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Do You Need Insurance Before You Buy a Car?

You need auto insurance to legally operate a motor vehicle on US roadways.  Therefore, even if you don’t need auto insurance before you buy a car, most car dealerships require that you show proof of auto insurance coverage before you can drive the car off of the lot.  A new car purchase is typically covered by your existing auto insurance for several days to give you a chance to add the new car to your policy.

>>MORE: New Car Insurance: Buying Insurance for New Vehicles

When Should You Purchase Auto Insurance When Buying A Vehicle?

If you don’t currently have auto insurance, you should determine what type of car you are purchasing and obtain insurance before you purchase the vehicle. If you are at the dealership and have decided on which car you are buying, you could also purchase coverage from a direct-to-consumer insurance company like Geico or Esurance that provides quotes and immediate purchase online. If you are financing or leasing a car, you definitely need proof of auto insurance coverage before being allowed to take possession of the vehicle.

>>MORE: Read more to compare 3 top direct-to-consumer insurers: Geico, Progressive, and Esurance.

The good news is if you already have auto insurance for another vehicle, you can drive the new car and you typically have up to 4 – 14 days to add the new car to your policy. You should verify this with your insurance company.

Final Thoughts

You will not be able to drive your new car off the lot without proof of auto insurance. If you aren’t sure what vehicle you are going to get before you get to the dealership, you have several options for coverage before driving the car off of the lot.  Your dealership could give you the option to leave your car there for a few days to obtain an auto insurance policy. Most existing auto insurance policies cover the purchase of a new vehicle for up to 4 – 14 days. You can try making adjustments to your current auto insurance policy at the dealership or even purchase a new policy while at the dealership.

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