Does anyone have experience with non-owner insurance for test drive?

A family member is a first time buyer and never own a car, hence no car insurance. She has driver license and have rented car before.

Before COVID, IIRC, dealership don’t need to see proof of insurance, just valid driver license, to test drive a car. Now, dealerships are allowing potential buyer to drive the car without the sales associate, but they must see proof of insurance.

I heard about Non Owner Car insurance, such as this. I don’t have experience on this type of insurance.

Anyone can share their experience with this insurance? Namely:

  • How much typically this cost? I assume it’ll be cheaper than normal insurance?
  • Can this be converted to full insurance if you buy a car?
  • Can this be used for test driive?

Again, the purpose is to test drive a car. Once she purchased the car, she’ll get full insurance.

EDIT: location is in CA

What state is this?

Do they live alone, or in a household with another person who does have car insurance?

IIRC, in some states, you can get a liability-only policy attached to the driver. If they are going to lease a car, they will need insurance. Whomever they think is going to be their insurance company is who they should ask.

She lives in CA in a household that have no car, hence no car insurance.

Yes, she will get insurance when she leased/finance the car.

It’s just for test drive. She tried to test drive a car and the dealership said no can do since she does not have car insurance.

1 Like

Just have them test drive with a sales person. Most dealers are returning to normal operating procedures.


easiest option. Understand it’s just to test drive, but one needs to setup car insurance for the new car anyway. Once you have a non-owner policy, they can just add the car.

1 Like

Speaking of, I really hope a lot of dealers let people test drive the cars alone still. I don’t need a sales guy yapping in my ear telling me about all the features I already know about.


I had non owner / operator car insurance years ago back when I used to rent cars every weekend and didn’t own a car for over a year and a half (M-F I would walk to work). I got the NOO insurance to cover my liability for the rental cars and used my CC (which had a more premium primary coverage for collision & comprehensive) for everything else.

It cost a bit more than for a specific car as it needs to be able to cover a wide range of potential cars, but not absurdly so. It also covers you when you borrow or drive a friend or family member’s car, that was also a bit plus as the last thing I’d want is to ensnare a friend’s insurance if they had let me drive their car.

I had used GEICO at the time, but I’m sure other carriers also have this option.

1 Like

She called a couple of insurance companies and they cannot sell the “normal” insurance because she does not have a car. She’s a first time buyer.

The article above that I shared has an entire list of insurance companies that would sell an nop if she wanted one

1 Like

Ah, interesting. I’ll have her ask them that for the next visit.

Doubt it. All it takes is for one person to not return with the car and now no one can do a test drive alone without some serious vetting.

And don’t even mention insurance. As long as the sales person is in the vehicle, their policy will cover her unless she does something really stupid.


Quick questions:

  • Did the NOO insurance works for test drive?
  • How much does it cost?

Wow, I’ve never had a problem test driving by myself, even prior to COVID. Is it several dealerships or just some?

Yes, if all they’re asking for is liability coverage. You may need to get collision coverage as well

You need to get a quote from an insurer like GEICO etc. all I can tell you is it cost a bit more than what a specific car might cost. I don’t even know what state you’re in, so I couldn’t possibly provide any further guidance here.

1 Like

She only tried one dealership and they won’t let her test drive without proof of insurance. I’ll have her check out other dealerships.

Got it. She’s based in CA (I edited my original post).

I’ll have her contact some insurance companies to get a quote. Hopefully, the insurance companies is willing to do just 30 days pricing instead of locking down her for the whole year.

Typically it’s 6-month terms, but MOST insurance companies will let you cancel at anytime and collect a pro-rated refund. There are a few that will do so but may charge a cancellation fee (I know Mercury used to). So just check on the cancellation policy. But to my knowledge she’ll need to sign up for a 6-mo policy for most insurance companies.