Can I buy car insurance without a license?

Fact-checked with HomeInsurance.com

Having a driver’s license is an important part of qualifying for car insurance. Auto insurance companies use the license number to look up the driver’s history on the road and whether there are infractions that would be cause for concern. 

However, there are a few instances when it’s necessary to buy car insurance without a license.

It might seem like a strange situation—if the car owner doesn’t have a license, then presumably they will not be driving. So why would anyone need to buy car insurance without a license? And can you get insurance without a license?

One would be surprised by all of the reasons why non-drivers need auto insurance, but the lack of an active driver’s license is a significant hurdle to overcome when looking into insurance, and auto insurers will probably be nervous about insuring someone in these circumstances. Despite this, it is possible to get insurance without a license, and there are good reasons why people need auto insurance, even without the ability to drive legally. 

Why would someone without a license need car insurance? 

When an auto insurance company issues a policy, that policy covers the physical car and the person driving it. So,if a car owner has someone else driving their car, then insurance must be purchased before that car is on the road, even if the car owner doesn’t have a license themselves. 

There are a number of circumstances that require someone lacking a license to purchase insurance for the car they own. 

Here are a few of the common reasons:

  • Personal drivers: Many of us think of wealthy people when someone says, “personal driver”, but there are people who are elderly or living with disabilities that need this service. If a car owner has to get around for work or run errands but doesn’t have a license due to disability or age, they might hire someone to drive them. 
  • Learner’s permit:Provisional licenses, or learner’s permits, are common in many places around the country for people learning how to drive. If someone with a learner’s permit owns a car, they would usually join a parent’s insurance plan. Sometimes this isn’t possible, and the person will need to find their own insurance.
  • Vintage or collectible car: Not all cars are meant to be driven, but owners often desire auto insurance, especially if the car is a valuable collection piece. Although there is specialized insurance coverage available for these kinds of assets, some owners may prefer traditional auto insurance in case they decide the car should be taken out for a drive. 
  • Underage car owner: Anyone underage will probably have trouble getting car insurance by themselves. If an underage car owner needs insurance, they will need an adult to co-sign for them, even if the adult doesn’t have a license. Thus, the main person on the insurance plan may not have a license.

How can I buy car insurance without a license?

When applying for car insurance, one of the first things an auto insurer will ask for is the license number of the primary driver and any occasional drivers. 

The reason why insurance companies ask for this information is because they want to know the personal driving histories of the people who will use the insured car—and if insuring those drivers will be a high risk for the company to take on.

Although most insurers will be uncomfortable insuring a car whose owner has no license, there is no law against it. Ultimately, the insurer is interested in the car’s VIN (Vehicle Identification Number), which is available without a driver’s license. 

If the owner of the car is unlicensed, it is possible to use the license number of the people who will be driving the car instead of the owner. If it has the license number for the principal or primary driver, the insurance company can still get a good idea of the risk involved in insuring the vehicle based on the driving history associated with the given license number.

In this way, car insurance can be purchased by car owners without licenses. Although the car owner can’t drive legally, the policy can still be under their name. Everyone with a valid insurance policy can be listed as a primary driver. 

A common method for gaining car insurance without a license is to list the car owner as an excluded driver, meaning that although the car owner is listed on the insurance policy, they are prohibited from driving in the terms of coverage. 

Excluding drivers from a policy

An auto insurance company usually excludes a driver from a policy because someone who lives with the primary driver is deemed to be too high of a risk, and the insurance company wants to make sure that person is not covered under the insurance. 

An excluded driver will not be covered for liability or physical damage when driving a car covered under a policy that lists them as excluded. Thus, the insurance company is off the hook for any liability caused by that person. 

However, excluding a driver on a policy can also be used when the car owner wants to get their car insured even when they don’t have a license. 

If the unlicensed car owner excludes themselves from the policy, they may be eligible to receive auto insurance when they wouldn’t be able to otherwise. Using this alternative, other people with licenses can be listed as drivers on the policy, even if they do not own the car. 

The takeaway

Qualifying for auto insurance without a driver’s license is no simple task. If possible, it’s probably best to do so in-person. If it isn’t possible to visit the auto insurance company physically, a phone call might do the trick.

Due to the rarity of insuring unlicensed drivers, it probably isn’t a good idea to sign up for a policy online. The car owner will need to explain the situation and answer questions before the insurance agent will even consider a policy. 

There are plenty of valid reasons why someone would need auto insurance without having a license.Using alternatives like listing the car owner as an excluded driver can help break through the red tape and convince the insurance company to offer a policy when they wouldn’t usually agree to it. 

It may take a few calls to different insurers, but persistence will pay off. Even unlicensed car owners should be able to find an insurer who will provide coverage for the vehicle.

Julian Dossett

Julian is a freelance writer for Coverage.com, where he writes about auto and home insurance with an eye toward consumer advocacy. His work has appeared at The Simple Dollar, Bankrate, Reviews.com, Blockchain Beach and MSN.com. He’s currently based in New Mexico.

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