State law requires all automobile owners to obtain liability insurance, which provides protection from claims that arise from injuries to another person or their property. A non-owners auto policy provides liability protection if you are involved in an accident while driving a car that doesn’t belong to you. The car owner’s insurance will pay for any expenses related to the crash first, but if the owner doesn’t have enough coverage, your non-owners policy will pay the remaining amount. For example, if you are in an accident and the vehicle owner’s liability limit is $10,000 and you cause $20,000 in property damage, then your non-owners policy will cover the remaining $10,000. A non-owners policy does not provide comprehensive collision coverage, towing reimbursement or rental reimbursement. Residents of North Carolina who don’t own an automobile are not legally required to obtain a non-owners auto insurance policy, but you will need proof of insurance if you want to get an unrestricted driver’s license in the state. If you do not obtain a non-owners policy, the North Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles will place a restriction on your license that allows you to only drive fleet vehicles, which are automobiles that are owned or leased by a business or government agency.
If you live in North Carolina and don’t own a vehicle or home, you may still need insurance coverage in the form of a non-owners insurance policy. There are two types of non-owners policies: a non-owners auto insurance policy and a non-owners home insurance policy, also known as a renter’s insurance policy. Both of these policies provide protection for you and your belongings in the event of an accident or loss.
Non-Owners Auto Insurance
Non-Owners Auto Insurance and Rental Vehicles
North Carolina law requires anyone who rents an automobile to be covered by an auto insurance policy. Most rental car companies offer the coverage to renters. However, if you use rental cars frequently, then obtaining your non-owners insurance policy may be more cost effective than paying the rental company for coverage.
Non-Owners Home Insurance
Even if you don’t own your home and are renting a house, condo or apartment, it’s still important to have insurance for your belongings in case of a loss, such as a fire or burglary. A landlord’s or leasing company’s insurance policy only covers the cost of repairing or replacing the actual rental structure, which is why it’s important for you to have your own non-owners or renter’s insurance policy. A renter’s insurance policy protects the belongings in your rental property from losses, such as theft, fire, vandalism or damage from lightning, wind or accidental water discharge (for instance, when a pipe bursts). It also provides personal liability protection if someone is injured at your place. If a loss occurs or if a guest sustains an injury on your property, the insurance company will pay the cost of replacing your property, cover the injured party’s medical bills and may even pay your legal bills if the injury results in legal action.
Obtaining a Non-Owners Insurance Policy
In North Carolina, you can get a non-owners insurance policy through an independent insurance agent who will compare the rates of several companies to find you the best deal, or you can contact an insurance company directly via the web or phone to obtain coverage. If you want both a non-owners auto insurance policy and a renter’s policy, be sure to mention this to the company or agent, since you may be eligible for a discount if you bundle the two polices together.
The Cost of a Non-Owners Insurance Policy
A non-owners auto insurance policy is usually about half the cost of a regular auto insurance policy, but rates vary based on how much coverage you want, your driving record and other factors. At the time of publication, a renter’s insurance policy costs an average of $12 per month for about $30,000 of property coverage and $100,000 in liability coverage, according to the Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers of America. Like non-owners auto insurance, rates for renter’s insurance vary based on the amount of coverage you need. An insurance agent or company can help you determine the right amount of coverage you need for both types of policies.
- North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles: Getting a License or Learner Permit, Steps — Step 2, Required Documents, Proof of Liability Insurance — Document Examples
- Insure.com: Car Insurance for Drivers Who Don't Own Vehicles
- Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers of America; New National Survey Finds Nearly Two-Thirds of U.S. Renters Living Without Renters Insurance; August 2011
- Photo Credit Creatas/Creatas/Getty Images
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