Personal Finance Expert
Tyron Jones is a finance expert who has operated within the auto insurance business for more than 10 years. He has written many other finance related articles for a number of prominent publications.
Buying a used car is a smart financial decision in most cases. You get a new, perfectly functional vehicle, but you don’t need to pay the (sometimes astronomical) costs associated with a brand-new car. Moreover, a used car holds its value better than a new car. Overall, this makes a used car an extremely prudent purchase.
However, one thing that some people get confused about when buying a used car is insurance. We frequently get questions about the best way to get used car insurance, what kind of insurance to get, when insurance is needed, and so on.
That’s why we decided to put together this article. We’ll cover all the information you need to know to get the best deal on insurance for your new pre-owned vehicle. We’ll help you find the best insurance, tell you how to get insurance, when you need to get the insurance, and more. We’ll wrap up by helping you understand the best ways to save money. Use this information to make sure you and your new-used car are protected from liability and loss.
Finding the Best Auto Insurance for a Used Car
One thing is important to remember when you’re talking about car insurance. There’s no such thing as one best product. Every person will get different quotes from different car insurance companies. Each insurance company structures their quotes differently. That means instead of looking for the best insurance company, you should look for the best insurance company for you. That way you can be sure you’re getting the best deal.
The best way to find your best car insurance company for a used car is by using internet comparison tools. These allow you to get estimated quotes from multiple different insurance companies at once. As a result, you save time and energy and can easily compare the prices different companies are offering you.
Another important thing to keep in mind is that you search for the right kind of coverage and compare similar coverage offers to each other. There’s a whole section later on about how you can determine what the right level of coverage is for you. The important thing for now is that you make sure you’re making an apples-to-apples comparison.
For example, a liability only policy is always going to be cheaper than a comprehensive coverage policy. That means comparing those policies won’t actually tell you who the best car insurance company is for you. Comparing like policies lets you figure out who is actually offering you the best price.
What Companies Are Best for Used Car Insurance?
As before, there’s no single answer to this question. However, there are ways to determine who the best company is for your specific needs. One of the best ways to start is by looking at reviews for car insurance agents in your area. You want to look at specific agents and not companies because you’ll be working with the agent if you need to use your insurance.
When looking at different agents you should see how well they rate on customer service. That, along with the price, is going to be the main difference in the quality of your experience with your used car insurance provider. This is because insurance companies are bound by the law to act in certain ways, so one company isn’t any more likely to deny your claim than another, so long as everyone is operating fairly.
It’s also important that you look at ratings for local agents instead of companies as a whole because insurance is regulated at the state level. That means a company that scores well in 49 states may not be a good choice for people in your state. However, you can only get that information by looking at individual agents rather than entire company reviews.
How to Get Car Insurance for a Used Vehicle
One of the most common questions people ask us has to do with how to get insurance when they buy a pre-owned vehicle. The process is actually pretty easy. We’ll break it down into steps.
- First, find the car that you want to buy.
- Get the make, model, mileage, and VIN of the car.
- Report this information to your insurance company to get a quote.
- Agree to the policy.
That’s all you need to do! Most dealerships require people to have insurance before they let them leave the lot with the car. As a result, people calling to get insurance on a used car they’re purchasing is a fairly standard transaction for an insurance company. That means they have the people, equipment, and procedures on hand to get you on the road and driving as fast as possible.
There is one other thing you need to know when you’re getting insurance for a pre-owned car you want to buy. Specifically, the insurance company will ask if you’re buying the car or financing it with a loan. There’s a reason for this, but we’ll cover it in our section on choosing the right used car coverage.
When Do I Need Car Insurance When Buying a New Vehicle?
This is a very common question that we get from readers all of the time. Most readers ask us how long the grace period is for insurance, or other variations on that question. This answer can be somewhat complex, but we’ll do our best to keep it simple.
The short answer to the question of when do you need to buy insurance when you buy a used car is immediately. Many dealerships won’t let you drive off the lot before you’ve notified your insurance company about the new car or purchased a plan for the car you’re buying.
