What is non-owner car insurance?

You’re at a friend’s house for dinner and they’ve just run out of tomatoes and it’s a key ingredient for their recipe. You didn’t drive your car there, so you grab their car keys to pop out to the supermarket. A few blocks away, you just manage to swerve out of the way when someone drives out a side street without stopping or even looking in your direction. Luckily, everyone’s safe - but it sure gets you thinking. Do you need extra insurance to drive someone else’s car? And if you did get into an accident, whose insurance pays for it? Did you know there is a type of coverage called non-owner car insurance? But it’s not a mandatory coverage and it’s only useful for certain people.

Before we jump in, it’s important to remember that it’s illegal to drive without insurance whether the car you’re driving is yours, or it’s borrowed. In Canada, it’s the law that you must drive with a valid insurance policy to protect you, as well as everyone around you. Now let’s get into the details of what non-owned auto insurance is and look at different scenarios when you may need it.

What is non-owner car insurance?

Non-owner car insurance is just what it sounds like. It’s a type of car insurance coverage that people can purchase when they drive a car, but they don’t own one. It will protect you from the financial burden of having to pay out of pocket for injuries or property damage resulting from an at-fault crash. With a standard car insurance policy, the borrowed vehicle is usually covered as an extension of your policy. Where in the case of non-owner car insurance, it’s actually the person that is covered. Non-owner car insurance differs from province to province, so make sure to check out what the rules are where you live.

When do you need non-owner car insurance?

Here are some examples of when a non-owner policy would be needed:

  • Borrowing – you borrow someone else’s car(s) frequently (worth noting, if you are frequently borrowing the same car or it’s owned by someone you live with, you should be listed on their policy)
  • Rentals – you rent cars frequently. This is an alternate option to using the insurance policy available for purchase from the rental company
  • Car share services – if you use a car share service frequently, you can combine the built-in coverage offered with non-owner car insurance

When don’t you need non-owner car insurance?

  • The scenario at the beginning of the article is the perfect example of when you don’t need non-owner car insurance. You own a car and already have insurance. Your own car insurance will generally provide limited coverage when you borrow someone else's car or drive a rental. Grand Touring Solution® is another option you can look into if you’re renting.
  • You drive a company car, but only for business reasons. Because the vehicle belongs to the company, it should be covered through your employer's commercial auto insurance.
  • The car you borrow is insured and belongs to someone you live with. As long as you are listed on their policy, their insurance will cover you. But before you get behind the wheel, make sure they've added you to their policy.

How does it work if you have car insurance and someone else is using your car?

As long as it’s not a regular occurrence, it’s okay for someone to drive your car without non-owner car insurance. In the event of an accident and the driver of your car is deemed at fault, your insurance company will cover it.

TD Insurance offers extensive coverage options for all the above scenarios when non-owner car insurance isn’t necessary. You can get a quote online in just minutes or speak to an advisor to answer any questions you have.

So, next time someone runs out of tomatoes and the recipe calls for them – you can feel comfortable knowing you’re covered while also saving the day and finding the missing ingredient.