Table of Contents
Becoming a new driver can be somewhat complicated. It isn’t always as simple as showing up at a car dealership and driving away with keys in hand. There are certain legal requirements for car ownership that all drivers must adhere to.
The two big topics of discussion in this respect are insurance and registration. In most instances, both will be required before a driver can legally hit the roads with their new automobile.
But can you register a vehicle without having insurance taken out? Can you get insurance without having a properly registered vehicle? How do these two important areas overlap? Read on and we’ll walk you through everything you need to know.
The Relationship between Insurance and Registration
Auto insurance is expensive and complicated, and it can take some time to get set up. However, in all states, it is required by law for the driver to have auto insurance. Driving without insurance can get you in quite a bit of trouble with the law.
So can you get your car registered with the state without having insurance? Is there any kind of workaround?
Not really. Almost all states, including those that don’t have minimum coverage requirements, will likely need you to show some proof of insurance when trying to get your vehicle registered. Different states have different requirements when it comes to insurance, and the coverage amount you will need to have will vary depending on where you are located.
There are a few possible exceptions. In states where there is no minimum coverage requirement, you may be able to show proof of your financial capability to get insurance or to cover automobile damages on your own. This is a rare circumstance.
The only two states where this might occur in New Hampshire and Virginia. In New Hampshire, a vehicle owner without insurance would need to show proof of being able to pay up to $75,000 in damages.
There is no set limit in Virginia, but a driver will need to pay $500 monthly to the state government if they choose not to have auto insurance.
Registering Your Vehicle
How does insurance play into the registration process? Vehicle registration doesn’t work exactly the same in every state, but the overall process shouldn’t be too dissimilar no matter where you live.
You will need to make sure you have the right documents in your possession when you head to the DMV. In hand, you will need to have your vehicle’s title, a bill of sale, proof of tax documents, your official state driver’s license, and some sort of proof of insurance.
In some cases, you may need to have your car undergo an official inspection and receive certification before the state will officially register it.
There are some cases where the DMV may be lenient and not require you to have proof of insurance the moment you first sign up at the DMV. Some state departments will allow you to follow up with insurance documentation in the days or weeks following your initial registration submission.
However, if the DMV does not receive your insurance information by a certain deadline, your entire vehicle registration will be suspended or canceled. You also might have to pay a fee or penalty for wasting the DMV’s time. If you’re planning on sending in your insurance information late, you need to be 100% sure you’ll be able to get it in promptly.
If you do get your registration suspended, you won’t be allowed to take your vehicle onto public roadways. In order to drive again, you’ll need to reinstate the registration process or start over again from the beginning.
Other Registration Concerns
What happens if you move to a brand new state? Will your old auto insurance or registration still cover you?
Again, the answer is no. If you’re just traveling, you won’t need to get new insurance or registration. However, if you are establishing residency in a new state, you will need to re-register your vehicle with that state’s DMV.
In order to do that, you’ll also need to take out liability coverage that will comply with this new state’s laws. Your current auto insurance provider may be able to make the switch for you quite easily, or you might need to go shopping for a new provider. It all depends on which state you’re moving to and where you’re coming from!
You’ll also need to keep your insurance active for as long as your registration is. Some sneaky automobile owners think they can simply cancel their insurance after registration is complete.
The DMV will find out about this move rather promptly. The department can track your insurance coverage online and your insurance provider might even notify the DMV about your loss of coverage.
In most states, there is a small window of time where you can be un-insured. This is intended to allow drivers to switch between providers and find new insurance plans. However, these windows are relatively small and you can face large punishments if you remain uninsured after the state deadlines have passed.
It’s important to look up the specific insurance laws in your state so that you can ensure you are in compliance.
Registering a New Automobile
If you’re planning on registering a new car, you’ll need to understand the relationship between insurance and registration. There are strict laws surrounding these two topics in most states, and it’s of the utmost importance that you are in compliance.
Need more automobile advice? Check out our blog for more.