Purchasing a new vehicle is an exciting milestone. But before hitting the road, you need to get insurance coverage in place. This leads many drivers to ask: can you get insurance on an unregistered car? The answer is yes, with some caveats.
This comprehensive guide explains the relationship between insurance and registration. We’ll cover whether insurance is required, how to buy a policy for an unregistered vehicle, and steps to complete the registration process.
Why Registration and Insurance Go Hand-in-Hand
Vehicle registration and insurance are closely linked in most states. Here’s why they tend to go together:
Insurance requirements – Most states require you to have auto insurance before you can register a vehicle. You’ll need proof of insurance to complete registration.
Financial responsibility – Insurance demonstrates you can cover accident costs, which must be proven before registration.
Compliance – Registration helps prove you’ve met state insurance requirements and are driving legally.
Matching information – Insurers want policy and registration details to match the vehicle and owner.
So in the majority of states, you cannot register an uninsured vehicle. Insurance comes first.
Can You Get Insurance Without Registration?
Because insurance is a prerequisite for registration in most states, you can absolutely get coverage on an unregistered vehicle.
Here are some common scenarios where drivers need insurance before registration:
- Purchasing from a dealership
- Buying a used car from a private seller
- Getting a vehicle as a gift
- Adding a new car to an existing policy
- New drivers insuring their first car
Insurance agents recognize these situations are common. They can provide proof of insurance so you can provide it when going to register the vehicle.
Requirements for Insuring an Unregistered Vehicle
To get insurance for an unregistered car, you’ll need to provide your insurer with detailed information about the vehicle. Here’s what they typically require:
VIN – The unique vehicle identification number is essential for accurately identifying the car.
Make, model, and year – This specifies the exact vehicle you want covered.
Mileage and condition – This helps determine the car’s value and insurance risk.
Garaging location – The address where you’ll park the car regularly impacts rates and eligibility.
Intended use – Will you use the car for pleasure, commuting, business, or ridesharing? Usage impacts your policy options.
Providing complete details upfront ensures you get properly insured right away.
How to Get Weekend Insurance for an Unregistered Car
Purchasing on a weekend poses some unique challenges if you need same-day insurance. Here are tips for insuring an unregistered car on Saturday or Sunday:
Call your current insurer – See if they offer 24/7 support to quickly update your policy.
Contact national insurers – Large companies like GEICO and Allstate often provide weekend quotes.
Consider temporary insurance – Short-term policies provide instant coverage for as little as a week.
Ask about grace periods – Many policies automatically cover new cars for 1-2 weeks.
Arrange coverage earlier – Get quotes and purchase earlier in the week if you know you are buying on the weekend.
As long as you plan ahead, getting weekend insurance for an unregistered vehicle is achievable.
Getting an Unregistered Car Insured Without a License
If you don’t have a driver’s license yet, you may be wondering if you can insure an unregistered car. The answer is yes, with a couple of options:
List a licensed driver – Have the policy under a licensed driver who will use the car, such as a parent or spouse.
Obtain a state ID – While you don’t need a license, you do need official ID to purchase insurance. A state ID card works.
Consider non-owner insurance – This covers cars not owned by you, providing flexibility until you are licensed.
As long as you legally own the vehicle, there are ways to insure it before getting your license.
How to Register an Uninsured Vehicle
The process for registering an uninsured vehicle will vary by state:
Visit the DMV – Bring required documentation like VIN, title, bill of sale, and ID.
Present insurance info – Have your insurance card or other proof ready to show. Some states verify insurance electronically.
Pay registration fees – Fees may range from $20-$80 depending on your state.
Get plates – You’ll receive permanent license plates and registration documents. Display the plates properly.
Renew on time – Mark your calendar so you remember to renew registration before it expires to stay legal.
Completing registration promptly after purchasing insurance keeps you compliant. Driving without both is risky.
Consequences of Driving Without Insurance and Registration
It’s illegal in every state except New Hampshire to drive without insurance. And an unregistered vehicle leads to penalties in all 50 states. Consequences include:
- Fines of $100-$500+, depending on your state
- Suspension or revocation of your license and registration
- Mandatory SR-22 insurance requirements
- Impound fees if your car is towed and held
- Jail time in some states if violations are repeated
Plus, you are fully liable for damage costs if you cause an accident while uninsured. Maintaining continuous coverage and proper registration avoids legal issues.
Why You Should Compare Rates from Multiple Insurers
Before choosing an insurer for an unregistered vehicle, it pays to compare quotes. Rates can vary dramatically between different insurance companies.
Be sure to check rates from both national companies and local insurance agencies. Having quotes from at least three insurers ensures you find an affordable policy that meets your needs.
You can easily request free quotes online or over the phone. Be sure to provide all details about your new vehicle to get an accurate rate.
Ready to Buy Insurance for Your New Car?
If you’re buying a new vehicle soon, make sure you have insurance lined up right away. Comparing personalized quotes from multiple insurers helps you find the best rate. Then you can hit the road worry-free in your new wheels.
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