Car insurance is something that is usually quite foggy and hard to understand, especially as it differs from State to State here in the US. With different States having different laws, and different insurance companies offering different policies, it can all get confusing.
This isn’t made any easier when you buy a new car, and you have to pick it up from the car dealership. And it isn’t any clearer when you are buying a new-to-me car from a second-hand dealer or private seller.
Even though you must be insured to be allowed to drive a vehicle on any public highway in the country, a lot of people seem to believe that you are exempt from this if you are picking up a car that is new to you.
After all, how are you supposed to insure a vehicle when it hasn’t even been fully transferred into your name yet? In this guide we’ll be clearing up the confusion that surrounds car insurance and providing you with an answer to the question, ‘Can I drive a car without insurance if I just bought it?’.
What is car insurance?
Car insurance is something that is universal, and in the majority of countries worldwide you will need to have car insurance to be able to legally drive a car.
When you are young it seems like all that stands between you and driving is obtaining your driver’s permit, but there is a lot more that needs to be considered.
A lot of people don’t understand car insurance or why they need it to be able to drive their own vehicle, so let’s take a look at what car insurance is.
Every car owner in the USA who intends to drive their vehicle on public highways and roads must have car insurance to be legally allowed to drive. This type of insurance works the same in the States as it does in other countries around the world which is why it is so important that you understand it.
Car insurance is a policy that you take out with a reputable insurance company that allows you to drive your vehicle. The majority of driving insurance policies are tailored to you and your experience, as well as your vehicle and the potential risk of its build.
It essentially works that you pay a premium either monthly or annually which secures the financial support of the insurance company if you were to ever be in a car accident.
Fault vs no-fault states
In the event of an accident, it is the responsibility of car insurance companies to pay out for both property and physical damage. But how this works differs from State to State. The majority of States are ‘fault’ or ‘tort’ States, which handle car accidents in the traditional way.
If you live in one of these States and find yourself in a car accident with another vehicle, you would put a claim in on your insurance, however, it is the responsibility of the other driver’s insurance company to give you a payout for any damage.
However, this only happens if the car insurance company can determine that you were not at fault for the accident.
In ‘no-fault’ States, the process is quite different. In these States, there are no laws surrounding ‘fault’ in car accidents, and so you must claim against your insurance if you end up in a car accident. Even if the accident was not your fault.
In a lot of cases, this can be frustrating as it means your Premium will increase following any accidents. However, ‘no-fault’ States provide you with more protection from civil suits and suing from the driver in the other vehicle.
In some ‘no-fault’ States, the other driver will only be allowed to sue you if the crash caused death or major life-changing injury. In other ‘no-fault’ States, the other driver will only be able to sue if the costs exceed a certain monetary amount.
Either way, this provides you with more protection against suing than you get in ‘fault’ States.
Can I drive a car without insurance if I just bought it?
So now that we’ve established what car insurance is, and how it works in different States, it’s time to answer the big question. The answer is no, you cannot drive a car without insurance if you just bought it.
Just because a car is new to you, this doesn’t mean that you are exempt from the law and if you are caught this could result in criminal charges against you. You must know that you need insurance, especially if you are buying second hand as some dealers may try to convince you that you do not need it.
If you are buying your car from a car dealership, they will likely organize car insurance that will allow you to drive the vehicle from the dealership to your home. You can then organize your own car insurance with a policy that suits you best.
Whereas if you buy a car second hand, it will be your responsibility to sort car insurance for the vehicle. This often means returning on a different day to pick up the car after you have purchased it, as this will give you the time to sort the insurance.
With the hassle that comes with organizing insurance, we understand that it can be tempting to take the risk and drive your new vehicle home without insuring it. But this is a terrible idea. Not only are you breaking the law and putting yourself at risk of criminal charges, but you are also putting yourself at huge financial risk.
All it takes is one driver having a bad day to hit you when you are driving your car home uninsured, and you could find yourself at risk of Court battles and a huge financial suit. So you should always insure your vehicle before driving it, even if it is new to you.
In short, no you cannot drive a car without insurance, even if you just bought it. It is illegal to drive without insurance and you put yourself at huge risk if you do not insure your car.
So you should always insure your car before driving it home, even if it is new to you.
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