How to Get Car Insurance Before Buying a Car

You can get car insurance before buying a car with Jerry, with most providers offering rates as low as $110/month.
Written by Jasmine Kanter
Edited by Kianna Walpole
Before buying a car, drivers can either add their new vehicle to an existing policy or purchase a new
car insurance
policy with
at least a week in advance. In both scenarios, drivers will need to provide their new vehicle’s identification number (VIN), make, model, and year.

It’s possible to get car insurance before buying a car

Whether you’re in the market to purchase a new (or used) vehicle for yourself, your teen driver, or for occupational purposes, you will need a car insurance policy. To make sure all your bases are covered, it’s best to start
shopping for a new auto insurance policy
at least one week in advance. This way, it gives you time to compare prices, secure the coverage you need, and iron out any other details.
Keep in mind that if you’re planning on purchasing your vehicle from a dealership, you will be asked to provide
proof of insurance
before you can actually take your car home. Modern dealerships will generally
verify your car insurance policy
using insurance verification software or standard phone-call, so it’s ideal to ensure that you have a policy in place prior to streamline the buying process.
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New car grace period: When you purchase a new car—whether it’s from a dealership or a private seller—most insurance companies will provide you with a 7-30 day grace period if you’re looking to
add your policy to your existing coverage
. All you have to do is call your insurance provider with your new car’s VIN, mileage, and year, make, and model. You might even receive a
multi-car discount

The best way to get car insurance before buying a car

When buying a car insurance policy, you can either source quotes independently, partner with an insurance agent, or connect with a broker, like
. With the Jerry app, you can search for car insurance quotes and purchase policies all from the comfort of your home. Here’s how.

1. Gather the information you need

You can’t buy auto insurance without knowing your car’s:
  • Make, model, and model year
  • Odometer mileage
  • Vehicle identification number (VIN)
You’ll also need the contact information of every person of eligible driving age within your household, including their legal name, birth date, social security number, and driver’s license number. Keep in mind that the driving record of all drivers added to your policy will impact your final rate. 

2. Find the insurance coverage you need

Next, you need to choose your auto insurance coverage. This includes what
type of coverage
you prefer, the amount of coverage you need, and any additional coverage options. 
First thing’s first: you need to meet your
state minimum car insurance requirements
before you can register or drive your new car. At $927 per year (or $77 per month), you can purchase a minimum coverage policy to meet this requirement. This policy type comes with both
bodily injury liability
property damage liability
coverage—but the total coverage limits required will vary by state. 
When shopping for car insurance, it’s important to remember that not all car insurance providers calculate rates the same, meaning that your total cost may be different from one provider to the next. Here’s a look at how the minimum rate changes across some of the
best insurance companies
in the nation: 
Insurance company
Monthly coverage cost
Annual coverage cost
While liability insurance is
light on your wallet, it’s unlikely to meet
your insurance needs
. The state minimum coverage only covers medical expenses and property damage for third parties—not your own. As such, most drivers will benefit from a full coverage policy.
Opting for a
full-coverage car insurance policy
costs an average of $1,984 per year or $165 per month, but it’s worth it in the long run. Besides the state minimum coverage, it generally also comes with
collision insurance
comprehensive coverage
, which cover your expenses in the event of an
at-fault car accident
or theft. 
Here’s how much a full coverage policy may cost you with different insurers:
Insurance company
Monthly coverage cost
Annual coverage cost
Along with a full coverage policy, drivers should also consider increasing their liability limits beyond the state requirements. Most experts recommend limits of 50/100/50 or 100/300/100 to protect your assets and future income—however, the final amount is entirely dependent on your financial situation. 
If you’re leasing or financing your new vehicle, most car dealerships will require you to purchase a full coverage policy to cover any damages. With a car loan, it may be wise to also invest in
gap insurance
and a higher deductible in the event of a total loss.

