call

Do You Need Insurance To Buy a Car?

You can buy a car without insurance. However, you will likely not be able to legally drive said vehicle unless it is insured. Car dealerships usually won't let you drive the vehicle off the lot without proof of insurance. You can temporarily insure your vehicle either through an existing auto policy or through the dealership, provided they offer temporary car insurance. You will have a grace period of two to 30 days before having to permanently insure the new car. Remember, you will most likely need to adjust your coverage on an existing car if you trade in a vehicle. Newer cars will cost more to insure due to higher prices and coverage requirements if the vehicle is being leased or financed. Below is a comprehensive look at insurance needs when purchasing a car.

Can You Buy a Car Without Insurance?

You can purchase a car from a car dealership without auto insurance. However, you usually cannot drive the vehicle home or register it without insurance. In fact, they likely won't even give you the keys or drop off your vehicle at your house unless you have proof of insurance. Keep in mind that you can drive a brand new car home if you have auto insurance for another car even if the new vehicle isn't named on your policy. This affords your new vehicle similar coverage as your older vehicle for a short period of time. However, your new vehicle will be underinsured if it is more valuable than your other car. Get your new vehicle properly covered as soon as you can. Most insurance companies have a grace period for how long you have to insure your new vehicle, usually between two and 30 days.

Remember, most states require a minimum amount of insurance in order to drive a vehicle. New Hampshire and Virginia are the exceptions. New Hampshire strongly recommends insurance but has no laws enforcing this idea. Virginia also recommends coverage but has an Uninsured Motor Vehicle (UMV) fee of $500. This waiver does not provide any insurance, however. Those living in either state will still be liable to pay for any damages they cause during a motor vehicle accident.

Car dealerships usually won’t let you drive the vehicle off the lot without proof of insurance.

Below is a list of minimum insurance requirements by state as per the Insurance Information Institute:

