How Much Time Do I Have to Get Car Insurance After I Purchase a Car?

Car insurance can be complicated if a person does not have a good agent to help them through the process. How much do you need?  When do you need to buy it?   Can it be added to an existing policy? This article won’t answer all your questions.  It will, however, help answer the question of how soon you need to buy insurance after you purchase a car.  The answer can depend on where you purchase your car, your state laws and the existence of any other car insurance policies you may have.

Driving off the lot
Many car lots will not even allow you to drive off the lot with a car until you have insurance.  This is more to protect them than protect you. They want to make sure the car is covered until it is paid in full. There is also likely to be a requirement as to how much insurance you need.

From a private owner
A private owner will most likely not care whether you have insurance or not since you will be taking title of the car right away.  In this case, you may have two weeks or so, depending on when the temporary tags expire.  It is then likely that you will be required to show proof of insurance before you will be issued permanent tags. This is definitely the case in states that require all drivers be covered under some kind of car insurance.

Existing policies
Car owners who have existing insurance policies will need to talk to their insurance agent. Some policies have a grace period during which the new car is covered under the existing policy. These grace periods vary in terms of their duration, so it is important to carefully review your policy. Other policies do not allow this at all. Your insurance agent can help you determine whether you are covered or not and how long you have before you need to get the additional car covered.

State laws
Most states have some type of car insurance regulations in place and they may differ from the requirements of the dealer where you purchase your car. In all cases, it is better to check in advance with your state Department of Motor Vehicles to find out their requirements. Once you know the State’s requirements, you will be in a better position to comply with them. Unless the dealer requires insurance before allowing you to take possession, state law is the standard, and that will likely mean you need to secure car insurance before you can be issued permanent tags for your car.

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