Buying a vehicle, whether new or used, is an exciting undertaking. but as the owner of the newly purchased vehicle, it is your responsibility to ensure that you have the proper insurance policy before you drive it home.
While many drivers are familiar with grace periods when it comes to renewing your registration, there is no grace period for getting insurance. Driving any vehicle without insurance, even one you just bought, could lead to costly fines and even higher car insurance rates.
Reading: How long can you drive a car without insurance
Read on to find out how long you can drive a new car without insurance and what happens when you’re caught driving without insurance.
Is it legal to drive a car without insurance if I just bought it?
It doesn’t matter how recently you purchased your vehicle. Once you own a car, it’s your responsibility to make sure you and any other drivers are covered by insurance before anyone gets behind the wheel.
Not only is it illegal to drive a new car without insurance, but as soon as you drive it, you’re liable for any damage it may cause.
All states require all automobiles on city and state highways to have insurance coverage. however, each state differs in the specific requirements for insurance. Your insurance company will be familiar with those requirements and can offer you a policy that ensures you comply with all state laws.
how to get insurance for a new car
How you insure your new car depends on whether you already have auto insurance. For example, your current policy may provide temporary coverage for a new vehicle until you add the car to the policy. Extending coverage to multiple vehicles will increase your insurance rates, but it will be cheaper than opening a new policy separately.
If you don’t have car insurance, you need to buy new to cover your new car. Not all auto insurance policies are the same. for example, you may need to purchase additional coverages depending on whether or not you are financing your car.
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Most auto finance companies require borrowers to have physical damage or collision coverage in addition to the state’s liability requirements. In addition, you may also be required to have gap insurance. This type of coverage protects the lender from a total loss in the event the vehicle is totaled during an accident.
If you’re paying cash for your vehicle, you just need to meet your state’s coverage requirements. however, you may want to purchase additional coverage if replacing your vehicle creates a financial burden.
In all cases, your insurance company will base your insurance on how often you drive your car and whether you drive for work or pleasure. For example, insurance rates for a car you drive to work daily will be different than for a car you plan to drive just for pleasure.
when you have an existing policy with provisional coverage
If you already have insurance on a vehicle, your existing policy may cover your new vehicle. this could apply if you trade in your current car to a dealer or sell your existing vehicle to a third-party buyer right before you buy your new vehicle.
Interim coverage only works when you replace a vehicle. does not apply when you plan to keep the vehicle you already own in addition to purchasing a new vehicle.
If you have provisional coverage, it will offer the same level of coverage as the vehicle listed on the policy. if you need additional coverage, it’s best to do it right away.
Provisional coverage is valid for 30 days. during that time, you will need to contact your insurance company and provide information about the new vehicle.
when you need to change your existing policy
If you have auto insurance but plan to keep the car that’s already covered under that policy, you’ll need to add the new vehicle to your policy. your current policy will cover your newly purchased car for 14 days.
If you’re financing your new car, but your current policy doesn’t provide full coverage, you’ll have four days of automatic collision coverage. Within that time, you must update your policy to meet the requirements set by your lender. failure to do so could result in a lapse in coverage, and driving without insurance can be dangerous and costly.
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Your insurance agent will need some key information from you before adding the new vehicle. this will include the make, model, vin and mileage at the time of purchase.
The agent will also need to know whether or not the vehicle is financed, so they can be sure it has acceptable levels of coverage. Adding a vehicle to an existing policy often requires a phone call, and coverage can begin the same day.
when you need to buy a new policy
If you don’t own a car, chances are you don’t have a valid auto insurance policy either. In this situation, you will need to find an insurance company that will provide you with a policy for the new vehicle.
Just like adding a vehicle to an existing policy, this is a process you can usually complete over the phone or online. In addition to information about the vehicle, the insurance company will also need personal information about you and your driving record.
What will happen if I drive without insurance?
Driving a vehicle without insurance is always a poor choice. Not only do you have to worry about getting caught by local and state police, but it’s even worse if you cause an accident and there is damage and injury.
When you are at fault for causing an accident, you are responsible for the costs associated with all damage repairs and medical expenses. Auto insurance protects you from paying these liability costs out of pocket. Unfortunately, without insurance, you have no choice.
In addition to the monetary expenses, you risk losing your driver’s license. You may also have a criminal record if convicted, which will increase your car insurance rates and make it more difficult to find affordable coverage in the future.
final thoughts on driving a car without insurance
Before you drive any new or used car, always consider whether you have the coverage you need in the event you’re pulled over for a traffic violation or, worse yet, involved in a collision. do not drive any vehicle that is not covered by your insurance policy.
If you’re not sure if you have coverage for a new vehicle with an existing policy, contact your insurance company and read the policy. It can be helpful to compare several companies to find an insurer with the policy you need for your new car.
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