What insurance coverage is recommended before driving a car?

Insurance coverage before buying a car is often required, especially if you are financing a new car. Most lenders will not offer you a car insurance loan if you don't have insurance coverage before buying a new car. We recommend getting insurance coverage before buying any vehicle. Enter your ZIP code below to start comparing free car insurance quotes online now.

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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: Aug 15, 2020

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Here's what you need to know...

  • To legally operate a vehicle, you must have liability insurance
  • There are many different types of supplemental insurance plans such as medical and uninsured motorist coverage
  • Emergency roadside assistance plans are also available for purchase with your car insurance policy

There are many types of insurance that are recommended to buy before driving a car. Some insurance is mandated, but most policies are optional and depend on different situations.

Liability is mandated in every state, while collision and comprehensive are only required by lenders and lessors.

However, collision and comprehensive is beneficial to many car owners and drivers even if it is not required through financing or leasing.

Learn all about the types of car insurance that are recommended to buy before driving a vehicle on the road and then be sure to enter your zip code above to start comparing auto insurance quotes!

Basic Car Insurance to Buy Before Driving a Car


Liability is required on every car, so before getting behind the wheel, make sure you have the appropriate amount of liability coverage. Most states require proof of financial responsibility, so you should have a copy of your insurance card or other appropriate identification on your person and in the car at all times.

The minimum amount of liability coverage varies by state, so if you are not sure how much to purchase, check with your insurance commissioner’s office.

Comprehensive and collision insurance is required if you are financing or leasing a car. Having these two optional insurance policies will provide you with compensation for almost any damage that may occur to your car.

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Common Car Insurance Coverage to Buy Before Driving a Car

In addition to liability and comprehensive and collision insurance, it could be worthwhile purchasing uninsured motorist coverage, underinsured motorist coverage, and medical insurance.

Even though laws require liability insurance, there are still people who break the law and drive without insurance, leaving you at risk of financial loss if you are hit by someone who is driving uninsured.

Uninsured motorist coverage will compensate you for related damaged caused by that incident up to your policy limits.

Underinsured motorist coverage can help to compensate you if you are struck by a driver who only has the most basic minimum of insurance. For example, if a state’s basic minimum liability requirement is 20/40/10, then the person with that insurance is only responsible for paying $10,000 in property damage.

Medical coverage may be necessary if you do not have any form of health insurance or medical catastrophe insurance.

Health insurance and medical catastrophe insurance will usually cover emergency room treatment, hospital stays, and related doctor bills.

Depending on the severity of your injuries, your health insurance may not be sufficient coverage for your bills. Medical coverage would be available to compensate your medical bills up to your purchased coverage amount regardless of who is at fault for the accident.

Supplemental Policies to Consider Before Driving a Car


There are many supplemental policies that you can add to your insurance coverage. While none of these are required,  each may serve a purpose that could be beneficial based on your individual needs.

One of the more common supplemental car insurance policies includes roadside emergency assistance, which may also come with towing, a rental car, and possibly hotel accommodations.

Other options include insurance for lost keys or insurance for personal items left in your vehicle. It is possible to purchase car insurance for specific accessories or to extend the mechanical warranty on your car as well.

You may also be able to buy accidental death insurance, credit life insurance, GAP insurance, and overseas travel insurance. You can also add additional cars to your policy or get  a discount for buying your home insurance from the same insurance company.

If you’re still unsure of which type of car insurance you need, enter your zip code below and start comparing free quotes online now!


  1. https://www.allstate.com/tools-and-resources/car-insurance/what-is-comprehensive-auto-insurance.aspx
  2. https://www.iii.org/issue-update/compulsory-auto-uninsured-motorists
  3. https://www.healthcare.gov/choose-a-plan/plans-categories/
  4. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roadside_assistance
  5. https://www.investopedia.com/terms/a/accidental-death-dismemberment-insurance.asp?lgl=no-infinite

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