What is a New Car Insurance Grace Period?

Drivers with an existing policy may have a 30 day grace period before they need to add new cars to their insurance.
Written by Liz Jenson
Edited by Amy Bobinger
If you don’t already have a
car insurance
policy, you’re legally required to purchase one for any car you buy before driving off the lot. But if you already carry insurance for another vehicle, you may be entitled to a grace period of up to 30 days before you’ll need to add your new car to your insurance.

What is a new car insurance grace period?

When you purchase a new car, you need insurance for your vehicle as well. While it’s a great idea to purchase insurance before heading to the dealership, some drivers who already carry insurance may qualify for a grace period of up to 30 days, during which they can legally drive their new vehicle without purchasing a new policy.

To qualify for a new car insurance grace period, you must have an existing policy with an insurance company that offers this option. If your insurance provider offers a grace period, you’ll have until the end of that period of time to
transfer your policy to a new vehicle
While a grace period is convenient, don’t rely too heavily on this temporary coverage. Register your new vehicle under your policy or find new coverage as soon as possible to avoid getting limited coverage or, worse, an unintentional coverage lapse.

Which car insurance companies offer a new car grace period?

Most insurance providers offer a new car grace period of some kind, although the terms of this grace period will vary depending on the insurance company.
Here are some examples of grace periods offered by different car insurance providers, along with the average annual rate to insure two vehicles with full coverage and
’s ratings of each company.
Insurance company
Grace period
Averages 10 days (actual grace periods vary by state)
30 days
Between 7 and 30 days
From 24 hours to 14 days
Up to 30 days
Between 7 and 30 days
Up to 30 days
Even if you don’t see your provider on this list, they may offer a grace period of some kind. Contact your insurance agent to learn more about your options.

What type of coverage will you have during a new car insurance grace period?

Most grace period insurance will cover your new car under the highest level of coverage your current policy contains—meaning that if you have a
full coverage policy
collision coverage
comprehensive coverage
, your new vehicle will be protected with the same coverage limits and deductible.
However, this means the inverse is also true. If your policy is a state minimum
liability coverage
-only policy, that’s the only protection you’ll get for your new vehicle, too. Sometimes, liability insurance (including both
property damage liability
bodily injury liability
) won’t apply to your new vehicle at all, leaving you uninsured in the event of an at-fault car accident.
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Read your policy details carefully to ensure you understand your coverage during a new car insurance grace period.

What happens if you don’t get insurance coverage before your grace period ends?

If you fail to officially add your car to your policy before your grace period ends, you’ll experience an
insurance lapse
, which will go on your record and make it very difficult for you to find cheap car insurance in the future. The longer your insurance lapse, the higher your insurance rates will be—though any lapse at all results in a higher insurance premium.
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What happens if you get into an accident during your new car insurance grace period?

If you get into a car accident while relying on your new car insurance grace period, you should always contact your insurance provider first. During your grace period, the
insurance claims process
should be similar to standard procedure.
You may also be asked to present
proof of insurance
following a car accident, so be sure to carry your insurance card for your current auto insurance policy in your new vehicle, just like you would in your existing car.


Can you buy a new car without insurance?

If you already have an auto policy for a different vehicle, you may be covered by your existing policy for a certain amount of time (on average, 10 to 20 days). Most car dealerships won't allow you to finalize your purchase
without proof of insurance
, but you may not experience these restrictions if you buy a car from a private seller. 

Is minimum coverage a bad idea for a new car?

It’s heavily encouraged to carry a
full coverage insurance policy
for any new car you buy. While state laws only mandate that you carry
liability coverage
(and, in some states,
personal injury protection
underinsured/uninsured motorist coverage
, and/or
), state minimum coverage won’t pay for any damages your vehicle sustains in an accident.

Can you shop for a new policy during your grace period?

You can absolutely register your new car under your existing insurance policy, but you might miss out on personalized savings if you don’t shop around first. If you decide to compare your options during your grace period, prioritize
shopping for car insurance quotes
based on the auto insurance coverage you need. This process is quick and easy with an independent broker like
on your side.

Do all insurance policies have a 30-day grace period?

Not all insurance companies offer 30-day car insurance coverage for new vehicles. Some providers will offer grace periods as short as 24 hours or, in some cases, no grace period at all. To learn more about your options, you’ll need to contact your insurance provider.

Is gap insurance required for new cars?

If you drive a leased vehicle, your lender may require you to carry additional insurance, including
full coverage
gap insurance
, based on the car insurance requirements in your leasing contract.

Meet our experts

Liz Jenson
Liz Jenson is an insurance writer who specializes in general automotive and insurance topics. Liz’s mission is to produce informative and useful content to help car owners make smart choices when buying cars and car insurance. Since joining Jerry in 2021, Liz has written nearly 4,000 long- and short-form articles on topics including state-specific insurance recommendations, common car insurance questions, and deep dives into vehicle model details.
Before they came to Jerry, Liz was a full-time student at Indiana University, Bloomington working on a double major in English and French.
Amy Bobinger
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Licensed Insurance Agent — Expert Insurance Editor
Expert insurance writer and editor Amy Bobinger specializes in car repair, car maintenance, and car insurance. Amy is passionate about creating content that helps consumers navigate challenges related to car ownership and achieve financial success in areas relating to cars.
Amy has over 10 years of writing and editing experience. After several years as a freelance writer, Amy spent four years as an editing fellow at WikiHow, where she co-authored over 600 articles on topics including car maintenance and home ownership. Since joining Jerry’s editorial team in 2022, Amy has edited over 2,500 articles on car insurance, state driving laws, and car repair and maintenance.

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