Can car insurance be transferred to another car?

You can transfer your car insurance to another car, but any car that you drive needs insurance. You can get a multi-car policy so you don't have to transfer insurance to other cars.

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Zaneta Wood, Ed.S. has over 15 years of experience in research and technical writing bringing a keen understanding of data analysis and information synthesis to reach a wide variety of audiences. She studied adult education and instructional technology at Appalachian State University as well as technical and professional communication at East Carolina University. Zaneta has prepared technical p...

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Joel Ohman is the CEO of a private equity backed digital media company. He is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, author, angel investor, and serial entrepreneur who loves creating new things, whether books or businesses. He has also previously served as the founder and resident CFP® of a national insurance agency, Real Time Health Quotes. He has an MBA from the University of South Florida. Jo...

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Reviewed by Joel Ohman
Founder & CFP®

UPDATED: Sep 15, 2020

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Here's what you need to know...

  • When you buy car insurance, you can choose a company that offers a multi-car product or a single car product
  • Your car insurance policy protects the vehicle that’s listed on the policy, rented or borrowed cars, and new cars
  • A vehicle that you acquire during the term of the policy will be covered with the same coverage for up to 30 days
  • If you sell a car or trade a car in, you can transfer the coverage you have on the old car to the new car
  • If you keep the current car you have, you may get a new policy number for the new car as soon as the car is added

Buying a new car doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll have to buy a new car insurance policy.

When you’re already insured, there’s a strong chance that the policy that you have now will extend to protect you while you’re driving the vehicle that you just bought.

Many companies make it easy and convenient for you to add your new car without having to go through the entire application process again.

If you’re about to go and test drive a car, you should know how your current car insurance policy will transfer to the newly purchased vehicle.

Here’s a guide that will help you insure your new car quickly.

If you’re looking to go ahead and shop for the best auto insurance rates before that, enter your ZIP code above to get started.

What is the difference between a single-car policy and a multi-car policy?

There are two types of policies that you can buy when you’re choosing standard auto insurance products.

Some carriers prefer to structure their products by selling a single policy for each vehicle that you own. Other carriers prefer to take the multi-car policy approach where all of the cars are listed under the same declarations page.

One of the biggest differences between a single-car and multi-car policy is that one-car policies will have different policy numbers and terms for each car that you own.

Each vehicle can also have different liability limits.

With a multi-car policy, the policy includes the same amount of liability coverage for all of the cars under the same policy number.

Coverage will renew only once instead of at different parts of the year.

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How long do I have to transfer insurance to a new car?

You need to acquire at least some coverage on a new car as soon as you buy it and it’s your legal liability.

Not only does state compulsory insurance law say that you must buy and maintain coverage, your lender requires you to buy coverage as well.

Fortunately, you don’t have to pick up and go to your agent right after you’ve haggled with a dealer for hours.

All standard insurance policies have detailed policy contracts that describe what limits of liabilities are and when you’ll be afforded coverage.

In the contract, it specifically says when the coverage will extend to one of the vehicles that you drive that’s not on the policy.

Here are some scenarios where cars not listed are covered as if they were:

  • A rented private passenger vehicle
  • A borrowed private passenger vehicle
  • A trailer that you pull and is registered in your name
  • A vehicle that’s being used as a temporary substitute to your listed vehicle
  • A newly acquired vehicle that’s being added to the household or that’s replacing a car that you used to own

When can you transfer your car insurance from an old car to a new car?

You don’t ever want to transfer auto insurance from one of your cars to another car that you legally own when you’re going to hold onto the old car for a while.

If you acquire a new additional vehicle, you’ll be adding coverage to your multi-car policy or you’ll be buying a new single-car policy when you choose that type of product.

You can transfer your car insurance on either single-car and multi-car policies when you’re trading a car in or when you’re selling a car to a private buyer right around the same day that you have bought another car separately.

You could also transfer coverage if you’ve turned in the plates to a vehicle that you still own but plan to keep in storage.

What information do you need to change the car on the policy?

Most of the information that you’ll need to give your agent when you’re changing the car on your policy is easy to find.

It’s the same type of information that you needed to give the company when you were asking for quotes or when you were setting up your policy application.

Here’s a list of the items that you should have in your file:

  • The year, make, model, and trim level of the new vehicle
  • The date the new vehicle was purchased
  • The date the old vehicle was sold or traded (typically they need to be the same date to transfer the coverage)
  • The coverage options and limits you want on the new vehicle
  • The aftermarket features and security features on the new car
  • The lender or lessor information with the loss payee clause

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How do you transfer insurance from one car to another?

When you make a change to your policy to cover a new car it’s called a policy endorsement.

Making an endorsement to the policy isn’t all that hard.

You can either call your agent if you have a personal agent or contact the service center. Many companies give their customers the options to make the changes online.

What will you receive when you transfer your insurance from one car to another?

After you make the change to your policy, you’ll get a new document showing your endorsed policy. The document will show the coverage options and the premiums for the new car.

If money is due, the prorated premium will be billed and you’ll have to pay the invoice by the due date.

Now that you know that you don’t have to buy new policies on new cars, you don’t have to stress about having coverage on your new car after you buy it.

You can still price the cost of coverage with other companies.

Make sure to shop around and get online instant quotes to see if your rates are fair.

Start comparison shopping by entering your ZIP code below.

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