To get car insurance, you need your driver’s license, vehicle registration, and Social Security number. You will also need to provide information about your car in order to get insurance for it, including the purchase date, current mileage, and vehicle identification number. In addition, car insurance coverage requires at least partial payment in advance, so you will need to have a credit card or banking information ready.
What You Need to Get Car Insurance
Social Security number
Vehicle Identification Number (VIN)
Vehicle purchase date
Vehicle’s current mileage
Your average annual mileage
Declaration page for your most recent car insurance policy, if applicable
Credit card, debit card or bank information for premium payments
Your personal information is important because it allows car insurance companies to check your driving and insurance history to determine your premium. For example, they will use your driver’s license info to check your record and find out about any moving violations from the past 3-5 years. And if your vehicle has a high annual mileage, an insurer will likely charge you a higher rate than someone who drives less frequently.
To get a car insurance card, request one by logging into your account on the car insurance company’s website or by calling customer service. Insurance companies generally send new customers two copies of their insurance card in the mail along with the other details of their policy when they sign up. Some insurance carriers also provide insurance cards via email, the company’s smartphone app, insurance agents, or brokers.… read full answer
Police officers commonly ask for proof of insurance when they pull you over. If you don’t have it, you’ll likely have to pay a fine.
2. You get into an accident
One of the first things that you need to do after getting into an accident is exchange insurance information with the other driver. Your car insurance card will have all of the information that the other driver needs if they plan to file a liability insurance claim.
If you lose your insurance card, or you realize the information is incorrect, you should contact your insurer immediately to get a replacement. Your insurance company will usually email you a temporary card or have you download one from their website until a physical card can arrive in the mail.
If your card is missing or contains errors and you aren’t able to provide proof of insurance during a traffic stop, you will likely be ticketed for driving without insurance. If you do have a policy, most states will allow you to provide proof of insurance after the fact and have the ticket dismissed. However, you might still need to pay fees or fines, and the added inconvenience can be avoided by keeping your insurance information in your car at all times.
Digital Insurance Cards
Insurance cards these days aren’t always physical cards. Digital insurance cards are considered legally acceptable proof of insurance for a traffic stop everywhere except New Mexico. But if you plan on using digital proof of insurance, make sure you know how to access it in advance so you’re not scrambling when you need it. Having a paper copy in your glovebox is still a smart back-up in case of technical difficulties, too.
At the end of the day, maintaining insurance coverage and keeping an accurate insurance card in your car can prove that you have the necessary coverage and protect you from the penalties that come with driving uninsured: fines, a suspended license, and even jail time.
You may have anywhere from 2 to 30 days to tell your insurance company that you bought a new car if you are already insured, depending on financing and coverage details. If you don’t have car insurance already, you’ll need to get a new policy before you can legally drive your new car. Most car dealerships require … read full answerproof of insurance to drive off the lot, so you’ll have to do some planning.
Either way, it’s wise to get car insurance quotes for different vehicles before buying one. That way, you’ll have a sense of which make and model is likely to increase or decrease your premium the most. At the very least, it’s something to take into account when picking your new car.
If you have an existing car insurance policy, there are two common grace periods for getting insurance on a new car:
2 to 4 days is common if you are adding a new car to an existing policy. Most car insurance companies will extend coverage to the new car in good faith, since it is usually required to get a loan. Such policies are designed to allow you to drive your new car home and make a call to your insurer quickly thereafter.
7 to 30 days is common if you are replacing a covered vehicle with a new car you purchased outright. In these cases, you can probably expect to have the same level of coverage as before. If you had liability-only coverage on the car you’re replacing, your new car would also have liability-only coverage.
Your policy term will transfer to the new vehicle in most cases, so you won’t have to start over with a new six-month or one-year policy.
If you are financing or leasing a new car, you may also want to consider adding gap insurance to your policy. Gap insurance will help pay the difference between the car’s market value and what you owe on your loan. Although collision coverage will pay fair market value for a totaled car, that may end up being less than you owe if you total your new car right away.
No matter how much time your insurance company gives you to get insurance on a new car, it’s best to reach out as soon as possible. Coverage specifics vary widely depending on state laws, insurance company rules, and individual policy provisions. If you miss a deadline, you could end up driving uninsured, which could result in legal fees, higher car insurance premiums, loss of your driver’s license, and more.
No, gap insurance will not cover a totaled car without insurance unless the gap policy specifically allows it, which is highly unlikely. In most cases, you cannot purchase gap insurance or file a gap insurance claim if you don’t have collision or comprehensive coverage.
If you purchased gap insurance from a dealer but have allowed your car insurance to lapse, you are likely violating your contract. Gap insurance is really insurance for your loan or lease, not your car, and any reputable lender or lessor will require you to maintain … read full answerfull coverage on a leased or financed vehicle.
For more information, check out WalletHub’s guide to gap insurance.
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