Jessica Sautter has a Bachelor’s Degree from Eastern Michigan University in Elementary Education with a Major in Reading and a Minor in Mathematics.

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Written by Jessica Sautter
Content Writer Jessica Sautter

Natasha McLachlan is a writer who currently lives in Southern California. She is an alumna of California College of the Arts, where she obtained her B.A. in Writing and Literature. Her current work revolves around auto insurance guides and informational articles. She truly enjoys helping others learn more about everyday, practical matters through her work.

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Reviewed by Natasha McLachlan
Content Writer Natasha McLachlan

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2020

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Since car insurance is required in nearly every state, you will need it before you can drive off the lot. It doesn’t matter if you just purchased the vehicle, you will need to have car insurance that provides the proper coverage. Insurance on a new car may mean having to buy it before leaving the lot or using your current insurance if it covers the new vehicle.

Read: Do You Require Insurance to Test Drive a Car?

Are You Current Insured?

If you have insurance on your current vehicle, it may be used as temporary coverage for your new one. You’ll need to look at the policy and check with your agent to be sure that it can be extended until you obtain new coverage.

In many cases, the extension is automatic which means that you will not have to inform your insurance company until after you buy the new vehicle.

However, you should not wait long before telling them as your grace period may last from 7 up to 30 days depending on the insurer.

You’ll want to know how long the grace period will last or simply be prepared to buy new insurance.

In addition, if your new vehicle is significantly more expensive than your old one, you’ll need to check to ensure that you can afford the new premiums.

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What Happens When Buying a Used Car?

Used Car Insurance

Buying a used car without insurance is not acceptable as you are vulnerable from the moment you get behind the wheel. However, like purchasing a new car, your old insurance may cover it temporarily until you get a new policy.

The good news is..

Used vehicles that you buy from individuals or without a car loan mean you can use less expensive insurance for proper coverage.

However, if you are buying a used car from a lot and if you are getting a car loan, then the same procedures to purchase a new car apply. Your old insurance will still have to cover the new vehicle, and you’ll need to upgrade your insurance at some point from 7 up to 30 days.

Again, while the circumstances may vary, the best move is to be prepared to purchase new insurance for your vehicle as soon as possible.

The Need for Insurance

In any event, you’ll need insurance to buy a used car regardless of how inexpensive the vehicle may be. The law in almost every state is clear about having insurance before you get behind the wheel. If you do not have insurance, then you are left with a few options.

  • Having the vehicle towed to your home
  • Purchasing temporary insurance before picking up the vehicle
  • Leaving the vehicle in place until you get insurance

While none of these options are desirable, it does mean that you stay on the right side of the law when it comes to your new purchase. The best move is to consult with your insurance company before you are about to make the purchase so you can ensure that the vehicle does have coverage before it comes into your possession.