States rigorously enforce the minimum auto insurance liability coverage requirements they set by laws. It is now much harder to drive an uninsured automobile thanks to online connectivity between states and insurers. Generally, you cannot register a car on your name if you don’t have the proof of insurance coverage.
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 of insurance present. 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 of coverage, they require the new owner provide such proof within a short period of time, like 30 days. It doesn’t mean that you have until the end of the deadline to buy a policy. 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 registration 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 Do I Have to Have to Register a Vehicle?
You need to comply with financial responsibility laws in your state and this almost always means that you have to buy minimum liability auto policy. 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 fully insure your automobile. It is your loss. But they have to make sure that you have liability coverage to pay for any future damages you may cause to innocent third parties. So, you need the lowest coverage you can buy in your state to meet the insurance and registration requirements. And you can get full coverage 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 insurance policy and car title must be the same. So, you need to make sure that the legal owner of the automobile buys the coverage. Other states like California doesn’t care who is the policyholder as long as the policy clearly provides liability coverage for the vehicle registered. They don’t insist the names match. Check the rules of your state if you want someone else insure your auto.
Vehicle Registration and Insurance after Moving to a New State
When you move to a new state you will need to change your vehicle title as well. This also means that you will need to buy a new insurance policy that complies with the requirements of the state you moved into. A proof of auto insurance 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 if an auto is insured or not. 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 another policy in place before you can cancel your car insurance.
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 carriers can allow you to buy more coverage or save money.