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HomeCar Insurance ResourcesCan You Insure Someone Else’s Car in Canada

Here are some points to consider if you’re thinking about insuring someone else’s car in Canada:

  1. Primary Policyholder: In Canada, the primary policyholder of an auto insurance policy usually needs to be the registered owner of the vehicle. So, if you want to insure someone else’s car, you might face challenges in becoming the primary policyholder if you’re not the registered owner.
  2. Occasional Driver: If you will be driving someone else’s car regularly (like a family member’s car), the car owner can add you as an “occasional driver” on their insurance policy. This means you would be covered when you drive that car, and the cost might increase based on your driving record.
  3. Permission to Drive: If you have permission to drive someone else’s car and you get into an accident, the car owner’s insurance will generally be the primary source of coverage. However, any claims made could impact the car owner’s insurance premiums and claim record.
  4. Non-Owner Insurance: In some jurisdictions, there might be non-owner or driver’s insurance policies available. These are designed for people who don’t own a car but drive occasionally. Such a policy can offer liability coverage when you’re driving a car you don’t own.
  5. Provincial Differences: Auto insurance is regulated at the provincial and territorial level in Canada. This means that rules, policies, and coverage can vary significantly from one province or territory to another. It’s essential to check the specific regulations and practices in your jurisdiction.
  6. Borrowing and Renting: If you’re borrowing someone’s car or renting a vehicle, always check with the car owner or rental agency about insurance coverage. Sometimes, your credit card or personal auto insurance may offer some form of coverage for rental cars, but it’s important to confirm before you drive.
  7. Consult an Insurance Broker or Agent: If you have specific questions about insuring someone else’s car or adding someone to your policy, consult with an insurance broker or agent in your province or territory. They can provide guidance tailored to your specific situation.

Can I Purchase Auto Insurance For A Specific Car I Don’t Own?

Audi SUV

In Canada, typically the person who holds the insurance policy for a vehicle should be the registered owner of that vehicle. However, there are some scenarios and considerations:

  1. Named Insured vs. Registered Owner: Insurance companies generally want the “named insured” (the primary person on the policy) to be the same as the registered owner of the vehicle. This helps clarify liability issues. If the named insured and the registered owner are different, it can complicate claims.
  2. Permission from the Owner: If you wish to insure a vehicle that you do not own, you would typically need explicit permission from the vehicle’s owner. Even with permission, the insurance company might have reservations and could require the owner to be listed on the policy in some capacity.
  3. Insurable Interest: For an insurance policy to be valid, the policyholder must have an “insurable interest” in the insured item. This means you would suffer a financial loss if the item (in this case, the car) were damaged. If you’re trying to insure a car you don’t own, the insurer may question your insurable interest.
  4. Non-Owner Auto Insurance: While more common in the U.S., some Canadian insurers might offer non-owner auto insurance policies. This type of policy is designed for individuals who don’t own a vehicle but might drive occasionally. It provides liability coverage when driving a car not owned by the policyholder. This isn’t quite the same as insuring a specific car you don’t own, but it’s a related concept that could be worth exploring depending on your needs.
  5. Provincial Regulations: Auto insurance in Canada is regulated at the provincial and territorial level, so the rules and practices can vary. In some provinces, there might be more flexibility in insuring vehicles you don’t own, while in others, it might be more restrictive.
  6. Reason for Insurance: Insurers will want to know why you’re seeking to insure a car you don’t own. If you’re using it frequently, they might ask why it isn’t registered in your name. Conversely, if you’re not using it often, they might question your insurable interest.
  7. Consult with an Insurance Provider: If you’re considering insuring a car you don’t own, it’s essential to speak directly with insurance providers or brokers in your province. They can give you specific information and advice tailored to your situation and the provincial regulations.

If you’re planning on using a car you don’t own regularly, it might be simpler and more straightforward, in the long run, to consider becoming a co-owner or transferring ownership and then obtaining insurance. If these are not options and you still want to pursue insurance, consult with an insurance broker or agent to navigate the complexities.

