For the Car-Less Among Us: Don’t Forget Named Operator Insurance


Learn how you can protect yourself with Named Operator Insurance

Cities across Michigan are becoming more urban and bike friendly. In places like Grand Rapids and Ann Arbor, mass transit and cycling are becoming more viable options. So many Michiganders will forgo owning a car. It’s good for the environment, and it’s good for your health. It’s also good for your wallet. Aside from the obvious expense of purchasing a car, losing your car can save you money on maintenance, gas, and parking. You might also think you’ll save money because you won’t need auto insurance. However, you should think again about skipping out on auto insurance simply because you do not own a car. Many people believe that you only need, and can only purchase, auto insurance if you own a car. This is not the case. There are what the insurance industry calls “named operator” or “non-owners” auto policies, and the benefits of these policies should not be minimized.

Named Operator (Non-Owner) Auto Insurance Policies

A named operator insurance policy will provide you with liability coverage when you are driving, say, your friend’s vehicle with permission, provided you don’t use the vehicle on a regular basis. Now, it is true that if your friend insured the vehicle, then you should, as the permissive operator of the vehicle, be entitled to liability coverage under your friend’s policy.

However, what if, unbeknown to you, your friend failed to ensure the automobile or allowed his auto insurance to lapse? Or what if your friend only purchased auto insurance with the state minimum limits of liability coverage? If you were responsible for a car accident, you would be in a serious predicament. But if you had a named operator policy, you would have protection.

Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage is Important, too.

You should also be sure your named operator policy includes both uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage. These coverages provide you with protection if you are involved in an accident with another motor vehicle, even if you are walking or riding your bicycle down the street.

Uninsured motorist coverage provides you with protection if you are struck by a driver who failed to ensure his vehicle or mistakenly let his insurance lapse. In such a case, your uninsured motorist coverage steps in and provides you with coverage as if the at-fault driver had liability coverage with limits equal to your uninsured motorist coverage limits.

Underinsured motorist coverage provides you with protection when the negligent driver has liability coverage, but the limits of that coverage are less than your underinsured motorist coverage limits. Like uninsured motorist coverage, underinsured motorist coverage steps in and provides coverage to you as if the at-fault driver had liability coverage with limits equal to your underinsured coverage limits.

Without uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage, you are at serious risk of not obtaining compensation for injuries you sustain while walking or riding your bike to work. Uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage is some of the cheapest insurance you can buy. There is no reason not to load up.

Access to No-Fault Benefits under a Named Operator Insurance Policy

Lastly, your named operator policy will provide you with coverage for auto no-fault benefits. While people are generally entitled to Michigan auto no-fault benefits even if they do not have their own auto insurance policy, determining who must pay auto no-fault benefits in these situations can be complicated and drawn out resulting in a delay in payment of benefits. Having your own coverage will eliminate the “who must pay” question and a potential cause for a delay in payment of auto no-fault benefits.

The good news is that a named operator auto policy won’t cost you anywhere near as much as a policy that covers a motor vehicle. So, even if you don’t own a car, do yourself a favor and purchase a named operator policy.