How to Move a Car With No Insurance

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Tonya Sisler has a Bachelor’s Degree from the University of South Carolina in Journalism and has worked for 15+ years in management. She has also completed a proofreading certification and is currently...

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Brad Larson has been in the insurance industry for more than a dozen years. He started out as a claims adjuster for a national carrier. He has since switched to the agency side of the business...

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Reviewed byBrad Larsen
Licensed Auto Insurance Agent

UPDATED: Mar 13, 2020

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Things to know...
  • The rules of auto insurance are different when a car is being towed versus when the same vehicle is being driven on the road
  • New cars that are yet to be registered with the department of motor vehicles can’t be legally operated on public roads, but they can be towed even without insurance
  • As long as it will not be moving on its own power, you don’t need insurance when transporting an unregistered vehicle from one location to another
  • If you get involved in an accident when towing a car, the auto liability insurance on the lead car will extend coverage to the car being towed

If you’ve just purchased your first car and you have no existing policy, it means there is no newly-purchased vehicle clause. For most dealers, the purchase can’t be completed without presenting a proof of insurance coverage.

So, if you dare drive it home without insurance and an unfortunate event of vandalism, theft, or accident occurs, consider it gone. You can’t drive a new car out of the driveway without insurance coverage.

Even if it’s a second-hand vehicle, you may have to inquire if the previous owner hasn’t canceled or transferred the insurance coverage before you drive it home and probably purchase your own coverage the next day.

However, the only way you can move an uninsured car is by towing it.

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Inoperable Vehicles


If you have an inoperable vehicle just sitting in your backyard or driveway, you don’t have to purchase auto insurance for it. Only automobiles that are registered with the Department of Motor Vehicles and operated on public roads are required to have insurance.

In that case, always make sure that you are carrying the appropriate level of auto insurance to avoid problems with state authorities.

If you are looking to purchase auto insurance for your car, compare quotes from several car insurance companies before you decide to buy from one of them. Car insurance is based on risk.

Car insurance companies use different methods to determine a customer’s risk level and charge premiums accordingly. Therefore, it’s possible for different insurance providers to different prices in their quotes.

Moving an Inoperable or New Car

At some point, you will need to move your inoperable vehicle from your driveway or backyard to some other place — say a junkyard or a friend’s auto body shop — if you finally decide to get rid of it.

But since the vehicle is not registered or insured, you cannot drive it on public roads.

You need to come up with a way to transport it to its new destination, and your best option is to tow it. The question is, do you need insurance for that? What if something happens on the road and your trailing car causes damage to third party cars or other property?

Whether you need car insurance for the vehicle, you are transporting depends on how you are planning to move it.

If you have it towed, you don’t need insurance. However, if you decide to drive it to its destination, well you have to carry auto insurance.

Simply put, you should have insurance on the vehicle you are moving if it will be moving on its own power. If not, no need for insurance. The same case applies for a new car when moving it from the dealer’s shop to your home.

Forfeiting auto insurance is legal just as long as the vehicle is not registered and you will not be driving it on public roadways.

What happens if there’s an accident?


When towing a vehicle, the person behind the wheel of the lead car needs to be a highly skilled driver. However, the chances of causing an accident, your skill level not withstanding, are pretty high.

If you have a car in tow, the following scenarios are possible:

  • You could collide with oncoming traffic
  • You may brake late and crash into another vehicle
  • You could veer off your lane causing a massive disaster on the freeway

No need to worry, though. If the car you are using to tow the uninsured vehicle is covered, you will be protected in certain scenarios. 

If you end up causing damage to property with either the lead car or the car being towed (which is uninsured), the lead car’s liability coverage extends to the trailing vehicle.

Therefore, any damages caused by the car you are towing will still be covered by your auto liability coverage.

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What if I have no insurance?

You don’t need car insurance to tow a vehicle from point A to point B. If the lead car is insured, the coverage will extend to the attached vehicle.

Note that the only coverage that extends to the towed vehicle is liability coverage.

Check with your auto insurance provider to confirm, don’t just assume. If not, may have to purchase separate coverage for the car that’s being towed.

In the event of an accident, you may be in for a big surprise and end up paying for the losses caused by the car you are towing.

Some auto insurance providers have specific rules when to comes to towing vehicles.

For instance, some auto insurance companies will only provide auto liability coverage to the car being towed only if the vehicles belong to the same person.

Be careful before you borrow a friend’s car to tow your uninsured vehicle. You might end up paying for the damages yourself.

You can choose to purchase coverage to avoid such losses especially if it’s a new car. Compare quotes from several providers to find a favorable deal.

What about the damages to the hitched vehicle?


If you have coverages such as collision and comprehensive added to your policy, only the lead car will be protected. The only coverage that extends to the hitched car is liability insurance.

The insurer will repair or even replace the lead car if it’s totaled, but any damages to the car that was being towed will not be paid for, physical damage coverage doesn’t extend to the towed car. You will have to pay for the physical damages on your own.

When You Hire a Towing Company

You can tow an unregistered vehicle from one place to another without car insurance; there’s nothing illegal about that. Alternatively, instead of towing it, you can decide to hire a towing company to move it for you.

The company will be liable for any damages if their driver causes an accident while towing your car.

The company will also be liable for the damages to your car, too. You have the option of purchasing extra coverage via the towing company, whether you buy or not depends on the car you are transporting.

In the event of an accident that causes damages to your car, you will not be able to prove negligence on the part of the towing company if you don’t buy the extra coverage offered.

What if I am caught moving a car without insurance?

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For every vehicle owner, the term “impoundment” can be quite scary. And yes, your vehicle will be flagged down and taken to the lot until you meet the state’s legal requirements.

Having your vehicle impounded will not only affect your normal operations but will come at a cost. Avoid the stressful situation of following up on the release of your vehicle by insuring it in the first place.

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