Mathew B. Sims is Editor-in-Chief and has authored, edited, and contributed to several books. He has been working in the insurance industry ensuring content is accurate for consumers who are searching for the best policies and rates. He has also been featured on sites like UpJourney.

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Dan Walker graduated with a BS in Administrative Management in 2005 and has been working in his family’s insurance agency, FCI Agency, for 15 years (BBB A+). He is licensed as an agent to write property and casualty insurance, including home, auto, umbrella, and dwelling fire insurance. He’s also been featured on sites like Reviews.com and Safeco. He reviews content, ensuring that ex...

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Reviewed by Daniel Walker
Licensed Auto Insurance Agent

UPDATED: Nov 12, 2020

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Here's what you need to know...

  • How many days do you have to get car insurance? When you buy a new car and you have existing insurance, you have between 14 and 30 days to add the new vehicle to your insurance
  • How long is a new car covered by insurance after you buy it? Some policies have provisions that state that a replacement vehicle (after a trade-in) will receive the same level of protection as the vehicle it’s replacing for the remainder of the term
  • If you don’t add a new vehicle to your policy before the automatic coverage period elapses, you won’t have coverage until you contact your insurer
  • When you buy a car and you aren’t the named insured on an existing policy, you must buy coverage as soon as you take ownership of the vehicle
  • Vehicle owners who move to a new state will be given until they get their new plates to transfer their insurance

How many days do you have to get car insurance on a used car? When you buy a new car or you’re moving to a new state, it’s all about timing, and cheap auto insurance can be found by shopping around.

You may be busy comparing interest rates or searching for a new home, but getting sufficient auto insurance should be a priority on your to-do list.

If you don’t get your auto insurance in a timely manner, you could be forced to pay for damage and injury claims without help.

If you’re wondering how many days you have to get insurance, the answer depends on the scenario.

You have a lot more time to get insurance on a new vehicle purchase when you have an existing policy. Here’s your guide so that you can plan accordingly.

How long do you have to get insurance on a new car? How do you change car insurance when moving out of state? Let us help you by comparing quotes.

Get affordable auto insurance if you have a new vehicle or have just moved. Enter your ZIP code in our FREE tool to get multiple cheap auto insurance quotes.

Personal Auto Insurance Policies Have an Automatic Coverage Provision

How long do you have to insure a new or used car? Your contract will explain just how long you have to insure a new vehicle once the term starts.

If you have existing insurance and you’re planning on buying a new car, it’s helpful to find out how long your vehicle will automatically be protected.

Luckily, provisions built into the policy make it easy to cover a new purchase.

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How long do you have to get auto insurance on a new car?

Newly acquired vehicles are defined as personal vehicles that you take ownership of after the policy takes effect. How long do I have to insure my new car?

Under your Personal Auto Policy, a newly acquired vehicle is automatically covered for between 14 and 30 days.

If you fail to add the vehicle during that time, you won’t have coverage on the new car until you contact your agent.

How much coverage does a newly acquired vehicle have?

The vehicle will have the broadest form of coverage on your policy for that entire period of time.

If you don’t have full coverage, the company will give you four days of comprehensive and collision coverage with a $500 deductible.

This video from Allstate goes over the different types of auto insurance coverage.

Be sure that you are a named insured on the policy and a registered vehicle owner before you assume that you have automatic coverage.

Your Auto Insurance Policy is a Legal Contract

Personal Auto Policies are indemnity contracts, which means that the insurance company agrees to pay for the liability of the policyholder, also known as the indemnitee.

Since the contract itself is governed by the law of contracts, insurance companies must be very specific as to who, what, and how drivers and vehicles are covered.

Auto insurance policies can be very wordy and full of legal terms that are designed to make the terms and conditions as clear as possible.

Unfortunately, legalese can be difficult for the average person to understand. All of the lengthy definitions help to ensure that you don’t misinterpret how you’re protected.

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How long do you have to get insurance after buying a used car?

Depending on the state that you reside in, you may have a period of 20 days or so to register your used car, and you cannot do that without insurance. If you do not have auto insurance before buying a used car, you will need to get coverage beforehand. If you were to purchase a car from a dealership, you would not be permitted to drive it off the lot unless you have insurance. Driving a car without insurance is illegal, whether you are purchasing from a dealership or a private seller.

Are there auto insurance provisions when you trade in your car?

A new car has coverage for a limited amount of time.

A vehicle that is permanently replacing the covered auto on your policy will have the same level of protection as the old vehicle for the remainder of your term.

If you don’t add the vehicle to your policy, the insurer will still cover claims reported during that term if the policy is active.

How long do you have to get auto insurance when you’re moving out of state?

When you move out of state, you need to transfer your insurance to the new state instead of just changing your mailing address. State auto insurance varies from state to state, and you have to comply with the laws for where you live.

We’ve compiled a list in the table below of each state’s minimum liability coverage requirements, in partnership with the Insurance Information Institute.

