Do I Need to Insure My Car Before I Register It?

Almost every state requires you to insure your car before you can register it. Your state department of motor vehicles (DMV) will deny your registration without proof of insurance so, yes, you most likely need to insure your car before you even attempt to register it.

Registration Requirements

States require proof of insurance before allowing you to register because doing so helps reduce the number of uninsured drivers on the road.

When you purchase a new car, one of your first steps is to go the DMV for registration. To save time and trouble, bring a copy of your insurance policy with you to the DMV to show them in person. Some states’ motor vehicle departments are able to look up your insurance electronically if you provide them with the name of your insurance company, but it makes it easier to have your policy in hand.

Your auto insurance policy must meet the minimum requirements outlined by the state you live in. Minimums may include, but are not limited to, bodily injury and damage liability, uninsured motorist coverage, and personal injury protection. You must also have insurance coverage from the state in which you live, not a state you were living in before, if you’ve recently moved.

Neither insurance nor registration is optional. You can be prosecuted and fined for driving if you don’t have both of these.

What Can Cause a Suspended Registration

You must maintain your insurance coverage throughout the duration of owning your car or you’ll risk having your registration suspended. Some states will give you leeway in purchasing coverage on a new car, but if you don’t provide proof of coverage within a specific timeframe they will suspend your registration. Check your local DMV for specifics on the requirements for when to provide coverage after purchasing a car.

If you or your insurance provider cancels your insurance for any reason your state department can suspend your registration. Your state will outline the amount of time you have to obtain new coverage before suspending registration.

If it’s time for you to start shopping for car insurance, give an agent a call. He or she can help ensure that you sign a policy that stays within your budget and gives you all the coverage you need.


This site is a U.S. Consumer site. You can learn more about our site and privacy policy here.