Alabama

  • $25,000 for bodily injury per person

  • $50,000 for bodily injury per accident

  • $25,000 property damage

Alaska

  • $50,000 for bodily injury per person

  • $100,000 for bodily injury per accident

  • $25,000 property damage

Arizona

  • $15,000 for bodily injury per person

  • $30,000 for bodily injury per accident

  • $10,000 property damage

Arkansas

  • $25,000 for bodily injury per person

  • $50,000 for bodily injury per accident

  • $25,000 property damage

California

  • $15,000 for bodily injury per person

  • $30,000 for bodily injury per accident

  • $5,000 property damage

Colorado

  • $25,000 for bodily injury per person

  • $50,000 for bodily injury per accident

  • $15,000 property damage

Connecticut

  • $25,000 for bodily injury per person

  • $50,000 for bodily injury per accident

  • $20,000 property damage

Delaware

  • $25,000 for bodily injury per person

  • $50,000 for bodily injury per accident

  • $10,000 property damage

District of Columbia

  • $25,000 for bodily injury per person

  • $50,000 for bodily injury per accident

  • $10,000 property damage

Florida

  • $10,000 for bodily injury per person

  • $20,000 for bodily injury per accident

  • $10,000 property damage

Georgia

  • $25,000 for bodily injury per person

  • $50,000 for bodily injury per accident

  • $25,000 property damage

Hawaii

  • $20,000 for bodily injury per person

  • $40,000 for bodily injury per accident

  • $10,000 property damage

Idaho

  • $25,000 for bodily injury per person

  • $50,000 for bodily injury per accident

  • $15,000 property damage

Illinois

  • $25,000 for bodily injury per person

  • $50,000 for bodily injury per accident

  • $20,000 property damage

Indiana

  • $25,000 for bodily injury per person

  • $50,000 for bodily injury per accident

  • $25,000 property damage

Iowa

  • $20,000 for bodily injury per person

  • $40,000 for bodily injury per accident

  • $15,000 property damage

Kansas

  • $25,000 for bodily injury per person

  • $50,000 for bodily injury per accident

  • $25,000 property damage

Kentucky

  • $25,000 for bodily injury per person

  • $50,000 for bodily injury per accident

  • $25,000 property damage

Louisiana

  • $15,000 for bodily injury per person

  • $30,000 for bodily injury per accident

  • $25,000 property damage

Maine

  • $50,000 for bodily injury per person

  • $100,000 for bodily injury per accident

  • $25,000 property damage

Maryland

  • $30,000 for bodily injury per person

  • $60,000 for bodily injury per accident

  • $15,000 property damage

Massachusetts

  • $20,000 for bodily injury per person

  • $40,000 for bodily injury per accident

  • $5,000 property damage

Michigan

  • $20,000 for bodily injury per person

  • $40,000 for bodily injury per accident

  • $10,000 property damage

Minnesota

  • $30,000 for bodily injury per person

  • $60,000 for bodily injury per accident

  • $10,000 property damage

Mississippi

  • $25,000 for bodily injury per person

  • $50,000 for bodily injury per accident

  • $25,000 property damage

Missouri

  • $25,000 for bodily injury per person

  • $50,000 for bodily injury per accident

  • $25,000 property damage

Montana

  • $25,000 for bodily injury per person

  • $50,000 for bodily injury per accident

  • $20,000 property damage

Nebraska

  • $25,000 for bodily injury per person

  • $50,000 for bodily injury per accident

  • $25,000 property damage

Nevada

  • $25,000 for bodily injury per person

  • $50,000 for bodily injury per accident

  • $25,000 property damage

New Hampshire - Financial responsibility only. Insurance is not compulsory.

  • $25,000 for bodily injury per person

  • $50,000 for bodily injury per accident

  • $25,000 property damage

New Jersey

  • $15,000 for bodily injury per person

  • $30,000 for bodily injury per accident

  • $5,000 property damage

New Mexico

  • $25,000 for bodily injury per person

  • $50,000 for bodily injury per accident

  • $10,000 property damage

New York

  • $25,000 for bodily injury per person

  • $50,000 for bodily injury per accident

  • $10,000 property damage

North Carolina

  • $30,000 for bodily injury per person

  • $60,000 for bodily injury per accident

  • $25,000 property damage

North Dakota

  • $25,000 for bodily injury per person

  • $50,000 for bodily injury per accident

  • $25,000 property damage

Ohio

  • $25,000 for bodily injury per person

  • $50,000 for bodily injury per accident

  • $25,000 property damage

Oklahoma

  • $25,000 for bodily injury per person

  • $50,000 for bodily injury per accident

  • $25,000 property damage

Oregon

  • $25,000 for bodily injury per person

  • $50,000 for bodily injury per accident

  • $20,000 property damage

Pennsylvania

  • $15,000 for bodily injury per person

  • $30,000 for bodily injury per accident

  • $5,000 property damage

Rhode Island

  • $25,000 for bodily injury per person

  • $50,000 for bodily injury per accident

  • $25,000 property damage

South Carolina

  • $25,000 for bodily injury per person

  • $50,000 for bodily injury per accident

  • $25,000 property damage

South Dakota

  • $25,000 for bodily injury per person

  • $50,000 for bodily injury per accident

  • $25,000 property damage

Tennessee

  • $25,000 for bodily injury per person

  • $50,000 for bodily injury per accident

  • $15,000 property damage

Texas

  • $30,000 for bodily injury per person

  • $60,000 for bodily injury per accident

  • $25,000 property damage

Utah

  • $25,000 for bodily injury per person

  • $65,000 for bodily injury per accident

  • $15,000 property damage

Vermont

  • $25,000 for bodily injury per person

  • $50,000 for bodily injury per accident

  • $10,000 property damage

Virginia - Must pay Uninsured Motorists Vehicle (UMV) fee to the state Department of Motor, otherwise, insurance must be purchased.

  • $25,000 for bodily injury per person

  • $50,000 for bodily injury per accident

  • $20,000 property damage

Washington

  • $25,000 for bodily injury per person

  • $50,000 for bodily injury per accident

  • $10,000 property damage

West Virginia

  • $25,000 for bodily injury per person

  • $50,000 for bodily injury per accident

  • $25,000 property damage

Wisconsin

  • $25,000 for bodily injury per person

  • $50,000 for bodily injury per accident

  • $10,000 property damage

Wyoming

  • $25,000 for bodily injury per person

  • $50,000 for bodily injury per accident

  • $20,000 property damage

You can drive a newly purchased car without it being insured if you have an auto insurance policy for another vehicle.

