Car insurance or registration?

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Here's what you need to know...
  • A car registration is used so the government knows who legally owns the car
  • Car insurance helps protect drivers from financial burden when an accident occurs
  • In most cases, the minimum amount of car insurance coverage allowed in a state is not enough to help in a serious accident


A car registration and an auto insurance policy are both requirements to operate a vehicle legally in almost every jurisdiction.

Registering the vehicle allows the government to track who the legal owner is.

Car insurance is bought by the vehicle owner to provide financial protection if he or she is involved in an accident.

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Registering a Vehicle

Cars on the Road Closeup 3D Illustration. Two Ways Road.

A person who has recently bought a vehicle or had ownership transferred to themselves will need to register it with the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) for their state.

Individuals who have recently moved to a new state are also required to register the vehicle with the DMV after they arrive.

Contact the DMV office to find out what the time limit is for new residents of the state.

When a car is bought through a dealership, the dealer may submit the title and registration documents to the DMV on the new owner’s behalf.

Private sales and title transfers are handled differently, and the owner is required to go to the DMV office to submit the required paperwork themselves.

The new owner will be required to show his or her driver’s license, as well as the title document.

A bill of sale, which may need to be notarized, is also required.

To find out exactly what documents the new owner of a vehicle is required to produce at registration, contact the local DMV office.

While car insurance is required to legally operate a motor vehicle, proof of insurance is not required to simply register the vehicle. When the owner signs the registration document, this action indicates that the vehicle is properly insured.

Buying Car Insurance

Each state sets a minimum level of insurance coverage that must be purchased for a vehicle. In many parts of the United States, drivers are only legally required to

In many parts of the United States, drivers are only legally required to carry liability insurance, which pays for medical bills, lost wages and funeral expenses for the occupants of the other vehicle involved in an accident.

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There are some states in which drivers can prove financial ability to cover the costs of an accident, rather than purchase insurance. However, this is not feasible for most drivers.

Driving without car insurance, or the appropriate proof of ability to pay, is not only punishable as a criminal offense, but it can lead to serious financial consequences for the vehicle owner.

Without this type of protection, the owner is personally responsible for damages caused in an accident.

The car insurance put in place on a vehicle is a contract between the vehicle owner and the insurer.

As long as the owner has bought at least the minimum level of coverage required by law, the state is not concerned with how much coverage he or she is carrying.

Getting the Best Auto Insurance Coverage

Businessman or salesman handing over a contract attached to a clipboard for signature.

Car owners need to do their homework to find the right level of coverage for their needs and to get the best possible rate.

Buying the minimum amount required by law will satisfy the state, but may not be sufficient protection if a serious accident occurs.

Medical expenses alone can add up very quickly, and a policy that pays out a relatively small amount may not be the best choice.

Coverage rates are something that most car insurance buyers consider before making a purchase.

There is a definite balancing act involved in getting the right level of protection without paying too much for it. One way to get this balance right is to shop around and compare offerings from several insurance companies before making a final decision.

The Internet makes this process relatively quick and convenient for car insurance consumers.

When you are buying a car, you want to get the necessary paperwork for car registration and car insurance coverage out of the way quickly so that you can start driving it.

Don’t spend more time than you need to search for the right insurance coverage when the insurance tool on this page is available to help you compare rates from different providers.

Enter your zip code below to access car insurance rates from multiple companies!

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