Common Scenarios Of Purchasing Auto Insurance For a Vehicle You Don’t Own

buying a car

While it’s generally standard for the primary policyholder of an auto insurance policy to be the registered owner of the vehicle, there are circumstances where someone might want or need to insure a vehicle they don’t own. Here are some common scenarios:

  1. Employment Use: An individual might use a vehicle for work purposes that isn’t registered in their name. The employer might require the employee to obtain insurance coverage, especially if the vehicle is used frequently for business-related tasks.
  2. Lending or Borrowing: Someone might be borrowing a vehicle for an extended period from a friend or family member. The borrower might want to purchase insurance to protect themselves and the owner from potential liabilities or damages during this time.
  3. Rental Vehicles: While rental companies offer their own insurance, some individuals prefer to purchase separate temporary insurance for rental cars to ensure they have adequate coverage or to avoid high fees from rental agencies.
  4. Leased Vehicles: If someone is leasing a vehicle, the leasing company retains ownership. The lessee, though responsible for insuring the vehicle, doesn’t own it.
  5. Driving a Deceased Family Member’s Car: If a family member has passed away and another family member is driving the deceased person’s car, the driver may need to maintain or secure insurance on the vehicle, especially if the ownership hasn’t yet been transferred.
  6. Separated or Divorced Couples: In cases of separation or divorce, one party might move out but still have a car registered in the other party’s name. The individual using the car might need to insure it, even if they aren’t the registered owner.
  7. Parents and Children: A parent might purchase a car for their child and register it in the parent’s name for various reasons (e.g., financing). However, if the child is the primary driver, they might be responsible for insuring it, even if it’s not registered in their name.
  8. Non-Owner Insurance: Someone who doesn’t own a car but drives occasionally (borrowing friends’ cars, for example) might opt for non-owner car insurance. This insurance provides liability coverage when they drive vehicles not owned by them. While not insuring a specific car, it’s a form of insurance for those driving cars they don’t own.
  9. Living Abroad: Someone might live abroad but have a car in Canada that they use when they return for visits. If this car is registered in a family member’s name but primarily used by the person living abroad, they might seek to insure it.

These scenarios highlight the complexity and diversity of situations that might arise. If you find yourself in one of these situations, it’s crucial to work closely with an insurance provider or broker to ensure all legal and contractual requirements are met, and the correct coverage is obtained.

Can You Put Insurance on Someone Else’s Car?

Yes, you can put insurance on someone else’s car. This is often referred to as “non-owner car insurance” or “named non-owner insurance.” This type of insurance provides coverage for individuals who drive a vehicle that they do not own.

For example, if you frequently drive a rental car, a friend’s car, or a family member’s car, non-owner insurance can provide liability coverage for any accidents that you may cause while driving the vehicle.

It’s important to note that non-owner insurance does not cover damage to the vehicle you are driving. Instead, it only provides coverage for damage you may cause to other people or their property. Additionally, it may not provide coverage in all states, so it’s important to check with your insurance provider to see if this type of coverage is available in your area.

Can I Drive Someone Else’s Car If I’m Not on Their Insurance?

In Canada, it’s generally acceptable for someone to drive another person’s car as long as the owner of the car has a valid insurance policy that covers any drivers of the vehicle.

However, it’s important to keep in mind that not all insurance policies are the same and some may have restrictions or exclusions that could affect coverage. For example, if the person driving the vehicle is not listed on the insurance policy, they may not be covered in case of an accident.

In such cases, it’s best to check with the owner of the car and their insurance provider to determine if there are any restrictions or exclusions that could affect coverage before driving the vehicle. Additionally, it’s always a good idea to carry proof of insurance with you when driving, in case you are involved in an accident and need to provide it to the authorities.

Tips For Obtaining Auto Insurance On A Vehicle You Don’t Own


If you’re in a situation where you need to obtain auto insurance for a vehicle you don’t own in Canada, there are several considerations to keep in mind. Here are some tips to help you navigate this process:

