How do I register and insure a car?

I've just closed on my first car, and I'm taking it home in a week! I know I need to register and insure it before I can drive it, but I've never done that before. How do I make sure it's registered and insured before I drive it out of the lot?

Answer
Congratulations! To keep it simple, here are the steps to take to make sure your car is registered and insured:
  • Step 1: Find an insurance provider: This can feel like a big task! To make it easier on yourself, try using a tool like Jerry. We’ll get you free quotes from different providers so you can easily choose the plan that works best for you. Once you’ve done that, we’ll get you set up with your new plan so that your car is insured easily and quickly! Just make sure to set the first date of coverage as the day you’re slated to take your car home.
  • Step 2: Print out policy paperwork: Your new insurance provider will send you a declarations page, ID card, and a binder letter showing the name and address of your lienholder, if applicable. Bring at least the ID card and binder with you to pick up your vehicle. If you are purchasing from a dealership, this is the last step. They will take care of your registration for you!
  • Step 3: Go to the DMV: If you purchased your car from a private sale, you must complete the registration process yourself. Bring your ID card, driver’s license, vehicle title, and method of payment to the local DMV to get your car registered! (As a heads up, some states require a vehicle inspection prior to registration—make sure to check if that’s a requirement for you!)
And that’s it! Your car should be insured, registered, and set to go.
Ben Guess
Answered on Nov 02, 2021
Ben has a BA in Journalism + Design from The New School, as well as three years’ experience in content writing and data journalism. They are deeply interested in how the car industry intersects with issues of inequity in the world, as well as in making auto insurance more accessible through writing. When they’re away from the keyboard, they enjoy baking, embroidering, and playing Dungeons and Dragons with friends. They are based in Boston, Massachusetts.
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