How to Get Car Insurance Before Buying a Car

How to Get Car Insurance Before Buying a Car

How to Get Car Insurance Before Buying a Car

How to Get Car Insurance Before Buying a Car
Policy Scout
Policy Scout

Are you thinking about purchasing a new or used car soon? Whether you’ve narrowed down your options or you’re just starting the search, there’s one very crucial thing you’ll need before you drive your new vehicle off the lot – car insurance. You need to have a policy in place to set off in your new car. 

If you’re wondering how you’re supposed to have insurance before you’ve purchased a car, you’re not alone. After all, the thought of getting insurance when you’ve only just started the car buying process can be confusing. You might not even know what type of vehicle you’re looking for yet. How are you supposed to have a policy ready to go the same day you take your new car home? Here’s what you need to know about how to get car insurance before buying a car. 

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Can You Buy Car Insurance Before You Buy a Car?

In short, yes, you can buy car insurance before you buy a new or used car. In fact, you should get a policy before purchasing a vehicle and driving it home. 

Why You Need Insurance First

There are a couple of reasons why you need to get car insurance first. First, most dealerships require proof of insurance before completing the transaction. You may be able to have your insurance company fax or email that proof while you’re going over paperwork with the salesperson. Or, if your company has an app, you may be able to show your digital insurance card. 

Another reason you need to buy car insurance first is if you’re getting the car with a loan. Your bank or other financial institution will require proof of insurance before they’ll provide you with financing. The lender may also have specific coverage requirements, so make sure that you keep these in mind when getting your policy in place. 

Third, driving without insurance in place before buying the car means that you’ll have a gap in your coverage. When you do get around to applying for a policy, potential insurers will see the lapse in coverage. To those companies, you appear to be a higher risk, which means you’re likely to be charged higher premiums. 

Finally, having auto insurance before driving off in your new car is essential for protecting you financially in case you get into an accident before you have an active policy in place. 

How to Get Insurance Before Buying a Car

When shopping for an insurance policy, you can contact individual auto insurance companies, or you can go through an independent broker to compare multiple rates at the same time. Regardless of which method you choose, you will need to provide some basic information, including:

  • Your name, as well as the names of the other drivers in your household

  • Your birthdate, and birthdates for each other driver

  • Your address

  • The address where you plan to garage the vehicle

  • The car’s vehicle identification number (VIN)

  • The declarations page from your most recent car insurance policy

  • The types of coverage that you want for the vehicle

All of this information is vital for ensuring the most accurate quotes possible. If you’re calling individual insurance companies, be sure to provide them with the same information so that you can accurately compare your options. If you’re using a broker like PolicyScout, you’ll only need to provide the information once to see multiple quotes. 

If you’re not sure which car you’re buying yet, you may be able to get quotes using just the make and the model. Provide all of the other information, except for the VIN, to get a policy ready to go once you finally decide on the exact vehicle you want. 

What if you already know the exact car you want to buy? If this is the case, ask the dealer or seller for the VIN and provide all necessary information to the insurance company or broker. You can choose the start date for your policy, which enables you to ensure that you’re covered starting on the day you buy the car and drive it off the lot. 

How Soon After Buying a Car Do You Need Insurance?

Ideally, you want to have car insurance in place before you buy the car. As mentioned previously, you can select a specific start date so that your policy takes effect on the same day you make the purchase. 

Having insurance in place when you buy your car is paramount to protect you, as well as other drivers on the road. If you get into an accident right after buying the vehicle and you don’t have an active policy, you may be left facing some significant financial consequences. Not only are you responsible for the cost of damages and injuries (especially if you’re the one at fault for the accident), but you’re likely to be faced with legal consequences as well. 

What If I Already Have Car Insurance?

If you already have an active car insurance policy for another vehicle, you may be able to get away without purchasing coverage for your new vehicle right away. Some insurance companies extend a grace period for new cars. 

If your current policy offers a grace period for new cars, you typically have between one week to 30 days to officially add your new vehicle to your policy. You’ll be covered when you buy the car and drive it home, but you should notify your insurance company and add it as soon as possible. 

You should also review the specifics of your policy’s grace period. Some auto insurance providers only provide it if you’re replacing your existing vehicle, which means buying a new car in addition to the one you already have covered wouldn’t qualify. The temporary coverage may also only include the bare minimum, and may not include comprehensive and collision. Make sure that you contact your insurance company or review your policy before you try to buy a new car without getting a policy in place for it first. 

Will I Need Insurance To Register My New Car?

When you buy a new car, you have to register it in your name. You typically have 30 days to do so. In most states, you must have car insurance first to register your vehicle. 

Other states don’t require you to have insurance to register, but you still need to have a policy on the car before you drive it. These states include Arizona, Mississippi, North Dakota, Tennessee, Washington, and Wyoming. New Hampshire is the only state that doesn’t require drivers to have liability insurance to drive, but proof of financial responsibility is necessary. Many drivers do this by purchasing an insurance policy even though they don’t have to. 

How Can I Buy a Car Without Insurance?

You have a couple of options when it comes to buying a car without insurance. Your first option is to check with your current company to find out if you have a grace period. If you do, you make sure that you understand the specifics of the coverage. 

Your other option is to buy the car, leave without it, and then come back for it when you do purchase an insurance policy. 

You cannot drive a car (whether you purchase it from a dealership or an individual) without insurance on it. If you’re buying a car for the first time and don’t have insurance, you should not drive a car home until you have an active policy. Almost every state in the US requires some form of minimum insurance coverage. Getting caught without it could result in fines and the suspension of your license. 

Keep in mind that, as mentioned previously, a dealership won’t let you buy a car without a policy. You also can’t get financing without one. Fortunately, getting auto insurance is much faster than other forms of insurance, such as life, medical, or pet. You can apply for coverage and get it very quickly. In many cases, you’ll have insurance for the vehicle in less than 24 hours. It may even be possible to contact your insurance company and have everything ready to go before you leave the dealership, enabling you to get in your new car and take it home. 

Even if you can get insurance quickly, it’s always a good idea to have it ready ahead of time. Select the date you plan to buy the car as the coverage start date, and you’ll be all set to go when you arrive at the dealership to sign for and pick up the vehicle. 

Are You Ready to Buy a New Car?

Auto insurance is an essential financial safety net that protects you in the event of an accident. You can’t legally drive your car without it. Even if you’re picking up a new car (whether it be from a dealership or a private seller), you need to have a policy on that vehicle. 

If you’re currently shopping for a new vehicle, compare rates from multiple auto insurance companies to find the best deal on your monthly premiums. For more information, get insurance quotes, and to get the process started, visit PolicyScout today. 

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