Chelsey Tucker graduated with a Bachelor of History degree from Metropolitan State University in 2019. She now writes about insurance with her specialty being life insurance and has been quoted on Help Smart Phone and MEL Magazine.

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Dan Walker graduated with a BS in Administrative Management in 2005 and has been working in his family’s insurance agency, FCI Agency, for 15 years. He is licensed as an agent to write property and casualty insurance, including home, auto, umbrella, and dwelling fire insurance. He’s also been featured on sites like

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Reviewed by Daniel Walker
Licensed Auto Insurance Agent

UPDATED: Mar 19, 2020

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The lowdown...

  • You need proof of insurance to register your vehicle
  • You should provide any proof you can of coverage when registering your car
  • Communicate with your insurance company when you are switching cars so that you will be charged the correct rates
  • Know your state minimums and make sure you always carry proof of insurance with you in your car

If you are looking for car insurance, you may wonder if you can get car insurance without registration papers. Perhaps you are in the market for a new car, or you are between cars and shopping around for a new one.

Either way, it pays to look around and see what you need to do to make sure your new vehicle is registered properly and covered with the right insurance.

Make sure you pay a fair price for auto insurance. Compare rates today using our free tool.

Which is first?


The truth is that proof of insurance is required to register a vehicle so some people can get caught up in a “catch 22” situation before they realize it.

When you purchase a car, you should provide proof of insurance that you already have before signing for the car. Then you can register your new car under your insurance.

To do this, you will need to contact your insurance company and explain to them that you have purchased a new vehicle and that you need to transfer your paperwork and insurance to your new car.

Once you contact the insurer, you will be able to take your new proof of insurance to your registration office to register the new car and get tags.

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Why Insurance is Required to Register a Vehicle

New cars are usually the property of a finance company that requires proof of insurance to register the car at the time of purchase, so you need to produce whatever insurance you have on your previous car to get the new car transferred to your name.

Car finance companies and banks want to know the car they are selling you is going to be protected in case of an accident. Some even require both collision and comprehensive coverage as well.

The Registration Process


Remember that producing your current insurance at the time of your car purchase is only part of the process. To register your car in your name, you will have to go down to your local revenue office to produce your insurance and paperwork.

This involves getting license tags in your state of residence and a car license plate that identifies you within your state database. Follow this link to learn how to register a vehicle.

If you had rather register your vehicle online, you can go to a car registration site and start the process that way.

With online registration, there will be a digital trail, and that may protect you should there ever be a question about whether or not your car is officially registered.

Registering your car and car tags is the way that your state police and officials keep up with your identity as a licensed driver when they report any traffic violations or accidents.

Be sure to provide the correct information when you register your vehicle and get insurance so that it will all be correct in the records.

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How do states track your insurance record?

States track when you register your car and whether you are covered by adequate insurance.

They have to have a reason to pull you over other than their database due to due process, but if you are pulled over for any other reason, you must be able to provide proof of insurance.

You should never let your insurance policy lapse for any reason as this will become a part of your driving record and can raise your premium rates and damage your driving record.

You can get a copy of your driver record at sites such as this one in Tennessee. It is important that you are aware of the status of your driving record and that you have the same information that your auto insurance company does.

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First-Time Insurance Buyers


When you are getting insurance for the first time, you may have to provide proof of registration of your vehicle. This can be nothing more than the VIN of your vehicle and proof of purchase.

But you will also have to provide proof of the following:

  • your drivers’ license
  • your social security number
  • other information about yourself that will identify you

This proof is required so that your identity is legally registered with your state of residence. If you are still in the process of registering the car to your name, it may show the last owner’s information until the title is changed to yours.

When talking to the insurance agent of the company you plan to purchase insurance from, just give them all of the information that you have about yourself and your vehicle.

They realize that, if this is your first car, you may sometimes be purchasing insurance at the same time of registration.

Your local registration office must have insurance proof, even if it is just a temporary insurance card to give you your tags and license plate in your state.

How to Choose the Best Insurance Plan

If you are buying a new car or are between cars and just, need insurance to drive someone else’s car, talk to several different insurance companies first to find out what they offer.

Explain to them that you need insurance for a new car or as supplemental insurance while you are shopping around and they can advise you as to the type of insurance you will probably need.

At the very least you will need the following types of insurance coverage:

  • Bodily injury liability – Remember that bodily injury liability amounts vary from state to state and you will need to know the requirements within your state.
  • Property damage liability – In addition to bodily injury liability, property damage liability protects you from being sued due to damage you cause with another driver’s vehicle. Again, know your state minimums before you decide which kind of insurance and how much you should carry.
  • Collision – Collision insurance protects you from the loss of your own property and helps you afford to get your car repaired following an accident, even in cases when it was your fault.
  • Comprehensive – Comprehensive insurance is not required but it is a good idea if you want to protect your vehicle from other incidents of damage such as theft, vandalism, hail, or other acts of nature or accidents.

Some Things to Consider


When shopping around for a vehicle, it doesn’t hurt to keep your insurance in mind too. If you are on the fence about two different types of automobiles, give your insurance companies a call and ask them which is more expensive to insure.

If it is a bill that you are going to be paying each month, you may want to opt for the cheaper rate. Some sports cars cost up to $100 more per month than their less sporty counterparts.

Do you want to pay $100 more for a car just because it is a sports model?

Perhaps some people do, but you should think about the value of saving money with your premiums while shopping for insurance.

As you shop and compare the various rates, make sure you are always straightforward with your insurance agent and ask the tough questions that will get you the best rates for your money.

If you are under 21, a young driver with a good driving record, or a good student, you may qualify for excellent premium rates. It never hurts to ask, and it could save you a great deal of money in the long run.

Remember, the most important thing is that you have adequate insurance coverage. Don’t get caught up in the paperwork and forget to do something that can cost you big down the road (no pun intended)!

Do your homework, shop, and compare and choose the company and the policy that is best for you and that you will feel confident with. Use our comparison tool to get started right away.