Minimum Auto Insurance Requirements by State
StateInsurance required Minimum liability limits
ALBI & PD Liab25/50/25
AKBI & PD Liab50/100/25
AZBI & PD Liab15/30/10
ARBI & PD Liab, PIP25/50/25
CABI & PD Liab15/30/5
COBI & PD Liab25/50/15
CTBI & PD Liab, UM, UIM25/50/20
DEBI & PD Liab, PIP25/50/10
DCBI & PD Liab, UM25/50/10
FLPD Liab, PIP10/20/10
GABI & PD Liab25/50/25
HIBI & PD Liab, PIP20/40/10
IDBI & PD Liab25/50/15
ILBI & PD Liab, UM, UIM25/50/20
INBI & PD Liab25/50/25
IABI & PD Liab20/40/15
KSBI & PD Liab, PIP25/50/25
KYBI & PD Liab, PIP, UM, UIM25/50/25
LABI & PD Liab15/30/25
MEBI & PD Liab, UM, UIM, Medpay50/100/25
MDBI & PD Liab, PIP, UM, UIM30/60/15
MABI & PD Liab, PIP20/40/5
MIBI & PD Liab, PIP20/40/10
MNBI & PD Liab, PIP, UM, UIM30/60/10
MSBI & PD Liab25/50/25
MOBI & PD Liab, UM25/50/25
MTBI & PD Liab25/50/20
NEBI & PD Liab, UM, UIM25/50/25
NVBI & PD Liab25/50/20
NHFR only25/50/25
NJBI & PD Liab, PIP, UM, UIM15/30/5
NMBI & PD Liab25/50/10
NYBI & PD Liab, PIP, UM, UIM25/50/10
NCBI & PD Liab, UM, UIM30/60/25
NDBI & PD Liab, PIP, UM, UIM25/50/25
OHBI & PD Liab25/50/25
OKBI & PD Liab25/50/25
ORBI & PD Liab, PIP, UM, UIM25/50/20
PABI & PD Liab, PIP15/30/5
RIBI & PD Liab25/50/25
SCBI & PD Liab, UM, UIM25/50/25
SDBI & PD Liab, UM, UIM25/50/25
TNBI & PD Liab25/50/15
TXBI & PD Liab, PIP30/60/25
UTBI & PD Liab, PIP25/65/15
VTBI & PD Liab, UM, UIM25/50/10
VABI & PD Liab, UM, UIM25/50/20
WABI & PD Liab25/50/10
WVBI & PD Liab, UM, UIM25/50/25
WIBI & PD Liab, UM, Medpay25/50/10
WYBI & PD Liab25/50/20
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Transferring your insurance means that the policy will be written under the new state’s laws. In some cases, you will need to get insurance from a new carrier altogether.

You may not need to transfer your insurance the day of your move, but you do need to get it taken care of when you get your new plates.

Most states require you to show you have in-state liability insurance before you will get your new vehicle registration.

If you do not keep this minimum amount of overage on your car, you could be subject to a variety of penalties.

The most common penalties are:

  • Suspended driver’s license
  • Suspended vehicle registration
  • Traffic ticket for insufficient or no insurance
  • Maintaining SR-22 insurance

As long as you keep sufficient coverage, this isn’t something you’ll need to worry about.

Free Auto Insurance Comparison

Enter your ZIP code below to view companies that have cheap auto insurance rates.

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

Free Auto Insurance Comparison

Enter your ZIP code below to view companies that have cheap auto insurance rates.

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

Do car dealerships verify auto insurance?

Do you need auto insurance before you can drive off the lot?

If you are only a rated driver or you don’t have insurance at all, you need to buy auto insurance immediately after you purchase a car.

It’s your duty to apply for coverage and pay for that coverage before you drive off the dealer lot.

In fact, agents will ask you for evidence of insurance before they give you the keys.

Do you need insurance to purchase a used car? You’ll have to provide proof of insurance before a dealer will let you drive your new —or new to you— vehicle off the lot.

How To Get Auto Insurance Quickly

You can get your new auto insurance policy today, whether you need cheap van insurance or coverage for your classic car.

How long does it take to apply for auto insurance?

Applying for a new auto insurance policy is really quick. In fact, it can take you just 20 to 30 minutes. Before you get started, you will need a few basic facts:

  • Driver names and birthdays
  • VINs for all vehicles you need covered
  • Address for the drivers (only drivers who live at the same address can be on the same policy)
  • Your most recent or current auto insurance policy’s information
  • Drivers license and/or social security numbers

That’s all you need, and you can get that new policy today.

How long does it take to get auto insurance?

You can get auto insurance very quickly, and perhaps even today. Once you get your quotes and decide which company is right for you, it can take just minutes to get your vehicle covered.

It really is that quick.

If you’re looking to buy a competitive insurance policy, you should take the time to shop around. You can find great rates through all of the state’s best carriers by using an online rate comparison tool.

Are you ready to buy auto insurance? Enter your ZIP code into our FREE comparison tool and access instant quotes. Which auto insurance company is for you? If you just moved or bought a car, let us help you compare.