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How to get car insurance for a new car
Get insured so you can drive your new ride home.
Driving home in your new set of wheels is one of the best feelings out there, but let’s not forget one little detail: car insurance. To be legally road-worthy, every car must be covered by an insurance policy. That means you need to get your new ride on a policy before you can roll off the lot.
How to get car insurance policy for a new vehicle
To get your new wheels covered and get on your way, you’ll likely want to make some preparations before you hit the dealership.
Figure out what kind of coverage you need
Different states have different minimum requirements, but every state requires drivers to carry liability insurance. If you’re financing or leasing your car, you’ll also be required to carry comprehensive and collision coverage.
But minimums might not be enough coverage to protect your new ride. Fully evaluate your coverage needs
You can’t sign up for a policy unless you have the exact details of the car you’re purchasing — not just its make and model. But you can compare quotes for the make and model you’ve got your eye on, and a few others if you want to get a good spread. Vehicles of the same body type can have wildly different car insurance rates, even if nothing about the driver changes.
The year of the car and its safety features will have a huge impact on your rates. This is because safer cars mean less medical payouts, and slightly older models are almost always less expensive to repair and replace than brand new.
Get a good read on what the insurance will likely cost you, and which insurance carrier has the best mix of coverage and price.
Call your current insurer
Before you head to the dealership, you probably want to call, email or live chat with a rep from your current car insurance company. Once you have someone on the line, find out if your new car will temporarily be covered under your existing policy.
If it is, you can hold off on purchasing new coverage or adding it to your existing policy until you get home with your new ride. If not, you’ll want to get ready to buy a policy from the lot.
You signed for your car, you know your coverage needs and you have quotes — now it’s time to buy. Many car insurance companies let you buy online or over the phone. Have the make, model and VIN on hand when you go to sign up.
If you need to buy your insurance before you drive off the lot, don’t fret. You can usually get your policy confirmed within an hour and get rolling.
Can I drive a new car without insurance?
No, but if you already have car insurance, your new one is typically covered for the first few days under what’s called a grace period. Your old insurance coverage limits may not be enough to fully protect your new vehicle in the event of a loss, so you’ll want to make the change over to your new policy as soon as possible.
How long is my new car covered on my old insurance?
The grace period is short, typically under 30 days. Carefully read your policy so that you know whether yours covers a grace period for new vehicles and how long it’s good for.
To avoid ending up without coverage when your grace period is up, add the new car to your existing policy or get a new one as soon as possible.
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Cost of insuring a new car
With so many variables, how much you’ll pay to insure your new wheels varies by car, payment and more.
New cars typically cost more to insure than older cars, but that’s assuming the new one is more valuable than the old one. For example, this year’s Hyundai Sonata is definitely cheaper to insure than a Ferrari from any model year. Even more than your car’s relative age, a vehicle’s value plays heavily into the cost of insuring it.
The biggest factors between a new and used car are car value and safety ratings. New cars cost more to repair after an accident. For example, the old beater you’re trading in might have a maximum value of $5,000, so it’s cheaper to repair or replace. But maybe your ancient minivan isn’t as safe as it used to be, or safety ratings are stellar on the new sedan you’re eyeing.
What kind of car insurance do I need for a new car?
If you’re taking out an auto loan through a bank or dealership, the bank may require collision and comprehensive coverage over the life of the loan — that is, until you pay it off in full. This requirement ensures that your lender gets its money back no matter what. Plus, it also protects you from getting stuck with a payment on a wrecked car.
You’ll likely also want to get gap insurance, which covers the difference between what you own on a loan and what the car is worth. Since new cars depreciate right after they leave the lot, gap insurance covers you for that gap caused by depreciation.
Once you’ve settled on the ride of your dreams, you’ll have the info you need to shop around for an insurance provider. Compare premiums and benefits to find the most comprehensive coverage you’re looking for at an affordable rate.
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