Let’s say you were to go to a car dealership without your driver’s license. The dealer may legally sell you the car, but you wouldn’t be able to test drive or take it from the lot without your license. You would probably have another driver with you at that point. However, the car you just bought is legally yours, meaning that you can now get insurance coverage for it. Like any significant purchase, you’ll want to make sure that the investment you made on your vehicle is insured.
Insurance companies and the department of motor vehicles typically require a driver’s license number to identify your driving history and record. Without it, it’s usually more difficult to buy insurance from a company willing to cover you.
Since an insurance company doesn’t want to be charged with the high dues of an unlicensed driver, they often come prepared with policy options for customers who don’t own a vehicle. There are some non-standard options with additional steps. For cases such as these, it helps to look to smaller, more specialized insurance companies.
How exactly does car insurance with no license work?
The “specialized insurance companies” previously mentioned aren’t any of the big national names. Instead, regional car insurers are more open to taking on a high-risk driver with no license. Driving without a license is against state laws, so getting caught can stick the insurance company with hefty payments in your name. You still have the right and choice to insure your property.
First, let’s understand the types of insurance coverage that can be used for unlicensed drivers.
- Licensed primary driver. Naturally, not having a license exempts you from being the primary driver of your car insurance policy. It helps to name a licensed driver as the primary instead. The primary driver can be anyone with a license from your same address-family member, roommate, or friend.
- Unlicensed excluded driver. Insurance companies don’t condone unlicensed driving so they won’t cover anyone without a license behind the wheel. This is exactly what marking yourself as an excluded driver with the insurance company does. It covers your vehicle, but not when you are driving.
- Licensed co-owner. Adding the licensed driver as the co-owner to the vehicle will provide coverage for your vehicle when you are without a license. This coverage works similarly to having them as an insured primary driver.
- Parked car policy. If you’re keeping your car in storage or parking for the time being or until you get your license, then you may want to use a parked car policy from the insurance company. This offers comprehensive coverage should anything happen to the stationary vehicle. This is an especially good insurance policy to have on collectible or vintage cars.
What makes a primary driver on my car insurance policy?
Aside from having a valid driver’s license, a primary driver would be the driver who uses the car more often. When selecting a primary driver if you’re without a license, you should take into consideration their driving history and the risk they pose in the eyes of the insurance company. As previously mentioned, it helps when they share your address or household. That way, they may be covered by the same policy. “Primary driver” isn’t a legal term that refers to the owner of the vehicle but the driver who is covered while they are driving. An insurance company can’t enforce state laws, but they can encourage them.
Adding a primary driver to your policy is done through your insurance company. You’d just have to provide their driver’s license and tangible driving history. Some companies also allow for you to have excluded drivers. Again, they would still be allowed to drive the car, but they wouldn’t be covered whenever that may be. This also may save the policyholder some money.
When would I not have a driver’s license and buy car insurance?
Buying car insurance without a license can be a wise and economical decision. Under these policies, your car would be insured but not you as a driver. There are also a couple of cases where it would be the only and the best course of coverage.
You’ll consider it when:
- Underage driver. A 16 or 17-year-old may get a driver’s license. However, some insurance companies may have the age requirement of 18 to qualify for driver’s coverage. Some parents may also purchase a car for their new drivers before they get their license. At that time, multiple people, including an excluded and primary driver, may appear on the policy.
- Personal driver/chauffeur. Some drivers may not renew or get a license due to an inability or an increasing inability to drive safely. Those car owners may have a personal driver or chauffeur moving them from place to place. The best auto insurance is one that covers your vehicle while another driver is using it. The driver should be listed as the primary driver.
- Provisional license/permit. If you’re a new, young driver with a permit or provisional license, then the first policy you should be covered by is your parents’. If the car is your own, then you’d be able to take out a policy but must have someone over 18 on it until you turn that age.
- Suspended license. If your driver’s license was suspended or revoked, then an SR-22 or FR-44 is required (proof of insurance responsibility) to renew it. Auto coverage would still be required even if you no longer have a driver’s license. You’re still the owner of the car.
SR-22? What’s that, and how does it connect to car insurance without a license?
An SR-22 or FR-44 is a type of liability insurance that legally certifies that you are financially responsible for your vehicle’s coverage. It also satisfies the state’s minimum requirement for liability insurance. In most cases, an SR-22 is required to reinstate a suspended license. At the same time, it’s insurance for unlicensed drivers meant to pave the way towards getting a license. If you lose your driver’s license, you’ll either want your license reinstated or to continue your coverage. SR-22 can help you with both situations.
How would I be able to buy a car and car insurance without a license?
As stated before, there’s no law outright prohibiting the sale of a car to an unlicensed individual. The act of driving it would just be prohibited. Buying a car without a license and taking it home can be possible if you have a licensed driver take it from the lot for you. Prior to making the unlicensed car purchase, you’ll want to contact your local department of motor vehicles and inquire if there’s any other specific documentation you may need at the dealership.
Secondly, you’ll want to do the same with your insurance company-ask them if they too require anything for the car purchase. Lastly, you would call the dealership you’re purchasing from to make them aware that you may need assistance from a sales manager.
How to get insurance for your new car with no license is where the challenge is. The first thing to do is to stop looking to the bigger national insurance names for unlicensed coverage. Regional companies with non-household names tend to handle policies such as those previously mentioned, like excluded driver or co-owner coverage.
After comparing quotes from some of those companies, you’d be able to make an informed decision on which coverage would be the best for you. When the insurance company would ask for your license number, you would give them the info of whoever will be your primary or principal driver.
Here are some of the most important things to remember when insuring a car without a license.
Getting car insurance without a license has a couple of different policy names and coverage types. But they all have the same goal of insuring your vehicle but not yourself as the official driver.
When making the decision to exclude yourself from the policy or include another main driver, keep these final tips in mind:
- Pick a known primary driver. If you’re going to put an individual in charge of a car that you bought, then you’ll obviously not want them to be a stranger. It’s best to choose a family member, friend, significant other, or roommate as your primary driver.
- Look at insurance companies with high-risk policies. Some insurance companies may be reluctant to take on high-risk drivers like a DUI violater, suspended license, or a nonexistent license. Look locally as opposed to nationally for companies who specialize in high-risk insurance.
- Always be excluded as the driver of the vehicle. The point of unlicensed driver insurance is to insure the car or any other licensed individuals that drive it. Since you have no license, it wouldn’t be legal for you to be the legal driver of the vehicle.
- Make your primary driver a legal co-owner. Adding the licensed driver’s name to the vehicle deed is a smart move if you’re looking for an insured car and driver. This will also save you some money.
Of course, the cure-all to this problem would be to go and get your driver’s license. Whether you need to take a driving class or test, having a license is one of the most crucial things in buying auto insurance and is mandatory for driving.