Can a new car be taken home without car insurance?
Unless you live in New Hampshire or Virginia, the laws require insurance coverage for every car on the road. In these two states, drivers can prove their financial responsibility in another way. But what about a recently purchased car? Can you drive a new vehicle to the dealership without car insurance?
The problems you will encounter if you drive without car insurance
The process of buying a car can be complicated. And qualifying for a loan to buy a vehicle can be downright grueling. Simplify your life by having an insurance policy before buying a car.
When you test drive a vehicle, it is covered by the dealer’s insurance policy. But once you buy that car, you better get it insured before you drive it off the lot. If you don’t, and you get pulled over by a cop. And if you have a car accident, the full weight of the law could weigh heavily on you.
Virtually all dealerships require proof of insurance before allowing a car to leave the lot. Having a policy in place might solve the problem, but only for a little while. According ValuePenguinmost insurance companies allow a current policy to similarly cover a new purchase for up to two weeks.
Penalties for driving without car insurance vary from state to state, depending on Access to car insurance. For example, California drivers who get caught without auto insurance could face fines of $100 to $200. If you are involved in an accident while driving without insurance in this state, you could lose your driver’s license for four years.
All states except New Hampshire and Virginia impose heavy fines on uninsured drivers. Some states, including Vermont, North Carolina, Missouri, Maryland, and Colorado, also add penalty points to uninsured driver’s license. Accumulate enough of these points and you could lose your right to drive.
Possible prison sentence for driving without car insurance
To maintain a civilized society, everyone must do their part. Uninsured and underinsured drivers are forcing insurance companies to raise their rates, which isn’t fair to anyone. That’s why some states send uninsured drivers to jail.
Here’s the rundown of how long a person could spend in jail if caught driving without auto insurance, per Car insurance:
- Alaska, 90 days
- Connecticut, 90 days
- Georgia, 1 year old
- Kansas, 6 months
- Kentucky, 90 days
- Louisiana, 30 days
- Maryland, 6 months
- Massachusetts, 1 year
- Michigan, 1 year
- Minnesota, 90 days
- Missouri, 15 days
- Montana, 10 days
- Nebraska, 6 months
- New York, 15 days
- Oklahoma, 30 days
- South Dakota, 30 days
- Washington DC, 90 days
- West Virginia, 15 days to 1 year
- Wyoming, 6 months
In Colorado and New Jersey, uninsured drivers could be sentenced to community service.
The police can find out if your vehicle is insured
As of 2020, law enforcement officials can access technology that allows them to take a picture of your license plate and submit it to a state database. Computerized and fast, Automatic License Plate Recognition (ALPR) cameras can even let officers know if your insurance policy has expired.
Save yourself hefty fines, license points and possible jail time by maintaining adequate auto insurance on every vehicle you own, including the one you’re driving home for the first time. Insurance can be expensive, but it’s essential to being a responsible driver.
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