Buying a new car is an exciting time. But before you can hit the road, you need to make sure you have proper insurance coverage for your new vehicle. Understanding the timeline for getting insurance on a newly purchased car is important for avoiding penalties and remaining compliant with state laws.
Understanding Insurance Requirements for a New Car
Do you need insurance to buy a car? Your existing auto insurance policy will likely cover a newly purchased vehicle for a short grace period, usually between 5 and 30 days depending on your state. However, you need to contact your insurer and formally add the car to your policy. The timeframe for getting insurance depends on state regulations.
Your existing coverage will extend for a period of time (grace period) after buying a car. This gives you some flexibility to shop for rates, but you don’t want to delay too long. Get insurance quotes and update your policy soon after purchase.
The timeframe for getting insurance coverage after buying a car varies but ranges between immediate and 30 days in most states. Check your state’s regulations to avoid a gap in coverage.
The Importance of Updating Your Insurance When Buying a New Car
Getting proof of insurance for a new car is critical. You’ll need to provide it to the DMV to legally register the vehicle. Contact your insurer immediately after purchase to add the VIN, make, model, and use of the car to your policy.
How to update your insurance when buying a new car:
- Call your agent with the purchase details
- Request a revised declarations page with the new car added
- Pay any difference in premium
- Get proof of valid insurance
State laws on auto policy grace periods dictate how long you have to add the new car. Don’t delay past the grace period or you may face fines, license suspension, and challenges registering the vehicle.
Shopping Around and Finding the Best Rates
Why it’s important to shop for auto insurance before getting a new car:
- Premiums are based on factors like make, model, and use of the car
- Rates can vary dramatically between insurers
- Shopping around gets you the best deal
Finding affordable auto insurance starts with getting quotes from multiple providers. Compare coverage, discounts, and pricing. Our recommended car insurance providers:
- Geico: Strong discounts for defensive driving and good student grades
- Progressive: Competitive rates and discount bundles
- State Farm: Local agents and many discounts available
- Travelers: Discounts for hybrid/electric vehicles and good drivers
Shopping around for the best rate takes some time and effort, but saves money in the long run. Don’t auto-renew – run some quotes to see if you can get better insurance pricing on your new vehicle.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can you buy car insurance over the weekend?
Most major insurers allow you to get a new policy quote and buy insurance 24/7 online. Policies are issued electronically without delay. You can also call agent offices during regular business hours to add a car.
Can you use the grace period every month?
No, grace periods are a temporary coverage extension for newly acquired vehicles. You cannot repeatedly rely on the grace period each month. Regular usage requires formally adding the car to your policy.
What happens if you have a lapse in coverage?
Driving without insurance can lead to fines, a suspended license, or impoundment of your vehicle. A lapse makes it harder to find affordable insurance going forward. Maintain continuous auto insurance to avoid penalties.
Buying a car is the start of an exciting new chapter. But before hitting the open road, be sure to contact your insurer immediately and get insurance for your new vehicle. Understand grace periods in your state and don’t delay updating your policy. Shop around for the best rates. With the right insurance in place, you can start enjoying your new car!