3. Shop for car insurance

To help drivers find the best provider for them, Jerry experts recently conducted one of the largest consumer surveys in the nation. For this survey, over 15,000 respondents rated their experience with their current providers.
As a result, we learned the following: 1) the size of an insurance company doesn’t always equate to the cheapest car insurance rates, and 2) name-brand providers don’t always get the best scores with policyholders.
comparing car insurance companies
, it’s important to consider factors outside of cost, including customer service, claims handling, and overall satisfaction. Here’s a list of the providers who scored higher than average in our survey in each of these categories:
Insurance company
Overall Jerry rating
Customer service rating
Claims handling rating
But we can’t deny that cost is an important factor, especially if you’re a first time buyer or new driver. That’s why we not only picked the top providers with the highest scores—they also have the lowest rates. Take a look at the average monthly cost for car insurance with these insurers:
Insurance company
Minimum coverage
Full coverage
The providers above are only a short list of insurers who offer lower car insurance costs. If you choose to use the Jerry app to help you purchase car insurance, you can compare rates from dozens of top insurers in your area, all customized to your unique driver profile. 
But the savings don’t stop once you’ve secured a policy. Even after you’re insured and have your vehicle in the driveway, you can still save by shopping for car insurance with Jerry every six months.
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4. Apply any discounts for additional savings

Most providers offer
car insurance discounts
to help drivers continue to save on current policy costs. Here are some of the most common options:
  • Good driver: Drivers who maintain a
    clean driving record
    or remain accident-free for a specific period of time can earn savings with this discount.
  • Good student: If you’re a student buying a new car, you can offset the cost of
    new car insurance
    by maintaining a B average.
  • Paid in full: Sometimes car payments are enough to worry about. If you want to avoid monthly bills, consider paying your premium in full. Not only can you get a fair sized discount, but you may also qualify for a refund if you opt out of your policy early.
  • Multi-vehicle: If your household has more than one vehicle, you can lower your monthly premiums by putting your new vehicle under the same policy.
Once you know which discounts you’re eligible for, add them to your profile in the Jerry app and re-run quotes. You may see your rates lower!

How long does it take to get car insurance before buying a car?

Buying a brand-new car can be a long process, and adding insurance shopping to the list can make it feel even longer.
While it’s advised that drivers shop for car insurance at least a week prior, Jerry can help you find and purchase a
same day policy
with some of the top insurers in your area. The entire process, from quoting to securing a policy, takes approximately one to two hours. 
Looking for same-day coverage with some of the best providers?
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How soon after buying a car do I need insurance?

It’s best to buy insurance coverage for a new vehicle at least a week before picking it up, but if you have a policy with a
new car insurance grace period
, you have 7-30 days to find coverage.

Do you need insurance to buy a car from a private seller?

You need to buy car insurance before picking up a vehicle from a private seller because
it’s illegal to drive without car insurance
under any circumstance.

Can I drive a car I just bought without insurance? 

Unless your existing policy provides a
new car insurance grace period
it’s illegal to drive uninsured
no matter how recently you bought the vehicle.

What’s the best car insurance for a new car?

Based on Jerry’s data,
State Auto
, and
offer the
cheapest new car insurance
for a 2023 model. 

Meet our experts

Jasmine Kanter
Jasmine Kanter is a non-fiction writer specializing in comprehensive content that's accessible to beginners, experts, and everyone in between. Since joining the Jerry team, Jasmine has penned over 300 articles on car insurance requirements, driving tips, and car maintenance.
Prior to joining Jerry, Jasmine worked as a graphic designer, storyboard artist, and French customer service representative. She enjoys collecting hobbies and babysitting ducks in her spare time.
Kianna Walpole
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Expert Insurance Writer & Editor
Kianna Walpole is an insurance writer and editor with a comprehensive background in consumer behavior and online publishing. With experience in car insurance, maintenance, and repair, she is dedicated to building informative content that helps customers reduce costs while achieving the best service. Prior to joining the Jerry editorial team, Kianna worked as a junior editor in the content marketing industry, using consumer data and key insights to create and edit content for an array of large-scale clients in the real estate, cybersecurity, and healthcare industries.

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