Car insurance for the carless lifestyle

When you gave up your car, you probably gave up your car insurance too. Here's why that may not have been such a good idea.

Car insurance for the carless lifestyle

We’ve been on a tour of the US, talking to people about insurance. What we hear again and again is how much people love living in the city for a whole bunch of reasons, not one of which is parking. It’s so easy to get around by bike, scooter, Uber, whatever, a lot of these people have given up on parking and are giving up their cars.

Most of these newly car-free types cancel their insurance when they sell their cars. And that makes us at Surround worry. We’re worriers, it’s true, but it’s also true that most people who don’t own cars should definitely have car insurance. Non owner auto insurance to be exact.

Surprised? Yeah, that’s because car insurance is a terrible name for the collection of protections within a car insurance policy.

What Car Insurance Covers

Let’s start with a list of what a typical car insurance policy pays for, then look at how non owner auto insurance is different:

  • Freaking expensive emergency room, hospital, and doctor bills if you are driving a car and cause an accident that hurts someone else.
  • Your own ridiculously expensive medical bills if you are a passenger involved in a car accident.
  • Damage to that custom-molded, personally signed, perfectly hideous, flamingo mailbox and matching planters you hit while driving a rental car.
  • Medical bills (including your sky high health insurance deductibles) and lost wages if you are hit by some awful driver when you are running, skateboarding, cycling, walking your dog, etc.

So, unless you never drive anybody’s car, never ride in a car, and never go near cars (which is really, really hard to do in the city!), you really should have car insurance.

There’s a cheaper, better solution for you, fearless city dweller.

Car Insurance For People Who Don't Own Cars

You’re probably thinking, what? Thousands of dollars a year for car insurance when I don’t own a car? Deep breath. There’s a cheaper, better solution for you, fearless carless city dweller. You don’t need a traditional car insurance policy. You need a non owner auto policy. That’s a mouthful, but what is is a car insurance policy that covers all the same stuff as if you owned a car, but it specifically doesn’t cover any accidents in a car that you own. So driving a rental car, a borrowed car, or a carshared car (for personal purposes – think driving a Getaround or Zipcar, not driving for Uber or Lyft) - covered. Or, being a passenger, a pedestrian, or a cyclist involved in a car accident – also covered.

Even better, a non owner auto policy should cost you about a third as much as a regular car insurance policy, and then you can decline the overpriced costs-more-than-the-car liability coverage at the rental car counter, too.  

Where Do I Buy a Non Owner Auto Policy?

Keys dangling from door
Credit: Jaye Haych via Unsplash

Where do you buy a non owner auto policy? That’s a little harder. The carless lifestyle is a thing, but, not at all shockingly, the insurance industry hasn’t quite caught up with how the carless like to shop, so you won’t find one that’s easy to buy online. Can’t text it in either, but a phone call to an independent insurance agent or an insurance company that sells car insurance should solve your problem.

Surround makes insurance easy. Check out our detailed non owner insurance guide.

This is general information based on questions our customers ask us. It may not be right for your specific situation. You should get some advice from a licensed insurance agent (like us!) before you make a decision on your own insurance.