Do I Need Insurance To Buy a Car From a Private Seller?

You can buy a car from a private seller without car insurance. But you will most likely still need car insurance in order to drive your recently acquired vehicle, depending on your state's laws. In most states, it is usually required if not strongly recommended that you buy a car insurance policy before driving. Otherwise, you're on the hook for any damages you may cause in a car accident.

Find Affordable Car Insurance

How Do You Get Car Insurance Without a Car?

You can get car insurance without owning a car or a driver's license with non-owner car insurance. In the case of not having a driver's license, you would name yourself as an "excluded" driver on the policy. Non-owner car insurance is typically used for those who borrow vehicles. It offers liability coverage for property damage and bodily injury. Keep in mind that non-owner car insurance will not usually cover damages done to the vehicle you're driving or injuries you incur from an accident.

Can I Drive a Car Without Insurance if I Just Purchased It?

You can drive a newly purchased car without it being insured if you have an auto insurance policy for another vehicle. This will provide temporary insurance that helps cover your new car up to the policy's limit. This grace period usually lasts between two and 30 days, giving you enough time to name the new vehicle on your policy. Bear in mind your rates will go up as your new vehicle will likely be more valuable than your old one. The higher the value the higher the coverage.

You can buy temporary car insurance from the dealership when you first buy a car, but it's expensive.

Can I Drive off the Lot Without Insurance?

You usually won't be permitted to drive off the lot without proof of insurance. Most states require a minimum level of auto insurance coverage. States like New Hampshire and Virginia do not have auto insurance requirements, so you could drive off a lot without a policy being in place if you pay certain fees. In most cases, however, a dealership will usually not even hand you the keys to your newly purchased vehicle without proof of insurance, nor will they drop the vehicle off at your home.

There is the possible option of getting temporary car insurance from the dealership when you first buy a car. Pricing can vary and it is more expensive than traditional car insurance. Coverage lasts anywhere from 1 to 28 days and it can be used as a buffer so you can get proper insurance. Just make sure the coverage meets your state's minimum requirements.

What To Know if You're Trading in a Car

You should, if you can, update your policy to reflect the higher value of the new vehicle before trading in your old vehicle. The reason for this is there is the risk that your current policy's coverage may not be enough to pay for damages to your new vehicle should something unexpected happen. Updating your coverage allows you to drive your new vehicle with peace of mind knowing that it is properly insured.

Car Buying Without Insurance FAQs

Do you buy a car first or insurance?

Typically you would buy insurance before buying a car. The reason being most states require insurance before you get behind the wheel of a vehicle. It's also smart to have protection for your new vehicle before you start driving. It is possible, after all, to be in an accident the moment you leave the dealership.

Will buying a new car change my insurance costs?

Yes, a new vehicle is usually of a higher value meaning your rates will go up. The more valuable the item, the higher the monthly premium payments.

How soon after buying a car do you need insurance?

Assuming you already have car insurance from another vehicle, you'll have anywhere between two to 30 days to cover your new car. Otherwise, you will need insurance immediately as you cannot drive a vehicle in most states without insurance.

Get Covered

You can buy a car without auto insurance but you will need auto insurance to drive the car. Car dealerships usually won't let the car leave without proof of insurance. If you have current car insurance for another vehicle, this will help cover your new purchase until you can get it adequately insured. There's usually a grace period of two to 30 days, allowing you to get your insurance in order. If you're going to trade in an old vehicle for a new one, make sure you adjust your coverage to fit the value of your new car. Otherwise, you'll be underinsured and liable for damages on your own if you have an accident. Buy the right coverage at the best price by entering your zip code below. You'll then fill out a quick questionnaire, and within minutes SmartFinancial will send you free car insurance quotes for the lowest rates in your area.

Get a Free Auto Insurance Quote Online Now.