Do I Need Insurance to Register a Car?

States rigorously enforce the minimum auto insurance liability coverage requirements they set by laws. It is now much harder to drive uninsured thanks to online connectivity between them and carriers. Generally, you cannot register a car on your name if you don’t have the proof of insurance.

Sooner or later you will need to prove to your local DMV that your auto is insured. Your car registration request will either be denied or delayed if your coverage cannot be electronically confirmed or a proof presented. You also need to maintain the policy as long as you drive or park the auto on public roads. Otherwise, DMV will be quick to start the notice period and cancel your license plates if they don’t hear back from you.

Even if few states allow registration without a proof, they require the new owner provide it within a short period of time, like 30 days. It doesn’t mean that you have until the end of the deadline. It means that you have to submit a proof that you had the coverage at the time of taking over the ownership. You are not allowed to drive without insurance under any circumstance. Your vehicle title and (in some states) driver license will be suspended at the end of this period if you don’t comply with the requirements.

What Insurance Must I Have to Register a Vehicle?

You need to comply with financial responsibility laws and this almost always means that you have to buy minimum liability automobile insurance. Every state sets the minimum levels and they usually include the following components.

  • Bodily injury and property damage covers
  • Personal injury protection (no-fault states only)
  • Uninsured motorist coverage

Authorities don’t care if you don’t protect your automobile. It is your loss. But they have to make sure that you have liability to pay for any future damages you may cause to innocent third parties. So, you need the cheapest policy you can buy to meet the conditions. And you can add more if you want to make sure your auto is protected as well for damages that may come to it.

Some states like New York and Rhode Island insist that the name on the policy and car title must be the same. So, you need to make sure that the legal owner of the automobile buys it. Others like California doesn’t care who is the policyholder as long as it clearly provides liability coverage. They don’t insist the names match. Check the rules if you want someone else insure your auto.

Car Registration and Insurance after Moving to a New State

You will need to change your vehicle title as well after such move. This also means that you will need to buy a new policy that complies with the new requirements. A proof from another state will not be accepted. Usually, you have a short period of time (10 – 30 days) before you must change your registration and insurance over.

Can Vehicle Registration Be Canceled if Insurance Lapses?

Minimum coverage must be maintained at all times. Most DMV offices can now check this electronically. Besides, carriers have to inform DMV when a policy is cancelled. If they cannot confirm a new coverage through their own searches and you don’t verify its existence your license plates can be canceled after a short period of time (30 – 45 days). In other words, you need to make sure that you have a replacement in place before you can cancel your policy.

Since you will be paying for it as long as you keep the car you should make sure that you don’t pay more premiums than you have to by shopping around for the best deals. Finding the most competitive provider can allow you to buy more or save money.

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