Oregon Auto Insurance Agent: Not according to the Oregon Department of Motor Vehicles. The car does not legally belong to you unless your name is listed on the registration or title.
Prospective Client: But I have insured it with other insurance companies with no problem. They never even asked if it was in my name.
Oregon Auto Insurance Agent: I'm not sure about other auto insurance companies but the car insurance companies I represent require you to be the registered owner or in the process of registering it to your name in order for the contract to be legal.
This is the conversation I have with so many prospective insureds all day long. I'm not sure where the myth comes from that someone can insure a car that belongs to someone else. The Oregon DMV is now connected to almost all the insurance companies and they check to see if the VIN number of your vehicle has an active insurance policy associated with it. If not, you could be randomly selected to prove you have insurance. This especially could happen if the car is registered to you but your name doesn't match any insurance policy on it with you as an owner of the policy or a listed and authorized driver. If the registered owner was unable to prove he had car insurance in his name or on which he was a listed driver on a particular day on that vehicle, he could get tagged with an SR22 requirement for three years. Even if you were the one insuring it. Yep, because you insured it but don't own it.
Also, when a police officer runs your plate while driving behind you and the registered owner doesn't match the insurance listed on his or her computer screen inside the police car, you could get pulled over, ticketed for driving with no insurance and your car impounded. This could happen even though you can produce an insurance card which lists you and the car. Too many people learn the hard way. Either through getting pulled over or worse yet an accident that the insurance company doesn't want to pay for, drivers find out that insuring a car not registered to their name is a really bad idea.