Purchasing a new or used car is an exciting time, but there are a few things you need to do before you can get behind the wheel. First, you must purchase car insurance for the vehicle. Auto insurance is a legal requirement in every state except New Hampshire and Virginia. You also need to register the vehicle with your local Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).
When registering the vehicle for the first time, you will need to present several documents. In most states, this includes proof of car insurance. If your state requires proof of insurance for registration, and you don’t have coverage, the DMV won’t allow you to register the vehicle. In this article, we’ll explain how car insurance affects your vehicle’s registration.
Do you need insurance to register a car?
In most states, you need car insurance to register a vehicle. You must carry at least the minimum amount of coverage required in your state. This typically includes personal liability insurance, uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) insurance, and/or personal injury protection (PIP), depending on where you live.
If you don’t have proof of car insurance when you visit the DMV, you’ll probably get turned away and will need to return once you’ve purchased auto insurance. If the dealership is registering the vehicle on your behalf, they will request a copy of your proof of car insurance to complete the process. Remember—you will need to get auto insurance before you can purchase the vehicle.
What states do not require you to have insurance to register a car?
There are a handful of states that don’t require car insurance to register your vehicle. The seven states that don’t require proof of insurance are:
- New Hampshire
- North Dakota
Keep in mind that New Hampshire and Virginia are the only two states on this list that don’t require car insurance at all. In the other five states, you still need car insurance to legally drive your new vehicle. You won’t need to show proof of insurance to register your vehicle in these states, but you will face consequences if you drive uninsured.
Can I register a car without insurance?
You can register a car without insurance, but only in several states. Most U.S. states require drivers to submit proof of car insurance when registering a vehicle.
However, you typically only need to show proof of auto insurance when registering a vehicle for the first time. You will have to renew your registration every year or two, but you usually don’t need to provide updated car insurance information. The DMV assumes that you will continue to carry car insurance that meets your state’s legal requirements.
If you get caught driving without car insurance, it’s possible that your registration could be suspended. In this case, you wouldn’t be allowed to drive your vehicle until you purchased car insurance and went through the process of reinstating your registration with the DMV.