Can I register my car without insurance?

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Here's what you need to know...

  • Every state has their own vehicle registration rules when it comes to an owner registering a new car
  • In many states, the Department of Motor Vehicles has done away with the requirement to show your proof of car insurance to the agent as the vehicle is being registered
  • There are currently 12 states that have some form of no-fault car insurance system

Every state has their own vehicle registration rules when it comes to an owner registering a new car. If you have just recently moved to a new state or you are planning on buying a new car, it is your responsibility to set aside time to learn about the registration process.

In most states, you will be required to present your personal identification, your proof of residency, and proof of vehicle ownership to register a car in your name. This will help you avoid delays and possible monetary penalties.

Read this guide to car insurance and obtaining your registration so that you are prepared and protected as a vehicle owner.

Start comparing car insurance now by using our FREE tool below!

Do you need to have coverage to register a car?

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In many states, the Department of Motor Vehicles has done away with the requirement to show your proof of car insurance to the agent as the vehicle is being registered.

While the agent might not ask to see proof of coverage just to hand over your plates, that does not mean that you do not need to have coverage in force.

A majority of states do require that you have coverage, they just verify your coverage in another way.

State Car Insurance Requirements

All states have some form of compulsory insurance law or financial responsibility law in place. These laws may change every couple of years, but they are essential to keeping drivers and pedestrians safe on public roadways.

If you are new to a state or you have never brushed up on the requirements, you should set aside some time to learn about the minimum insurance requirements set by your state officials.

Some states may only require you to have liability insurance and others may require more. Many times, coverage requirements depend upon what type of system is used for car insurance injury claims.

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Here is a breakdown of the two types of systems widely used in the US today:

Tort Systems

A tort auto insurance system is a fault-based system where the person is deemed negligent for third-party injuries in a crash is responsible for paying for the bills and other costs.

Currently, a majority of states operate under tort systems. In these states, all drivers must have at least Bodily Injury and Property Damage cover, but some may also require Uninsured Motorist and Medical Payments.

No-Fault Systems

There are currently 12 states that have some form of no-fault car insurance system. With so many different variations of no-fault insurance, there is no real pure system in place.

When there is a no-fault system, it is not the negligent party who pays for the medical bills. Instead, every person has insurance that will pay for their own medical bills when they are injured in a collision.

This is why all policyholders must have Personal Injury Protection that pays for medical transport, treatment, and rehabilitation costs.

Some states will also require a minimum amount of liability coverage to protect you if you cross state lines.

These are partially no-fault states, where you may buy more coverage for the right to sue for pain and suffering in more serious accidents.

Optional Coverage Types

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Transportation agencies will only verify that a vehicle owner carries what is required by law and not the optional types of coverage that are offered.

While having state minimum limits and the bare minimum types of cover that are mandated will satisfy the law, this basic type of policy does not ensure that you are protected.

It is very important that you compare the types of coverage available, price different limits, and build yourself a policy that really passes the burden of paying for claims on to the carrier.

Here are the other types of cover you can buy:

  • Higher limits of liability
  • Medical payments
  • Comprehensive cover for your vehicle
  • Collision cover for your vehicle
  • Uninsured Motorist
  • Uninsured Motorist Property Damage

How does the DMV verify that you have coverage?

If you do not have to present proof of coverage, you might wonder how your coverage is verified.

After all, you do not have to be pulled over by a police officer just to get caught being uninsured.

Now, with all of the different database systems that are used by agencies and insurers, the DMV can request your proof of coverage and determine when a policy cancels while the registration is still active.

Electronic Verification System

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In an effort to combat the high rates of uninsured motorists, many state officials are passing laws that require insurance carriers to actually report the policy status of each vehicle that they insure to the DMV electronically.

This is reported using an electronic verification system which both the DMV and the carrier have access to.

This updates the status of your registration soon after the DMV finds out that you do not have an active car insurance policy.

If you are making an appointment to register your vehicle and you do not yet have insurance, it is time to start shopping. The best way to shop the price of coverage is to compare the rates with many different licensed carriers.

If you want to comparison shop without contacting several companies directly, use an online rate quote tool and enter your information.

Start comparing car insurance rates now by entering your zip code in our FREE tool below!

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