Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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Laura Walker graduated college with a BS in Criminal Justice with a minor in Political Science. She married her husband and began working in the family insurance business in 2005. She became a licensed agent and wrote P&C business focusing on personal lines insurance. Laura serviced existing business and wrote new business. She now uses her insurance background to help educate drivers about...

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Reviewed by Laura Walker
Licensed Agent for 10 Years

UPDATED: Jul 8, 2021

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If you have just purchased a used car, one of the first things you will need to do next is buy auto insurance coverage.

Most states require that you purchase a minimum amount of liability car insurance coverage before you will be able to register any car you buy and drive it legally.

Many states also now have insurance and car registration systems electronically connected.

As a result, as soon as you buy an insurance policy for your car used car, when you go to register it the information will already be in the state’s computer system.

Simply enter your ZIP code into the FREE tool above to compare auto insurance rates instantly!

Car Insurance Requirements

Almost every state in the United States requires car owners to carry a minium amount of liability car insurance to register their car and drive it legally.

Liability insurance pays for repairs to a car if you damage it by causing an accident. It also pays for medical expenses related to injuries from an accident you cause.

However, it does not pay for repairs to your car or for medical injuries you or your passengers may receive if you are responsible for the accident.

The amount of mandated liability insurance varies from state-to-state, but the amounts are not usually very high.

As a result, if you only carry the minium amount of liability auto insurance, you may not have enough coverage to pay all the expenses the result if you cause an auto accident.

Therefore, it is usually a good idea to purchase additional coverage if you can afford it.

With only minimum coverage, your policy limits will probably not provide you with enough protection to cover repairs and medical expenses, leaving you open to a law suit for the remaining damages.

Some states also require personal injury protection auto insurance coverage. This kind of auto insurance is also known as “PIP” or “no fault” car insurance.

PIP insurance is additional coverage for medical injuries. It can be applied to medical treatments, hospital expenses, rehabilitation expenses and lost wages that are the result of an accident.

It can also be used to pay for legal expenses related to an accident you are being held responsible for causing.

Other Types of Auto Insurance

There are several other types of auto insurance you may want to consider purchasing for a used car.

Although many people think they need to purchase full coverage for any car they own, it may not be the smartest move financially.

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Collision Insurance

Collision auto insurance pays for repairs to your car if you are involved in an accident and hit another car, a building, fence or other objects.

If your car is damaged beyond the repair or the repairs are more expensive than the value of the car, then it will be declared a total loss and you will be paid the current value of the car.

For used cars, particularly those older than eight years, collision coverage is not absolutely necessary and may be a waste of money.

When a car is declared a total loss, you are only paid for the current value of the car at the time of the loss, which is often lower than the Blue Book value.

Instead of paying premiums for collision coverage, it may be financially smarter to save the difference in cost to use for the purchase of another car in the future.

Comprehensive Insurance

Comprehensive auto insurance pays for damages that are caused by anything other than your car actually hitting something. If your car is damaged by a tornado, hurricane or hail storm, repairs are paid through comprehensive insurance coverage.

Comprehensive car insurance also pays for damage that result from hitting an animal or if your car is vandalized.

It also provides coverage if your car is stolen. If your used car is financed or you have a lien against it, you may be required to carry comprehensive auto insurance until you pay off the loan.

Finding Insurance for a Used Car

Looking for car insurance for a used car is as easy as talking to an insurance agent. Insurance agents often work for independent agencies or directly for insurance companies.

An insurance agent will help you determine the best kind of insurance for your needs and the level of coverage you can afford. Often, an agent will offer you policy rates from several companies for price comparisons.

Looking Online

Another place you can find insurance for a used car is online. You can go directly to insurance company websites and find out information about car insurance products offered and get a policy rate quote within minutes from most insurance companies.

If you decide to go this route, it is a good idea to look at rates from several companies before choosing a policy.

Another online source is auto insurance comparison websites. These websites allow you to get auto insurance policy quotes from several companies within a short period of time.

You only need to enter and submit your information one time and you should receive multiple quotes via email or over the telephone.

Insuring Your Ride

Buying a used car is a great way to save money. Before you can register the car, you will need to also buy auto insurance.

Although minimum insurance will allow you to register your car and drive legally, it may not provide you with enough financial protection if you get in an accident.

Before buying car insurance, consider the best types of insurance to buy and compare prices from three to five companies. Be sure to enter your ZIP code into the FREE comparison tool below!

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