies, it’s worth looking at local or smaller agencies that offer non-standard car insurance. They may have more flexibility than traditional insurers and be more willing to consider high-risk drivers.
Buying a Car Without a License
Are you thinking about buying car insurance because you’ll be buying a car soon? If you don’t have a license right now, here’s what you should do before heading out to car dealerships:
Step 1: Call your local department of motor vehicles to verify what documents you’ll need to buy a car without a license.
Step 2: Call auto insurers to make sure you’ll get insurance and to find out what they require.
Step 3: Call your local dealership and let them know you’re interested in buying a car without a license. They might have you work with the sales manager for your purchase.
The Bottom Line
Getting car insurance without a license isn’t impossible. But, you might have to contact a few insurance companies before finding one that’ll work with you. If you have trouble with national insurers, small or local insurers specializing in non-standard insurance might be more open to helping.