How to Move a Car Without Insurance

Don't worry about how to move a car without insurance ever again after reading our extensive guide. Driving a car you just bought without insurance is a bold move. It's so risky that law enforcement can impound your vehicle until your vehicle is registered and insured, but you can move a car without insurance by towing it behind an insured vehicle.

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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 a professional writer.

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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. Brad is licensed in all P&C lines.

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Reviewed by Brad Larsen
Licensed Auto Insurance Agent

UPDATED: Oct 23, 2020

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Things to Know

  • Auto insurance rules 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 motor vehicles’ department 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 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.

One of the questions we receive a lot is how to move a car without insurance. If you’ve just purchased your first car and you have no existing policy, it’s recommended that you don’t drive. For most dealers, the purchase can’t be completed without presenting proof of insurance coverage.

Read through this guide to learn how to move a car without different types of car insurance coverage and how to get insurance so you can drive it.

If you are moving a car, compare car insurance rates right here to find the best deal on the coverage you need. Enter your ZIP code above to begin.

How to move a car without insurance?

If you dare drive a vehicle 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 coverage the next day.

However, the best way to move an uninsured car is by towing it.

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Inoperable Vehicles

“What if I need to move my car that doesn’t start?” 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 registered with the Department of Motor Vehicles and operated on public roads are required to have insurance.

Can I register a car without insurance? The answer is no. The state won’t contribute to negligence. Therefore, you’ll need to show proof of insurance before you receive vehicle registration.

Towing is a safe way to move cars after an accident or move inoperable vehicles.

In that case, always make sure that you are carrying the appropriate auto insurance level 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 deciding 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 other insurance providers to varying prices in their quotes.

Get a quote for affordable car insurance by entering your ZIP code in the FREE online tool.

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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.

What is the best way to move a car that’s not working?

It would be best if you came up with a way to transport it to its new destination, and your best option is to tow it. Check out our guide on how you can tow a vehicle that’s not insured.

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 planning to move it.

If you have it towed, you don’t need insurance. However, if you decide to drive it to its destination, 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 power. If not, no need for insurance. The same case applies to a new car when transferring 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 lead car’s wheel needs to be a highly skilled driver. However, the chances of causing an accident, your skill level notwithstanding, 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

If the car you are using to tow the uninsured vehicle is covered, you will be protected in specific scenarios.

Let’s examine the percentage of drivers that don’t aren’t insured in each state before we move on.

Estimated Percentage Of Uninsured Motorists By State
RankStatesPercentage of Uninsured Motorists
3New Mexico21%
10Washington D.C.16%
13Rhode Island15%
14New Jersey15%
32West Virginia10%
35New Hampshire10%
37South Carolina9%
42South Dakota7%
45North Dakota7%
48North Carolina7%
50New York6%
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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.

According to the Insurance Information Institute, 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 insurance coverage.

Check with your auto insurance provider to confirm, don’t just assume. If not, you 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 it comes to towing vehicles.

For instance, some auto insurance companies will only provide auto liability coverage to the car being towed if they 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.

According to Harrelson Law Firm, hitch collisions have a higher chance of causing injury.

The insurer will repair or replace the lead car if it’s totaled, but any damages to the vehicle that was being towed won’t be covered. 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. Instead of towing it, you can decide to hire a towing company to move it for you.

However, be cautious when hiring a tow driver. Watch this news report on how some towing companies take advantage of some people.

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

The company will 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, it depends on the vehicle 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.

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What if I’m caught moving a car without insurance?

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

Changing car insurance when moving states is an appropriate measure if your company doesn’t do business in that state.

If you don’t have insurance, find a company that does business in that state. Once you have a permanent address, contact your provider and let them know about your address change.

Your car insurance rates may increase or decrease, depending on where you live.

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 your car’s release by insuring it in the first place.

Always shop around before you buy car insurance.

Before you move a car, compare car insurance quotes by entering your ZIP code into our free rate tool below.

Frequently Asked Questions: How To Move A Car Without Insurance

Our final section of this guide will go over answers to frequently asked questions that appear on search engines across the web.

What’s special about these questions is that they relate to how to move a car without insurance. Continue reading to learn more about driving your vehicle while uninsured.

#1. How long do I have to change my car insurance after moving?

You have 30 to 90 days to change your auto insurance after moving from one permanent address to another.

#2. How to move a car without a license plate?

If you buy a vehicle, you will have a temporary tag that lasts for a few days. This will give you a chance to obtain registration from your home state.

#3. Do you have to change car insurance when you move states?

No. If your insurance provider does business in the state you’re moving to, you can change your address. Even if it’s a temporary move out of state, car insurance coverage will continue.

If you are interested in changing car insurance when moving states, make sure you compare multiple car insurance quotes from any car insurance companies that operate in that state.

#4. Does car insurance change when you move?

Possibly. Depending on where you move, you may need to change minimum coverage based on state requirements.

Even if you move within a state, or across town, there may be changes to your car insurance rates based on the risk assigned to your new area.

#5. Can I have a car without insurance?

You can own a car without insurance. However, the vehicle can’t be driven without auto insurance.

#6. Can you register a car without insurance?

It depends on the state, but you’re likely not allowed to register a vehicle without insurance.

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