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Do I need to purchase car insurance before I buy a new car?

If this is your first car and you don't already have car insurance, you'll need it before you drive the new car off the lot. In addition, if you're financing the vehicle, your lender will likely require you to have insurance at the time of the purchase.

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If you already have car insurance and you're replacing your car, you generally have 14 to 30 days to notify your insurance company of the purchase. Your auto insurance premium for comprehensive and collision coverage will then be adjusted based on the new vehicle make and model. Some vehicles also affect your liability premium. Inform your insurance company about the new car within the appropriate window, or you could be driving without coverage.

If you're adding a new car, rules vary by insurance company. For example, some insurers provide automatic coverage for the additional car but you must still notify them within 30 days, while other insurers provide no automatic coverage for additional cars. For more, read about auto(matic) coverage for new cars.

Last updated: Jan. 7, 2010
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