  1. Clear Communication with the Insurer: Always be transparent with your insurance provider about your intentions and reasons for insuring a vehicle you don’t own. Misrepresenting information or failing to disclose key details could lead to problems if you need to make a claim.
  2. Obtain Written Permission: Get written permission from the vehicle’s owner that allows you to insure the car. This can help clarify any potential misunderstandings and may be a requirement by some insurers.
  3. Review Insurable Interest: Ensure that you have an insurable interest in the vehicle. This means you’d face a financial loss if something happened to the car. Insurance companies might be more willing to provide coverage if they see that you have a valid reason to insure the vehicle.
  4. Explore Non-Owner Insurance: Some insurance companies might offer non-owner auto insurance policies. While this doesn’t insure a specific car, it provides liability coverage when you drive a car you don’t own. Ask your insurance agent or broker if this is available and suitable for your situation.
  5. Named Driver: Instead of taking out a separate policy, see if you can be added as a named driver or occasional driver on the vehicle owner’s policy. This might be more straightforward and can ensure you’re covered when driving the vehicle.
  6. Consider Joint Policies: Some insurers might allow for joint policies where both you (the non-owner) and the car owner are named policyholders. This can be particularly useful in scenarios like cohabitation or long-term borrowing.
  7. Compare Quotes: Just like when obtaining regular auto insurance, shop around and get quotes from multiple insurers. Rates, coverage options, and acceptance criteria can vary among companies.
  8. Understand Provincial Regulations: Because auto insurance is regulated at the provincial level in Canada, rules can differ across provinces. Familiarize yourself with the regulations in your province and work with an insurance broker who can guide you based on local rules.
  9. Check the Policy Terms Carefully: If you successfully secure insurance for a car you don’t own, ensure you understand the policy’s terms. Know what’s covered, what’s excluded, and your responsibilities in the event of a claim.
  10. Consider Ownership Transfer: If you’ll be the primary driver of the vehicle for an extended period, consider if transferring ownership is an option. This can simplify insurance and potentially offer better coverage and rates.
  11. Seek Expert Guidance: Work with an experienced insurance broker or agent who can guide you based on your specific needs and situation. They might be familiar with insurers who are more open to non-traditional arrangements or can help you structure the policy in a way that’s acceptable to both you and the insurance company.

Province by province


Auto insurance in Canada is regulated at the provincial and territorial level, which means there can be differences in regulations, practices, and options between provinces and territories. Here’s a general overview of insuring someone else’s car, province by province:

  1. British Columbia (BC):
    • Managed by the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC).
    • Typically, the registered owner should be the primary policyholder. However, if someone else frequently drives the car, they can be listed as a principal or occasional driver.
  2. Alberta:
    • Private insurance market.
    • Insurance should usually be under the registered owner’s name, but other drivers can be added to the policy.
  3. Saskatchewan:
    • Managed by Saskatchewan Government Insurance (SGI).
    • As with other provinces, the primary policy should typically be under the registered owner’s name. However, frequent drivers can be added to the policy.
  4. Manitoba:
    • Managed by Manitoba Public Insurance (MPI).
    • The vehicle’s insurance should be in the name of the registered owner. Other drivers can be listed on the policy if they drive the vehicle.
  5. Ontario:
    • Private insurance market.
    • The registered owner should generally be the primary policyholder. Other drivers can be added to the policy if they will be driving the vehicle.
  6. Quebec:
    • Hybrid system. The government manages bodily injury, while property damage is managed by private insurers.
    • Typically, the insurance should be under the registered owner’s name, but other frequent drivers can be added.
  7. New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, and Newfoundland and Labrador:
    • Private insurance market in all these Atlantic provinces.
    • In general, the primary insurance policy should be under the registered owner’s name. Frequent drivers can be added to the policy.
  8. Yukon, Northwest Territories, and Nunavut:
    • Private insurance market.
    • The registered owner should usually be the primary policyholder, but it might be possible to list other frequent drivers on the policy.
  9. Territorial Differences:
    • While the general theme across provinces and territories is that the registered owner should be the primary policyholder, specific regulations and practices might differ. It’s crucial to consult with local insurance professionals in each jurisdiction.

While the primary policy should generally be in the registered owner’s name, there might be exceptions or specific circumstances where insuring someone else’s car could be considered. Always consult with an insurance broker or agent in the specific province or territory for guidance tailored to your situation.

About the Author: Valerie D. Hahn

Valerie is an insurance editor, journalist, and business professional at RateLab. She has more than 15 years of experience in personal financial products. She strives to educate readers and ensure that they are properly protected.

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