New Car Insurance: How to Get It and When
Before you can legally drive your brand-new car, you must have car insurance. If you already have a policy on another car, there may be a grace period of one or more weeks, but otherwise you need to be insured before getting behind the wheel.
As for how to get insurance on a new car, decide the amount of coverage you want, based on what you can afford, and then gather quotes from multiple insurers.
When to buy new car insurance
If you already have a car insurance policy for another car, you can add your new car to it or switch the coverage to your new auto.
You don’t even need to do this before you drive your new vehicle. Most car insurance companies give you a grace period of seven to 30 days during which you can update your policy in either of these ways.
However, you will need to show the dealer proof of insurance before they’ll let you drive your new car off the lot.
If you don’t have car insurance when you go to buy your new vehicle, you’ll need to get it before you take the new car home.
How to get new car insurance
To get insurance on a new car, you first need to get a quote from one or more companies.
Getting and comparing car insurance quotes from several companies is one of the best ways to find the cheapest policy that fits your needs.
You can get car insurance quotes online from most companies. But if you’d prefer to get a quote over the phone or in person, you can do that, too.
Once you settle on the best car insurance quote for you, finalize your purchase and make your first payment.
What do you need to get new car insurance?
When you go to get new car insurance, providers will ask for your:
- Name, address, date of birth and marital status
- Driver’s license number
- New car’s VIN (vehicle identification number)
- Driving and insurance histories
Note that you’ll also need to share the driving and insurance histories of any other drivers the policy will cover.
You can receive and compare car insurance quotes without some of this info, like your driver’s license number and VIN, but you’ll need all of it to finish buying your policy.
How long does it take to get new car insurance?
Getting new car insurance can take minutes if you buy online and have the needed info on hand.
On the other hand, the process can take hours or even days if:
- You include the time it takes to compare quotes from a number of companies
- You can’t pay right away
- The information you share with the provider isn’t accurate
How much is insurance on a new car?
What you pay for new car insurance will depend on the make, model, trim level and body type of the vehicle you buy.
An expensive vehicle with many features and a large engine usually costs more to insure than a cheaper car with a standard trim level.
In addition, you’ll usually pay higher car insurance rates for a new car than you’ll pay for an older car. This is mostly because new cars are worth more than old cars, though other factors play a role as well.
What factors affect the cost of new car insurance?
What you pay for new car insurance depends on factors like your:
- Car make and model
- Annual mileage
- Driving record
- Insurance record
- Gender (since men may be seen as riskier)
- Marital status
- ZIP code
Car insurance providers don’t treat these factors equally, which is why the quotes they send you can differ so much. It’s also why comparing quotes from multiple providers can help you save money on a policy.
How to save money on new car insurance
To save money on car insurance for a new car, compare quotes before you buy a policy, raise your deductible and look for discounts.
If you didn’t compare car insurance quotes before you bought your new car, you should do it now — doing so could save you a good amount of money.
Increase your deductible
Raising your car insurance deductible lowers your payment. You’ll need to pay your deductible when you file a claim, though, so make sure you can afford that amount if you do this.
Ask about discounts
Most companies offer a range of car insurance discounts that can help you save money. Bundling your auto and home insurance policies with the same company is one example. You may get a discount for covering more than one car, too.
If you’re unsure which discounts you might qualify for, talk with an agent.
How much insurance do I need for a new car?
If you lease or get a loan for your new car, you’ll likely need to get full-coverage car insurance for it. If you pay cash for it, you can usually get just liability car insurance coverage.
A full-coverage car insurance policy typically includes liability, collision and comprehensive coverages.
- Liability coverage protects you if you injure someone or damage their car in an accident.
- Collision coverage pays to repair or replace your own car if it’s damaged or destroyed in an accident.
- Comprehensive covers damage caused by events other than collisions, like damage from falling objects, weather or theft.
Though you only need to buy your state’s required amount of liability coverage – and possibly uninsured motorist coverage – if you buy your car outright, think twice before doing this. It leaves you open to paying repair or replacement costs for your new car out of your own pocket.
What other types of new car insurance should I buy?
Depending on where you live, you may need to buy uninsured motorist coverage as well as liability coverage for your new car. You also may need to buy underinsured motorist, personal injury protection and/or medical payments coverages.
But even if they’re not required, you’ll probably want to buy collision and comprehensive coverage for your new car. You should consider gap insurance and/or new car replacement coverage if they’re offered, too. Both protect you if your new car is totaled or stolen.
New car replacement coverage
New car replacement insurance pays to replace your vehicle with a brand-new one of the same make, model and value if it’s totaled or stolen.
Gap insurance also protects you if your new car is stolen or totaled. With gap insurance, though, it pays the difference between what your car is worth and what you owe on your loan.
So, if your car loan is for $30,000, but your new vehicle is worth $23,000 at the time it’s totaled or stolen, gap insurance would cover the $7,000 difference.
How to switch car insurance to a new car
If you already have car insurance and you want to switch it from your current car to your new one, you can do so by calling your agent or logging into your account.
You won’t need to do this before you drive your new car off the lot. Your new car insurance grace period will cover your new vehicle for seven to 30 days, depending on your provider.
Which new cars are the least expensive to insure?
To get the cheapest car insurance on a new car, look for cars that are:
- Fairly cheap to buy
- Easy and/or cheap to repair
- Have small engines
- Have high safety ratings or scores
- Have low theft rates
Small SUVs and minivans tend to be the cheapest body types to insure. Avoid sports cars or luxury vehicles if you want cheap auto insurance.