Can I Drive a Car Without Insurance If I Just Bought It?

Getting a new car is always exciting, however, you cannot focus all your attention on the new set of wheels you just acquired.

You also need to remember that to take your vehicle out on the roads, you must have auto insurance. In theory, you could easily get pulled over on your way home after making your purchase, and if you do not have proof of insurance then you could end up with a pretty hefty ticket on your hands. 

But before we talk about exactly how you need to go about this and how insurance works in this regard, just remember that this task does not have to be as difficult or worrisome as it may sound. 

Grace period

Before you get over-excited about your new set of wheels, do not forget to prioritize ‘insurance coverage’ on your to-do list. May insurance companies will vary in the period of how long you have to purchase a policy, in many cases, you will be given anywhere between 7-30 days.

You do not have to purchase full coverage if you cannot afford it, however, many drivers will opt for liability coverage and collision coverage at the bare minimum.

Whilst it may not seem to be so important, there will be different requirements if you buy from a new car dealership to a used car dealership. If you purchase a brand new car then you are probably looking at a dealership that will be assisting in the transaction and in this case, they will require you to have insurance coverage before you can drive the car off the lot.

Do remember however that if you test drives a vehicle that your personal insurance is not what the company would be using in a claim if something were to happen. 

If you purchase your car from a used vehicle dealership then their insurance requirements will stay the same for the most part. Those who do not have any insurance at all, i.e. new drivers, will have to purchase a policy before they take the car home. If you have a current policy, however, then you may have a grace period in which to add your car onto the policy. 

Some may go a different route when buying a used car, if you were to end up working with a private seller, then you will not face the same car insurance policy stipulations. There is no reason an individual would need to check if you have insurance before taking the car home, and even if they did know you weren’t covered, they would not be able to force you to purchase a policy. 

Basically, if you have n existing policy, you are in the most comfortable position as you will already have proof of coverage regardless of who you buy from. If you do not have insurance yet then you should call up an insurance provider and get a policy first, even if you are buying from a private seller. If you are certain about making a specific purchase then you may be able to provide the insurance agent with the car’s VIN and get things started early on. 

Grace periods by state 

Drivers don’t only need to think about how long of a grace period that their insurance company will provide with a new or existing policy, but also what state they are in, as each state has its own set of guidelines. 

Be sure to take time and research the grace period in your state before making any decisions about your insurance. 

As an example, residents in California who have never had insurance coverage before, or who have a lapsed policy have 30 days in which they must obtain proof of coverage. On the other hand, if you have a current policy and only need to add your new car then you will have 45 days to do this in. 

If you are unsure about this auto insurance companies will know about state grace periods, so you can always call up your local insurance agent and ask them for information on your state’s grace period. 

What is bad about a lapse in coverage?

Many factors can change and contribute to your auto insurance rates. Obviously, your driving history is a huge part of this, but your level of continuous coverage is also a very significant part of this too.

If you have vat insurance and either cancel it or do not continue to pay your insurance premiums without enrolling in new coverage, then insurance companies will consider you to be a higher-risk driver.

Rates will always vary for individuals with lapsed coverage, as it is dependant on the individual situation. However, if your lapse is greater than 30days this can increase your new rates up nearly 30 percent. 

Exactly how long do I have after buying a car to get insurance? 

This is a difficult question as it varies. It is very dependant on the state that you live in and who you are making the purchase from. The time you have to get insurance will vary for someone living in Ohio, and someone living in Alabama.

A dealership will require it before you can take your car home, however, in many cases you are given 30 days to enroll in coverage. 

Should I buy a car or insurance first?

In many cases, you will want to buy the insurance before the car. The only real exception is if you already have an existing insurance policy for a different vehicle.

If you add a vehicle to your policing or are replacing one, your existing policy should cover the new car as well, so you don’t need a new policy before you drive the at home. 

If you do not have insurance, you can purchase your new car first but it is much easier if you get the policy first so that you can take your car home on the date of purchase.