Whether it’s time to replace an aging vehicle or if you’re simply acquiring another vehicle you will need to update your auto insurance to properly insure your newly acquired vehicle, satisfy any loan or lease requirements, and be able to register and obtain a license plate for your new vehicle.

What information will your insurance company need?

With regard to specifics of the car you’re acquiring the insurance company will need the year, make, model, and vehicle identification number (VIN) for the vehicle you are purchasing.

Vehicle Identification Number (VIN)

  • For any vehicle built since 1981 the VIN will be 17 digits long
  • Each VIN confirms information, including safety features, specific to the vehicle
  • The letters I(i), O(o), & Q(q) are not used in a VIN to avoid confusion with the numbers 1 & 0
  • Confirming the VIN is accurate on insurance documents is important to avoid potential problems when registering your vehicle, renewing a plate, or documenting to a lender you are maintaining required insurance on your vehicle

Your insurance company will need to confirm the date the new vehicle should be insured, whether this is an additional vehicle or replaces an existing car, the primary driver & use of the vehicle being added to your policy, and the specific coverage you want for this vehicle.

If you are leasing or purchasing a new car you may want to ask your agent about additional coverage options, such as loan/lease gap and new vehicle replacement, that may be worthwhile.

Finally, the insurance company will also need to be informed whether the vehicle will be leased or financed and, if so, through which financial institution and how the lender or leaseholder needs to be listed on your insurance policy (the dealer or lender should be able to provide this information).

What if you purchase a car after office hours and aren’t able to immediately contact your insurance company?

Most auto insurance policy automatically extend coverage for a newly acquired vehicle, providing a window of time for you to notify the insurance company and update your policy.

This means if you buy a car in the evening or during a weekend you should be safely covered driving your new car and can notify your insurance agent when their office is next open.

If you are purchasing a car from a dealer the dealer may require insurance documentation to complete the transaction, so whenever possible it’s advisable to speak with your insurance agent beforehand. In those situations your insurance agent should be able to provide documentation in advance to prevent any unwelcome delays finalizing your purchase and driving home with your new vehicle. The agent would then confirm the purchase and tidy up details afterwards.

It’s worth mentioning it can be well worth your time to check insurance costs before you commit to purchasing a specific vehicle. Our article, “Does the kind of car I drive affect my insurance rates?”, details how insurance companies rate different vehicles. Your insurance agent can assist you when researching a new car by providing quotes comparing insurance prices for any vehicle(s) you are considering purchasing.

Click here to read a helpful article: 3 ways to save on car insurance.

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