Buying a used car, whether it's your first car purchase or if you're replacing your vehicle, can be an exciting time. One thing you want to remember during the process is getting your new vehicle an auto insurance policy so that it's covered. It's especially important to be sure if you are changing vehicles that there is no insurance gap or lapse between the policies. So how long do you have before you need 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. However, 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. Read on to find out what the grace period is for each circumstance.
How long do you have to get insurance after buying a used car if you already have car insurance?
Every state has different regulations regarding auto insurance coverages, but typically if you already have a car insurance policy in place for the vehicle you're trading in, your current policy will apply to the newly purchased vehicle for a specified period of time. This insurance grace period is typically anywhere from seven to 30 days. The best thing to do in this situation is to let your auto insurance company know the very same day, so they can add your newly purchased used car, and remove your old car if you are not keeping it.
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. If necessary, you can talk to your agent the following weekday to go over any changes in the policy or insurance rates.
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 even after you're the legal owner. It's illegal to drive a car without the minimum of liability insurance, so even if you're purchasing from a private person, you risk being pulled over and fined if you're caught without liability coverage.
If you buy from a dealership, you won't be able to drive your vehicle off the lot without the minimum liability coverage insurance if you are paying in full. Typically, if you're financing your car it will require both liability and collision insurance coverage. The best bet would be to talk to an insurance company or agent before going to purchase your car to get insurance quotes for the different cars you're interested in buying and which types of coverage you'll require. The dealer can fax them your newly purchased car information after the purchase 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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