How long can I drive my new car without insurance?

Free Car Insurance Comparison

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

Call for FREE quotes: (855) 425-8122

Joel Ohman
Founder, CFP®

UPDATED: Dec 10, 2018

Advertiser Disclosure

It’s all about you. We want to help you make the right coverage choices.

We strive to help you make confident insurance decisions. Comparison shopping should be easy. We partner with top insurance providers. This doesn't influence our content. Our opinions are our own.

Here's what you need to know...
  • As soon as you take ownership of a vehicle, it is your legal responsibility to insure it or to comply with mandatory financial responsibility laws
  • The actual limits and types of coverage that are required vary from state to state
  • If the vehicle is being financed, you will be required to purchase physical damage coverage to satisfy your obligations as a borrower

Assuming that you have automatic insurance coverage when you buy a new car can land you in hot water with not only the state but also with your lender.

While it might seem reasonable in the eye of the buyer that there would be a grace period that provides automatic coverage when a new car is purchased, this isn’t how the industry works.

Instead of taking a risk and assuming there is free automatic coverage, buyers need to verify the terms of their contract or plan to buy a policy before they drive off the lot.

Start comparing car insurance rates now by using our FREE tool above!

Car Owners Must Fulfill State Auto Insurance Requirements

State officials are responsible for setting car insurance requirements. This is the main reason why the limits that you are required to carry will change as you cross state lines.

As soon as you buy a car, you are considered the legal owner and the party responsible for insuring the motor vehicle in the eyes of the state.

If you sign on the dotted line and then get into an accident 5 minutes later, it is you who will be seen as liable to pay for third-party repairs.

This is why it is critical that you verify that you do have active coverage that will pay for liability claims before you even rev your engines.

If you have a loss with no insurance or insurance that doesn’t extend, you can be left footing a very high bill.

Free Car Insurance Comparison

Compare quotes from the top car insurance companies and save!

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

Call for FREE quotes: (855) 425-8122

Complying with the Terms of Your Finance Contract

Not only does the state require you to carry liability coverage and possibly personal injury protection, if you are leasing or financing the car you also have to comply with the lender’s rules.

The lessor rules protect their interests until they no longer own the vehicle in question. Because of this, you must purchase both comprehensive and collision coverage that pays to repair or replace the vehicle.

Physical damage coverage must be activated as soon as the loan is and cannot be removed until the loan is paid off.

Failing to buy full coverage insurance before driving off the lot could violate the terms of your contract or lead to expensive forced-placed insurance which offers you as the borrower no real financial protection.

Does existing coverage extend to newly purchased cars?

Auto insurance policies include a long list of definitions that will extend coverage to more than just the ‘covered auto’ that is listed on the declarations page.

One of the definitions of a covered auto is a newly acquired private passenger vehicle, pickup or lightweight van.

The additional vehicles will receive the broadest level of coverage on the existing policy for up to 14 days under the most recent Personal Auto Policy form.

During that time frame, you will need to contact your insurer and add the vehicle to the policy before the 14 days is up or the coverage will cease and there will be a lapse.

If you need full coverage and your policy doesn’t provide it, you will have automatic collision coverage for 4 days.

Does existing coverage extend to a vehicle replacing the covered auto?

If you are not keeping your listed vehicle and you are replacing it with a new car, different rules apply to how long you are provided with interim coverage.

Replacement cars will receive the same level of coverage that is provided on the car it’s replacing.

You will have interim coverage for 30 days on the replacement car, but make sure that you have the right level of protection or you’ll need to add it immediately.

What can happen if you drive without insurance on your new car?

There are consequences for driving a car without coverage. It’s possible that you can have an uninsured loss where you’ll have to pay for your own repair bills.

It’s possible you could be taken to court where your wages could be garnished to pay for other damages.

Here are some other penalties to be aware of:

  • Traffic infraction and fine
  • Misdemeanor conviction
  • Fees through the DMV
  • License and registration suspension
  • SR-22 filing requirements
  • Forced-placed insurance
  • Loss of a new auto loan
  • High-risk auto insurance rates

If you’re looking to find the most affordable auto insurance rates, one of the easiest ways to go about doing this is to use an online rate comparison tool.

This will help you assess rates through several insurers at one time so that you can find a company that wants your business. Find out deadlines, arrange your insurance, and avoid any future issues.

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

Free Car Insurance Comparison

Compare quotes from the top car insurance companies and save!

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption