How to get car insurance before buying a car

How to get car insurance before buying a car
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By Sarah Young  |   Last updated on March 2nd, 2023 at 10:24 am

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Buying a car involves a lot of decision making. What dealership should I go to? Should I go with a new or pre-owned vehicle? What make and model are the safest? Which features are a must? It’s a lot to consider!

Another thing to consider before heading to the dealership is protecting your investment. If you’re buying a car and don’t already have auto insurance, you’ll need to purchase coverage for your new vehicle before leaving the lot. While some people may wait until they’re signing on a car to secure auto insurance, it’s usually better to find coverage well in advance.

Shopping for insurance ahead of time allows you to compare offers, determine the appropriate level of coverage and find a policy that’s right for you. You don’t need your new car’s vehicle identification number (VIN) to review quotes, so you can compare sample rates and decide on an insurer before you’ve purchased your vehicle.

If you already have an insurance policy, you don’t need to get new car insurance before buying a car. Simply notify your insurance that you have purchased a new car and wish to update your coverage. Most auto insurance carriers have a timeframe outlined in their policies which specifies the time you have after purchasing a vehicle, to add it to the policy for coverage to apply.

Can you ever buy a car without insurance?

Nearly every state has laws requiring vehicles to be insured with at least liability coverage if they are being driven on the road. That said, some dealerships may allow customers to purchase a car without having auto insurance. It’s important to note that even though a dealer may not say anything, it is still illegal to drive the car off of the lot unless it is insured.

Should you have insurance before buying a car?

You don’t have to have insurance while you’re shopping for a car, but you need to be sure to obtain insurance coverage prior to taking possession of your new vehicle.

How to get car insurance before buying a car

Purchasing car insurance before buying a car is similar to doing so when you already own one. You’ll need to provide certain information.

  1. Choose your vehicle. Have your vehicle already picked out. Your carrier will need to know year, make, model, and VIN. Safety features are good to know, too, and could reduce your rate!
  2. Contact your carrier. If you need same-day coverage, be sure to let your insurance carrier know you need to have the vehicle insured before you leave the lot. Otherwise, coverage might not kick-in until the next day.
  3. Provide accurate information. Any inaccuracies could lead to policy termination or denials of coverage.
  4. Complete payment for your policy. Once you have submitted your information, received your quote and are ready to bind, you’ll need to seal the deal by completing your payment. After you’ve paid, you should receive your policy documents from your insurance carrier. (note – it’s always a good idea to review your policy documents to be sure the policy information matches your vehicle – especially the VIN.)

What kind of coverage do I need?

How much insurance you need depends on where you live and how you are purchasing your vehicle. For example, if you are financing your vehicle most lenders will require your policy to carry comprehensive and collision coverage for that vehicle.

Some of the most common types of car insurance are comprehensive, collision, and liability insurance. It is essential to review your specific needs when it comes to insurance. Depending on where you live, you may need insurance that covers natural disasters such as floods.

If you’re buying a used car, many states require specific coverage, so it’s a good idea to look into guidelines where you live.

That again depends on your personal preferences and the state where you live, which also may have requirements. Make sure you know what kind of protection is included in each type of auto insurance before you decide whether to get it or not.

Can I buy car insurance at the dealership?

You may be able to purchase car insurance at the dealership. For example, if you finance your car at the dealership and you’re required to have collision and comprehensive insurance, the lienholder may offer to get insurance for you. While this might seem convenient, it’s not a good way to get the best price on car insurance.

The lienholder or car dealership might be limited to working with one or only a few car insurance companies. When you shop around ahead of time, you’ll be able to research and compare quotes among several different insurers. Getting quotes ahead of time will save you both time and money at the dealership.

How to save money when getting insurance before buying a car?

The cost of insuring a vehicle should definitely be factored into your budget, along with car payments and maintenance costs, when purchasing a new vehicle. While auto insurance can be a significant item in your budget, there are was to lower the cost without losing or reducing your coverage. While you can’t change factors such as your age and driving record, there are a few ways to save:

  • Seek out the discounts. When researching carriers, find out what discounts are offered. Bundling, safe car, good student, safe driver, and telematics are examples of common discounts that auto insurers offer.
  • Buying a less-risky vehicle. Auto insurance premiums are typically more expensive for sports cars and luxury vehicles, which is important to know when considering purchasing a vehicle. A vehicle equipped with advanced safety features can most often help you save money on coverage.

The bottom line

Buying a car is an exciting time! But, it’s important to remember that you’re putting a lot of money into this investment, and like all assets, you need to protect it. It’s best to have done the legwork before you head to the dealership to be sure that you’ve got the coverage you need at the price that works for your budget.

If you’re ready to sign up for a car insurance policy, give us a call! Or, if you still need more information before you make your decision, try out our coverage wizard.

Get a quote today and know that you and your vehicle are protected.

This article is intended for informational purposes only. It does not replace or modify the information contained in your insurance policy and may not reflect the official policies of Elephant Insurance or current developments.

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