All drivers need auto insurance
You don't have to own a car to need automobile insurance. If you drive, you need auto insurance. It's a common misnomer that the insurance follows the car; it actually follows the driver.
What is it?
Automobile insurance is a type of liability insurance. At its most basic level, car insurance provides coverage for you in case you cause an accident that causes damage to property or people. Just about every state in the U.S. requires a minimum level of liability insurance for anyone who drives.
Who is it for?
Auto insurance is for anyone who drives a car. If you own a car, you will have a policy that covers both you and the vehicle. If you don't own a car but drive, even occasionally, you must have your own policy. Someone else's car insurance will not cover you while you are driving their car.
How does it work?
If you are involved in an accident, you will contact your insurance company. What happens next depends on what type of insurance you have and whether the accident is your fault. If you are at fault, your liability insurance will pay for damages to the other driver. If you have higher levels of coverage, you may get money for damages to your car minus whatever deductible, or out-of-pocket costs, you owe.
Different types of coverage
Liability coverage is the most basic type of car insurance, and it covers damage you do to other drivers. Collision covers damage to your car caused by a crash with another car that's not covered by another driver's insurance. Comprehensive coverage pays for things such as hail damage, theft, fire damage or vandalism. Other common types of insurance include uninsured motorist and personal injury protection.
The biggest benefit of having automobile insurance is liability coverage in case you cause damage or injury in an accident that's your fault. An additional benefit, depending on what coverage you have, is payment for your own vehicle if it sustains damage that is not covered by another driver's insurance.