Everyone remembers their first car. And their second, third, and so on. It doesn’t matter if it’s the first car or the tenth, the anticipation of driving it home is unmistakable. That fresh new car smell, the spotless dashboard, the clean carpet; it’s all part of the experience. Buying a new car is a milestone even if it isn’t your first car. Usually, a new car means you’re upgrading from either not having a vehicle or from an older model. The question is, when can you drive your new wheels off the lot? Is it as simple as shaking the dealer’s hand and driving away?

How Soon After Buying a Car Do You Need Insurance?

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You cannot drive the car off the lot without insurance. You can buy the car, but there is no driving it until there is proof of insurance. Technically, you can buy the insurance after you purchase the car, but will not be allowed to drive it.

How To Get Car Insurance Before Buying A Car

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During negotiations for the purchase of a vehicle, the sales dealer will outline all of the paperwork that needs to be filled out. They will also walk you through getting a new license plate if needed, and what information you will need to provide to your insurance carrier. Once you call the insurance company and give them all of the appropriate information, set your plan almost immediately. It’s rare that you can purchase a car and take it home on the same day. That doesn’t mean that it’s impossible, though.

When You Have Existing Insurance

You can call your agent right from the dealership and have your new car added to your existing plan. It’s important to inform the insurance company if you are making a trade in or are getting rid of a previous vehicle. The agent can give you what is known as an insurance binder, an interim policy, which allows your existing plan to cover you until your new fully registered car in the system. You may need to provide additional information if this is your first vehicle, but it depends on the company. Again, you can call while you’re at the dealership and see if you can be insured right then and there.

Now vs. Later

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If you have a little more time to spare, you can shop around and find a good insurance plan with reasonable rates. If you’re unsure as to how to proceed, your car dealer may be able to guide you in the right direction. Don’t feel pressured to go with the first insurance plan you find. Often, a comparison is the best plan of action. Without knowing what your options are, you may limit yourself. Your car dealer would be correct not to let you leave without insurance. If something happens on that drive home, (and anything can happen), you will be liable for any and all damages and will have to go to court. It’s best not to risk it, get your insurance as soon as possible. The worst case scenario is leaving the car at the lot for another day until you have your plan ready.


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