Some states also have this law. It’s important to keep in mind that insurance is regulated at the state level. That means every state has different laws regarding what insurance companies can and can’t require, what they are and aren’t allowed to do, and so on. That means one state may allow an insurance company to offer a “grace period” before you tell them about your new vehicle situation. Other states don’t allow car insurance companies to offer this.
For states that do allow some kind of insurance grace period, the amount of time ranges from 3 to 7 days. For most policies in most states, your new used car will be covered as your old car for this period of time.
However, you need to notify your car insurance company of the change as soon as possible to make sure your coverage will apply in the event of an accident. Your insurance company may be able to deny your claim if you never told them you were now driving a different car. That could leave you in a tough spot, potentially out tens of thousands of dollars as you try to replace your car yourself.
One nice thing is that it’s incredibly easy to switch your car insurance. Most insurance companies have a 24/7 website where you can perform this operation. Most also have a 24/7 phone line where you can call in and get help from a human being right away. As a result, there’s really no need to delay changing your insurance to your recently purchased used car immediately.
Choosing the Right Used Car Coverage
The final piece of the used car insurance puzzle is picking out what kind of coverage you want. Broadly speaking, there are two types of car insurance. These are called liability coverage and comprehensive coverage. There’s some overlap, but there’s also some important differences between the two.
Both liability and comprehensive coverage will cover the damages from an accident where you’re at fault up to your coverage limit. However, that’s where liability coverage ends. It doesn’t pay for damages to your car in an accident where you’re at fault. Comprehensive coverage does. Comprehensive coverage makes sure you’re protected from other things as well. These things can include theft, extreme weather, rental car service while your car is repaired, damage from vandalism, and more.
As a result, comprehensive coverage will always be more expensive than a liability policy from the same company. However, it does ensure that your car will be covered under almost any circumstances.
Many people will need to select between comprehensive and liability coverage based on their personal financial situation and the amount of risk they’re willing to tolerate. If you want to save money and are confident that you won’t be at fault in any accidents, then you might prefer liability coverage. If you want to make sure you’re not on the hook for repairs or replacing your car, then you might prefer comprehensive coverage.
However, there is one situation where this decision is already made for you. People who finance their used car purchase will almost certainly be required to get comprehensive coverage. This is included in most financing agreements to protect the lender. If you’re in an accident and you still owe money on your car, then any damages you’re awarded will go to the financing company first until your remaining balance is paid off, with you getting the remainder.
This requirement exists because lenders fear that if someone’s car is totaled, then that person won’t finish paying off their car loan. The result is lost money for the lender.
Tips for Getting the Best Used Car for Insurance
Now that you understand how to get insurance for your car and when you need insurance, it’s time for some tips on how to ensure you’re getting the best insurance for your situation.
- Always use internet search tools to compare insurance offers in your area. The more offers you compare, the more likely you are to find the best rate for you.
- Make sure you do an apples-to-apples comparison when you’re searching for quotes. Don’t compare liability only policies to comprehensive policies
- Check out reviews for local agents for the companies you’re considering. Pay special attention to things like customer service and satisfaction. You should also try and find out how timely different agents are with responses.
- Decide ahead of time if you want liability or comprehensive coverage. This will make your price search more accurate and will save you time.
- Liability only coverage is better the cheaper your car is. The more expensive your car is, the more you have to gain from a comprehensive policy.
- Pay attention to terms and agreements in your financing agreement. You may be required to have comprehensive auto insurance.
- Switch your insurance coverage before you leave the dealership. That way you can be sure that your car is covered should the worst happen on the way home.
With these tips you should be able to find the right coverage at the right price. Use this information to aid you in your search for the best possible used car insurance.
Checking for Used Car Insurance Discounts
Everyone needs car insurance, but that doesn’t mean that you need to pay super-high rates for your car insurance. Many people don’t realize this, but there are lots of different discount programs that car insurance companies offer. You can take advantage of these programs to lower your monthly premium. That means more money in your pocket and more peace of mind that your vehicle is protected from liability in an accident.
Insurance prices are based on risk. A car insurance company charges you based on how likely they think it is that they’ll need to pay out on a claim. You can take steps to lower that risk and get rewarded by the car insurance company. Some of the most common discount programs around include:
- Additional driver training – attending a driver’s ed class or defensive driving class can knock up to 20% off your premium.
- Good Grades – students with good grades are less likely to be in an accident. So study hard, get A’s, and save some money.
- Safe Driver – many companies offer a device or tracking app that records how you drive. Using one of these devices and driving safe is a great way to save on your used car insurance.
As you can see, used car insurance doesn’t have to be complicated. Just follow the advice in this article and you’ll be driving your used car safe and insured in no time.
If you're planning on buying a used car, you'll need to buy insurance before you can drive it on the road. If you have questions about buying car insurance for used cars, our FAQ section is the perfect resource.
General Insurance Questions When Buying a Used Car
How long do you have to get insurance after buying a used car?
This can vary depending on the state, but in most cases, you will need at least short-term insurance immediately when you purchase a used car (if you're planning on driving it). If you purchase from a dealership, they'll often have methods to help you access insurance.
Is there a grace period for car insurance when buying a used car?
The exact rules for car insurance grace period depend on the state that you're living in, so you need to make sure to check with your local DMV to ensure you're following guidelines. In many cases, you'll need insurance to drive the car.
Do you have to have full coverage insurance when financing a used car?
This will depend on the individual financing company. In some cases, you will need full coverage because the financing company wants to protect the asset that they're financing. Related: Where can I find full coverage auto insurance cheap?
When to buy car insurance for used car?
If you can, it's best to buy car insurance for a used car before you buy the car. In most cases, you will need some form of coverage to drive the car off the lot. If you're buying from a dealership, they'll likely have available solutions at the dealership.
Do you need gap insurance when buying a used car?
This will depend if you're purchasing a car using finance or if you're paying for the car in cash. If you're buying the car in cash, you won't need to consider gap insurance as much as if you're purchasing it using finance.
How much insurance do you need on a used car?
This depends if you're financing it or not. If you're using finance, your financing partner may have requirements that dictate how much insurance you need. This is because your lender will want to protect the car's value from a large accident.
How much will be the insurance for used car without credit?
This depends on the insurance provider you're using, the car you're buying, and a host of other factors. While your insurance rates can increase because of bad credit, you can still access affordable insurance if you shop around for better rates.
What are insurance rules when buying a used car?
This depends on the state you're living in – you will often need to find some type of car insurance to drive your car home. This is typically very convenient if you're buying the used car from a dealership.
How much is the average full coverage for auto insurance used car?
The average cost of full coverage for a used car will depend on the state that you're living in. For example, your insurance rates in Michigan will likely be much higher than your average insurance rates in California. Full coverage will cost you more than liability insurance.
What does an insurance claim mean on a used car?
An insurance claim means that you're claiming against your insurance policy – this doesn't change regardless of whether it's a new or used car. If you make a claim, you're telling the insurance company you need money for damages.
What to do when you purchase a used car Progressive insurance?
If you know what car you're going to purchase, you can head to Progressive's website to find out how much a quote will cost you. You can sign up for a policy before you drive your used car back to your house.
First time driver buying used car with no insurance how to drive home?
You need to try and get insurance before you drive the car home. Make sure to go online and apply for an insurance policy. While rules vary depending on the state that you're buying the car in, it's essential to make sure that you're covered.
What happens if you get in an accident when driving home from buying a used car with no insurance?
If you don't have any insurance coverage, you can be personally liable for getting in an accident, regardless of when you bought the car. This can also bring scrutiny from the police if you're caught driving without insurance. Never do it.
How long do I have to notify insurance company of new car used?
You need to let your insurance company know as soon as possible. If you know what car you're going to buy, it's a good idea to contact your insurance company before you make the purchase. This will help you ensure that you're covered.
When you buy a used car on Saturday what about insurance?
