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UPDATED: Mar 13, 2020
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Car insurance coverage is designed to protect motorists from financial liability risks as well as exposure to significant expenses in the event of a car accident, vehicle theft, and other similar types of issues.
Most states require drivers to maintain coverage at all times, and violation of these laws can result in severe penalties in some cases. For example, some states will issue hefty fines or suspend the driver’s license for noncompliance with this law for even a short period of time.
When you are selling your car to a buyer, the buyer may be interested in having the existing car insurance policy transferred to him or her as well. This transfer will help the new buyer to avoid possible lapses in coverage immediately after the transfer of ownership.
However, you may be wondering if a transfer of car insurance is legal and how to complete the process.
Compare car insurance quotes today to find the best rate for the coverage you need. Enter your zip code above to begin.
Transferring Car Insurance Coverage to a New Owner
Your existing car insurance can typically be transferred to a new buyer with a simple phone call to the provider, but each car insurance company is different. Therefore, you need to contact your existing provider to determine if this is a possibility with their company.
Car insurance is typically purchased on a vehicle, and insured drivers are listed on the policy.
Transferring ownership of the policy changes who pays for the policy as well as who the insured drivers are.
Because the billing status and insured drivers change, car insurance companies may create a new policy rather than transfer the old coverage over.
When this situation happens, they may keep the existing coverage in place until the new coverage is fully active. This practice can prevent a lapse in coverage.
The Need to Update Auto Coverage Quickly
The new policyholder for the auto coverage needs to contact the insurance company as soon as possible. Each insured party may have different coverage needs, and the new insured party may prefer to increase coverage to maximize the protection that it provides.
Accidents and mishaps can happen even on the first day of ownership, so it is important to upgrade coverage as soon as possible.
When you are trying to decide how much coverage to buy, focus on the need to purchase optional coverage types that extend beyond the liability coverage required by law in most states.
For example, comprehensive insurance may also provide you with benefits related to your own vehicle repairs and medical expenses in the event of an accident. You may also purchase rental car reimbursement coverage, towing service reimbursement, and more.
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*based on a survey of 1,000 car insurance customers
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Exploring Existing Car Insurance Coverage Protection
While one option to avoid a lapse in coverage is for the vehicle’s seller to transfer the existing coverage to a new owner, another option is for the buyer to inquire about coverage through his or her existing provider.
Some car insurance policies are written so that they provide short-term coverage for recently purchased vehicles.
For example, if you trade in the insured vehicle and buy a new car at the dealership at the same time, the buyer’s established insurance company may provide benefits for a few days.
However, it is critical that you contact your insurance company as soon as possible after taking ownership of a new car.
For example, if you purchased a car on Saturday when your insurance company is closed, you should contact your insurance company on Monday morning to update your coverage.
This may be a great time to review existing benefits and to make updates as needed or desired.
Buying New Car Insurance Immediately
Another idea is for the vehicle’s buyer to purchase new auto insurance immediately. A new policy can typically be set up within a few minutes, and most vehicle purchases are not done impulsively.
For example, why you are at home mulling over the offer that you want to make on the car, you can shop around to request a few quotes. Insurance companies can save quotes so that you can quickly activate coverage when you take ownership of the vehicle.
Factors That Affect Auto Insurance Rates
Whether you are buying new coverage or transferring existing coverage to a new driver, it is important to understand that there are many factors that can affect the cost of auto insurance. A premium may be affected by:
- The type of vehicle being insured
- The insured’s driving history
- The age and gender of the insured driver
- The insured driver’s credit rating
- The zip code where the driver lives
Discounts to Save Money on Coverage
If you are concerned about the cost of insurance on your new vehicle, you may be able to save money on car insurance by taking a few easy steps. For example, shopping around is a great way to identify potential savings available through various insurance companies.
You can also adjust your deductible to lower the premium. In addition, some of the more common discounts offered by many car insurance providers include:
- A safe driver discount
- A discount for safety equipment on the vehicle
- A senior citizen discount
- A good student discount
- A bundled policies discount
Remember that you may qualify for multiple discounts for more comprehensive savings.
If You Cannot Find Car Insurance Coverage
Some car buyers may have trouble finding auto insurance. This is common if a driver has a bad driving record or if he or she lives in a zip code that is statistically risky.
If you cannot find auto insurance through leading insurance companies, consider buying coverage from a high-risk insurance company or through your state’s assigned risk pool.
Insuring New Vehicles Immediately
Transferring ownership of a vehicle to a new driver may be possible, but drivers should shop around for coverage to find the best rates on coverage that is right for them.
Accident and mishaps behind the wheel can happen at any time, and legal consequences associated with not being properly insured can be severe.
With this in mind, it is important to insure new vehicles immediately, and you may benefit from shopping around before you take ownership of a specific vehicle.
Compare car insurance quotes today by entering your zip code into our free rate comparison tool below.