Buying a used car — whether it be your first car or replacing your old one — can be an exciting time. But one thing you can’t forget in the process is figuring out your car insurance for your new ride. So how long do you have to get insurance after buying a used car?
If you’re buying your used car from a dealer, most of the time they will require you to have insurance before you drive off the lot. But if you’re buying a car from another person, or replacing your car with a different one, there are different regulations on how long you have to get your car insured.
How long do you have to get insurance after buying a used car if you already have car insurance?
Every state has different regulations, but in general, if you already have a car insurance policy in place for the vehicle you’re trading in, it will apply to the vehicle you are purchasing for a certain number of days; typically anywhere from seven to 30 days. If possible, it’s best to let your insurance company know that day, so they can add your newly purchased used car, and remove your old car if needed.
It’s possible to add your used car before you make your purchase if you’re certain about which one you’ll be buying. You’ll need to let your insurance company know the vehicle information number (VIN), purchase price, and other information, but you would have to be absolutely certain of the car. Most insurance companies will also have a hotline for adding insurance over the weekend. And then, if necessary, you can talk to your agent the following weekday.
How long do you have to get insurance after buying a used car if you don’t have car insurance?
If you don’t currently have car insurance at the time of purchase, you’ll need it before you’re legally able to drive the car once you’re the legal owner. It’s illegal to drive a car without insurance, so even if you’re purchasing from a private person, you risk being pulled over and fined if you’re caught without insurance.
If you buy from a dealership, you won’t be able to drive off the lot without insurance, especially if you’re financing your car. The best bet would be to talk to an insurance company or agent before going to purchase your car to get quotes for insuring the different cars you’re interested in, and then the dealer can fax them your newly purchased car information in order to get you coverage. Whenever you buy a car — new or used — you won’t be able to register it without insurance, and you only have a grace period of around 20 days, depending on the state, to register your car.
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