Fortunately, you can now find insurance policies online any time of day. This is an excellent way to make sure you can get insurance coverage on weekends and after normal business hours. If you buy from a dealership, you can typically still get insurance via the dealership on the weekend.
How much is auto insurance a month for a used car?
This depends on too many factors to estimate without a quote. Your credit score, driving record, neighborhood, and a variety of other factors will dictate the insurance rates that you're offered by the insurance provider.
Does insurance change when buying a used car?
This depends what you mean – if you want your car insurance to go to another used car, you need to tell your insurance provider if you want coverage when you buy a new car.
Whose insurance is used if I drive someone else's car?
This depends on your insurance policy and state. In some cases, if you have car insurance on your own car, this can cover you on another car. Make sure to check that your policy offers this.
How to buy insurance for used car bought on Craigslist?
You have a few different options if you want to buy insurance for a car on Craigslist. If you already have insurance for your current car, you might be able to extend this to a new car to drive it home. Otherwise, you can look online for policies.
Types of Insurance When Buying a Used Car
This FAQ section offers information about different types of used car insurance policies.
What is gap insurance on a used car?
Gap insurance helps you protect yourself from depreciation on a car. While this is more useful for new cars, as they depreciate quickly, you can also purchase it for a used car. Still, the older your car is, the less it's important to buy gap insurance. You'll likely only need gap insurance if you're financing a car – it helps you pay off your loan if you total your car and the value of the car is less than your loan.
What kind of insurance do I need for a used car?
The type of insurance that you need will depend on what type of car that you purchase. If you buy it with financing, you will likely need more coverage – your lender will request it. If not, you have more control over your insurance.
What insurance do I need for a used car loan?
The type of insurance that you need for a used car loan will depend on the lender that you're working with. In most cases, you will need full coverage. This is because the lender wants to protect the value of the car from any accidents.
What insurance do I not need on used old car?
If the car is extremely old, you probably don't need gap insurance. In addition, you might not need full coverage if the car is not worth much money at all. If it's cheaper to replace your car than buy full coverage, it might not be worth it.
What does gap insurance cover for a used car?
Gap insurance provides you with coverage between the value of your loan and the value of your car. If your car is worth less than your loan, your gap insurance will pay off your auto loan if you total the car.
How much is gap insurance on a used car?
This depends on a range of factors. If your car is going to depreciate quickly, your gap insurance will cost more. The more coverage you need, the more you'll pay. Make sure to shop around for better rates.
What insurance gets used if I hit another car?
If you hit another car, your insurance will have to cover the costs if you're at fault for the accident. If you don't believe you're at fault, it's important to contact your insurance company as quickly as possible.
If you're buying a used car, where do you get gap insurance from?
If you're buying a used car, you can find quotes for gap insurance online. If you know what you're buying before you buy it, you can get quotes before you buy the car. The dealership may also offer it.
When loaning a car to a friend, whose insurance is used?
This depends on your policy. If your friend has an insurance policy that covers him on other cars, his insurance might be used. You should always double-check with your insurance provider before lending a car to a friend.
Saving Money on Used Car Insurance
If you want to save money on used car insurance, this is the perfect FAQ section for you.
How much does one car insurance go up after buy a used?
It doesn't necessarily go up if you buy a used car. If you buy a car that isn't expensive to insure, you might end up saving money by buying a used car. This being said, sometimes new cars are cheaper to insure because they have more safety features.
Why insurance for used car is expensive than the new cars?
While insurance for used cars isn't always more expensive than new cars, the safety features in new cars can mean that insurance companies provide cheaper quotes for new cars – they might be safer to drive.
When financing a car new or used can you have liability insurance only?
This depends if you finance the vehicle (and what state you live in). For example, if you buy your car using a lender, they might require that you have comprehensive insurance. While if you buy the car in cash, you may only need liability coverage car insurance. Related: What are the differences of full coverage vs liability insurance?
What to drop in used car insurance?
This depends on your appetite for risk. If you don't feel you have a need for roadside assistance and other features, this might be a good way to save money. This being said, you might also look at increasing your deductible to save money. Related: What to do if I can't afford car insurance?
