What do car inspections check for?

Free Car Insurance Comparison

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

Call for FREE quotes: (855) 425-8122

Joel Ohman
Founder, CFP®https://res.cloudinary.com/quotellc/image/upload/insurance-site-images/ciccom-live/41b5e36b-joel-ohman.jpg

UPDATED: Aug 2, 2017

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...

  • In many states in the U.S., a car inspection is required before you go to officially register a car with the state department of motor vehicles (DMV)
  • The purpose of a car inspection is to make sure that a car is safe to drive on the road and is not going to cause an accident
  • If a car inspection is required for the purposes of taking out a car insurance policy, then the purpose of the inspection is to make sure that the car is not a hazard and to prevent insurance fraud
  • If a car inspection is required by your state, then there will be officially licensed stations that are authorized to perform the inspection

If you are required to get an inspection of your car, this could be a condition of getting car insurance coverage or because your state department of motor vehicles requires inspections before a vehicle can be legally registered in that state.

Either way, a car inspection is used to ensure that a vehicle is in proper working order and will not cause an accident on the roads.

For insurance purposes, a car inspection will be used to document any damage to the vehicle at the time that you purchased it.

If you are looking the best auto insurance rates, start comparison shopping by entering your zip code above!

Reasons that Your Car Might Fail an Inspection


If you receive news that your vehicle did not pass a required inspection, this could be for a variety of reasons.

Some of the common reasons that a car could fail an official car inspection include issues with:

  • Vehicle exhaust
  • Suspension system
  • Tire pressure
  • Tire and wheel alignment
  • Battery
  • Fluid levels
  • Belts
  • Vehicle lights

If the inspection is focused on the mechanical workings of the car, then this is probably a state inspection. Some states even require a separate emissions test at set intervals in order to make sure that your car is not violating any regulations on the emission of gas.

However, if an inspection is focused on the physical appearance of the car, this could be for insurance purposes to prevent the filing of fraudulent claims.

The reason that an insurance company would require this is that they do not want insured drivers to be able to file a claim for vehicle damage if they purchase a used car that is already in a damaged condition.

A car inspection helps to keep the entire insurance process honest.

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

Car Inspections and Comprehensive Auto Insurance Coverage

There are serious consequences if you fail to get a vehicle inspection as required by the car insurance company.

The most obvious problem is that if your vehicle is damaged after you purchase it, your car insurance company could refuse to cover a claim because you cannot prove that the car damaged when you bought it.

This scenario usually only applies to used vehicles because a new vehicle is presumed to be in pristine condition from the time of purchase and from when it is first insured.

Even if you decide to purchase a car that is used, a comprehensive insurance policy can be a very prudent thing for you to consider.

A comprehensive insurance policy is optional in all states, but it does wonders in terms of offering protection for damage to a car from an incident that is not a car accident.

Non-accidental incidents could include a tree falling on top of your car. If you still have car payments to make on a car that is seriously damaged in this way, then you can be stuck with a huge expense to have to cover on your own.

Events like this are why you should still consider other types of optional car insurance even if your car is not in pristine condition.

You can purchase a comprehensive auto insurance policy as supplemental coverage from your current auto insurance provider.

As with all types of auto insurance, you should make time to shop around a bit before settling on a rate for comprehensive car insurance coverage.

Having a Car Inspected for Purchase


In addition to any inspections that you are required to have done for your car, you should examine a car thoroughly before deciding to purchase it.

Thorough examinations include checking into the history of the car so that you know ahead of time whether it has been involved in any major accidents.

You can ask to see a vehicle history report before deciding to ultimately purchase a car or not.

If you are purchasing a used car, it may be a good idea to have an inspection performed before you purchase it.

Your car insurance will not cover mechanical failures of the car because it is only for physical damage as a result of an accident or some other type of event.

If the engine in your car dies, this is an expensive repair that you would have to pay for on your own. In light of this reality, it is important to be aware of any issues before you purchase it.

While no car inspection can guarantee that your car will be good to go, it is an effective way to get in front of major problems with your vehicle.

Wrap Up On What Car Inspections Check For

If you are required to get a car inspection by your state department of motor vehicles in order to register your vehicle, then the purpose of the inspection is to make sure that your car is not a hazard to both you and other drivers on the roads.

The idea behind this requirement is that more car accidents will be prevented because dangerous cars will be kept off of the public roads.

Sometimes, a car insurance company will require a car inspection as a condition of coverage.

This condition is typically true for a car that is not purchased in new condition or if you are taking out a comprehensive insurance policy.

Having a car inspection helps to make sure that there is no fraud in any claims filed for physical damage to that car.

You may also want to have a used car inspected on your own before buying it.

Start comparison shopping for auto insurance by entering your zip code below!

Free Car Insurance Comparison

Compare quotes from the top car insurance companies and save!

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption