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Yes, it is important for you to purchase car insurance even before buying a new car to be able to take the car off the lot and drive legally.

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.

If you already have car insurance and you’re replacing your car, you generally have anywhere between 7 to 30 days to notify your insurance company of the purchase. However, some policies do not extend your coverage at all, you must call immediately to add your new vehicle to your policy.

With an existing policy that contained comprehensive and collision, your auto insurance premium for these coverages will be adjusted based on the new vehicle’s make and model. Your liability premium will also be affected. You should inform your insurance company about the new car within the appropriate window, if you are given a grace period to add it, or you could be driving without coverage.

Key Takeaways

  • If you are buying a car for the first time and don’t already have auto insurance, you must purchase a policy before taking possession of your new vehicle.
  • If you are replacing an existing car on your policy, you typically have from 7 to 30 days to inform your insurer of your new car. However, some insurers don’t provide automatic coverage so check before buying your new car.
  • Whenever you make any changes to your policy, such as adding a new car, you can pay to shop around for car insurance.

Rules vary by the insurance company with regards to adding a new car to an ongoing auto policy. 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.

When you’re shopping for a new car, you really should also shop around for car insurance.  Even if you have an existing auto policy, it may be cheaper to insure your vehicles with a new car insurance company. Use our car insurance comparison tool to find the average cost of car insurance on new vehicles.

Read more about car insurance coverage for new cars.

Do I need insurance to buy a car? 

Yes. One of the most important things to consider when purchasing a car is car insurance. If you do not have an existing car insurance policy, you need to purchase one before you can take the car off the lot. 

But if you already have a car insurance policy, then you don’t need to get a new one. Simply add your new vehicle to the insurance by getting in touch with your insurer. 

A car insurance policy helps to protect you financially in the event of an accident and is required in most states. The amount of coverage you need will depend on a number of factors, including your car’s value, your driving record, and your state’s minimum requirements. 

How to get insurance before buying a car 

 Here are the steps to buying auto insurance coverage before purchasing a car: 

  • Choose the car you are going to purchase
  • Gather the required information about the car like the model, make, and vehicle identification number (VIN) 
  • Compare car insurance quotes from multiple car insurance companies
  • Finalize the policy based on your budget and coverage needs
  • Submit the vehicle details and make a payment for your insurance policy

How long do you have to get insurance after buying a used car? 

The number of days to get insurance for your newly purchased used car depends on whether you have an existing auto insurance policy or not. If you have a policy for another vehicle, you will have seven to thirty days before you add your new car to your policy.

But, if you buy a used car and do not already have insurance coverage, you need to buy a policy before you can take possession of your car. Driving a used car without insurance is illegal in most states by law, so it is important to get insurance before buying a used car.

Read our guide to average used car insurance rates by vehicle.

How long can you drive without insurance after buying a car? 

Most people who already have an insurance policy are required to report any new car they get, to their insurers within 7-30 days of getting it. But if you don’t have auto coverage, you need to have car insurance even before you buy the car.

The grace period of seven to thirty days varies from one state to another, so it is important to check your state’s requirements.

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Prachi Singh
Contributing Researcher


Prachi is an insurance writer with a master’s degree in business administration. Through her writing, she hopes to help readers make smart and informed decisions about their finances. She loves to travel and write poetry.