What to do when you just bought a used car and need insurance?
If you're buying a car and you need insurance, make sure to go online and look for policies before you buy it. You can typically get an insurance quote online in a matter of minutes. You may also get insurance directly through the dealership (if you're shopping at a dealership).
If you have any other questions about car insurance for used cars, make sure to check out the questions and answers below:
How much car insurance do I need on a used car in 2020?
This depends on what type of car you're trying to purchase. It also depends if you're buying using a lender or not. If you're using a lender, you'll need to abide by your lender's insurance coverage requirements.
Why is my used car insurance is so high?
If you're insuring a used car, it might cost a lot because of your credit score, driving record, neighborhood, or a host of other factors. Your deductible can also help you lower your insurance rates.
What happens if insurance coverage isn't continuously used on a car?
You still must pay for insurance if you're not continuously using the car. Unless you plan on not driving the car at all, you'll want to make sure that you have coverage.
What auto loan lenders don't require collision insurance on a used car?
This will depend on how much you're borrowing and a host of other factors. It's always a good idea to get collision coverage if you're buying a car using a lender because it can protect your from having to pay off a car that is wrecked in an accident.
Should you buy additional insurance when buying a used car?
You should always buy insurance when you buy a used car. It's the best way to protect yourself (and it's the only way to legally drive your car). But you can also weigh up the costs of comprehensive insurance if you want to cut back on your insurance premiums (it's not always as worth it if your car is used).
What does comprehensive car insurance pay for older used car?
Comprehensive car insurance coverage depends on the insurance company. In most cases, comprehensive coverage will protect any damages that happen to your car (as well as the car that you hit).
How much car insurance should I buy on a used car costing 8500?
There's no set formula for how much insurance you should buy on a car. If you're using finance, you'll need to follow the instructions of your loan provider. If not, make sure you at least have enough insurance to satisfy your state's insurance regulations.
How does insurance work when you buy a used car from dealership?
When you buy a car from a dealership, you'll need to have insurance to drive it home. While you can typically buy insurance online before you go to the dealership, most dealerships will also offer you insurance from an in-house team.
Will the insurance be higher when it is sold as a used car?
This depends on the situation of the person who is buying the car. If they have a good credit score and good driving record, they can likely access good insurance policies. A lot depends on the new driver.
How fast can I put a used car under my insurance?
This will depend on your insurance provider, but it will typically be an extremely quick process. If you call your insurance company, they might be able to add a used car onto your insurance policy in a matter of minutes.
How to add used car to insurance?
If you want to add a used car to your insurance, you'll need to contact your insurance company and notify them. There are some insurance companies that allow you to add used cars to your insurance through their online policy management portal.
How to buy insurance for a used car?
If you want to buy insurance for a used car, you can compare rates online and sign up for a policy in just a few minutes. If you buy from a dealership, you can typically buy insurance directly through the dealership.
How does insurance work when buying a used car?
If you're going to buy a used car, and your current insurance policy doesn't cover you on a new car, you'll need to purchase an insurance policy before you can drive it home. If you buy from a dealership, you can typically buy insurance in the dealership office.
Buying a used car in Georgia when do I need to get insurance?
Make sure to get insurance if you're planning on driving the car. You're not allowed to drive a car in Georgia if you don't have insurance. Look for a quote online if you need quick access to insurance.
If I'm buying a used car but don't know what I'm buying how do I get insurance to drive it home?
You can buy ‘drive away' insurance that provides you with temporary coverage. Alternatively, you might be able to get your current insurance provider to provide coverage for when you first pick up the car.
When showing proof of car insurance when buying a used car, do they call the insurance company?
This depends who you're purchasing the car from. Still, make sure not to fake your proof of insurance. It's illegal to drive a car without insurance, and it can leave you without a serious bill if you get into an accident.
When buying a used car, does previous owners insurance still cover?
No. You need to have your own insurance coverage to ensure that you can legally drive the car. Always make sure you have some form of insurance coverage if you're going to buy a car and drive it.