Having different names for car registration and insurance is allowed in most U.S. states. However, a misunderstanding and confusion on the insurer’s side may result in higher settlement payments. Also, you need to remember that some states still prohibit having different names for insurance and registration.
In this article, we’ll answer the most common questions on whether it’s worth registering and insuring a car under different names.
Can Registration and Insurance Be in Different Names?
While vehicle registration is required in all states, car insurance is a must-have in most states. But there are many different requirements and recommendations when it comes to having names match in both documents.
Most states in the U.S. don’t require the same name on registration and insurance policies. But even in such a state, you can find an insurance policy that won’t allow putting you on car insurance with a different owner.
Before getting into the nitty-gritty of changing name on car insurance or the possibility of getting a car insurance with two names on title, let’s dissect the difference between two concepts: insurance and registration.
Registration vs. Insurance
Your car registration is more than just a piece of paper — it’s a declaration of ownership. This document is securely stored by the government, allowing them to easily track who owns the vehicle. On the other hand, car insurance is your safety net. It provides financial protection in case of any mishap involving your precious ride, like an unfortunate accident.
Car registration is a mandatory step when purchasing a vehicle, whether it’s brand new or pre-owned. This legal declaration establishes ownership and is stored by the government for future reference. With this information, authorities can effectively trace the owner, making it crucial in cases of theft or loss.
As for car insurance, it serves to protect you financially in case of accidents, damages, or liabilities. It covers expenses related to repairs, medical bills, and any potential legal actions. Ultimately, insurance provides peace of mind and safeguards your vehicle from unforeseen circumstances.
Does Car Insurance and Registration Have To Be Under the Same Name by Law?
Only NY (New York) legally requires the name on the registration and insurance policy to match in the United States. While it is legal in other states, it might not be possible due to the insurance company. It all varies from one company to another. While some are totally against it, others can consider it depending on your situation and relationship with the vehicle’s registered owner.
Finding a scenario that works best for you would be best because getting pulled over without car insurance can carry many tickets, fees, and court appearances.
Can Car Insurance Be in Someone Else’s Name? The Most Common Scenarios
There are plenty of situations when someone might be looking to insure a car registered in someone else’s name. The most common scenario is with minors living at home who frequently drive their parent’s or guardians’ cars. Without a car of their own but motivated to be responsible, a child can purchase an insurance policy covering the family car the parents registered.
Often caregivers can get an insurance policy on the car they borrow or drive for their client. If the car is registered for someone who can’t currently drive, is too elderly, or requires assistance, the car insurance can often be bought for the caregiver driving the car.
Another popular scenario to request insurance on a car registered with someone else is newly married couples. While figuring out all the documents after getting married, you can easily file insurance to your name and drive without worry.
Some companies provide private driver services, but they often opt for special chauffeur insurance that covers the driver and takes care of the passengers.
Does It Matter Whose Name Is on a Car Title for Insurance?
Even though you aren’t legally required to have matching insurance and registration names, in the end, it does matter whose name is on the car title. If you can use the same name, we recommend you do so because different names carry many disadvantages.
When registering a vehicle with a car title in your name, you automatically prove insurable interest. However, if you want to insure a car not in your name, you can get asked to prove insurable interest. Otherwise, you might not get approved for a policy. Insurance companies require this since there is a chance you won’t be careful with a vehicle that’s not legally yours.
In the case of an accident or damaged vehicle, there is a high chance that a car insurance claim gets paid to the person registered on the insurance policy, not the owner, whereas when you damage your car, you can claim insurance.
Car insurance and registration under different names sound good until a bad car moment and miscommunication between the owner, insured driver, and the insurance company.
What If You Can’t Change Name on Car Insurance?
If you have no solution but to drive someone else’s car but can’t sign an insurance policy, you can consider the following alternatives:
|Enter the policy||If the primary driver lives with the vehicle owner, such as a spouse, child, parent, or sibling, they can enter the vehicle owner’s insurance policy. Although this will increase your premium rate, you won’t have to deal with the consequences of letting someone drive your car.|
|Add a second name||Many states allow you to add more than one name to the vehicle’s registration. This way, you can purchase insurance to your name and drive without worries.|
|Choose non-owner car insurance||If other drivers often drive your vehicle, for example, all of your kids have a day when they get the car, then it’s best to choose non-owner car insurance. The insurance provides liability coverage for any person behind the wheel in case of a bodily injury or property damage that doesn’t get covered by an existing insurance policy.|
Can You Insure a Car Without a Title?
The short answer is yes, but it depends on your situation, insurance company, and state. There are various ways to insure a car you don’t own, but in any case, the insurance company will most likely require proof like credit scores and other supporting documentation.
They will want to ensure that you have enough interest in the vehicle to take care of it and not damage it and that you are not committing insurance fraud by insuring a non-ticket holder for a cheaper policy. Car insurance companies will insure a car not in your name if:
- You get added to the owner’s policy
- You purchase a non-owners policy
- You prove an insurable interest and no fraud activity
- You are already listed on the owner’s insurance policy
- You live with or take care of the owner
Does Your Car Insurance and Registration Have To Be Under the Same Name?
Here is what you need to know about same-name car registration and insurance, depending on various insurers and states:
Non-Owner Car Insurance By Insurance Company
While not every car insurance company agrees to sell car insurance to non-owners of the vehicle, there are great companies that offer insurance at affordable rates that you can choose from.
Non-Owner Car Insurance By State
Insurance companies with the best national score might rank low in your state or possibly not even rank because they don’t offer insurance services in select states. That’s why there is no guarantee that the company with the best scores has the best service for different names on car insurance and registration.
Check out the map below to learn more about non-owner insurance rates in each state in the US.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can a car be registered in one name and insured in another?
In most states, a car can be registered and insured under different names, but the name is recommended to be the same. One legal name in all documents will simplify the insurance purchase and claim processes and reduce the time spent filling out all the documents for a chosen insurance policy. Moreover, you can get a better deal and lower quotes.
Will State Farm insure a car not in my name?
Yes, if you get non-owner car insurance. By signing up for this coverage, you’ll be protected from potential property damage and medical expenses if you happen to be responsible for an accident.
How to change name on car insurance
To change the name on your car insurance, you need to contact your insurance provider and get acquainted with what documents are required and whether you can get insurance for a car registered in someone else’s name.
Can my car be registered in one state and insured in another?
In most cases, you must have your documents registered in one state. It’s also good to know that you won’t be able to register your car without having insurance.
A grace period allows you to change your car registration and insurance after relocation. Usually, it’s between 10 to 60 days, but you need to check your new state regulations.
Victoria is a Senior Content Writer at American REIA. She helps customers find the right educational material through easily-digestible blog posts and buying guides backing their insurance coverage choice. Victoria covers the latest industry news and various insurance topics, including auto, home, health, and life insurance.