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Do You Need Auto Insurance To Get a License Plate?

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It’s common to wonder whether you need auto insurance to get a license plate in a new state. The answer is typically yes, though there are some exceptions. To register your automobile and obtain tags, you must provide proof of insurance or financial responsibility in most states.

Most drivers are looking for the best auto insurance plans possible when they’re about to receive a new license plate. Our team has reviewed major insurers across the U.S. to identify which companies offer the strongest value along with exceptional coverage.

Is Auto Insurance Needed To Get a License Plate?

Auto insurance is vital for several reasons. It’s required in most states and takes care of many important medical bills and car repairs after a car accident. Coverage is so critical that you need auto insurance to get a license plate and to receive car registration in most states.

There are a few places where you can get a license plate without showing proof of insurance. New Hampshire and Virginia are the only states where it’s legal to drive without auto insurance, so keep in mind that you’ll likely need to add coverage afterward.

The seven states where you can get a license plate without showing proof of financial responsibility are:

  • Arizona
  • Mississippi
  • New Hampshire
  • North Dakota
  • Tennessee
  • Washington
  • Wisconsin

New Hampshire and Virginia don’t require drivers to carry liability insurance, but drivers in the Old Dominion must pay a $500 uninsured motorist fee for a license plate if they lack coverage. Those in the Granite State must provide proof of financial responsibility to register a car, and most drivers do so by adding auto insurance.

What Are the Insurance Requirements To Get a License Plate?

While each state requires different types of insurance to meet minimum coverage standards, there are a few constant factors. One is that liability coverage is necessary in nearly every state, and this includes both bodily injury and property damage liability insurance. It’s generally easy to find cheap auto insurance if you’re just getting liability coverage. 

Many other states require uninsured motorist coverage and personal injury protection to get a license plate. Reach out to your state’s department of motor vehicles (DMV) or a local insurance agent to find out what coverage is required for a new license plate or for the reinstatement of an existing one.

What Are the Other Requirements To Get a License Plate?

You’ll need to show proof of ownership through your car’s title along with your current insurance card (ID card). If you need a title or registration card, make sure to head to your state DMV with your new car’s bill of sale.

You’ll also need to pay registration renewal fees or car registration fees if you just bought the vehicle from a dealership. First-time owners of the car may also need to pay a sales tax on their car and run it through an emissions test.

Further insurance information can be found on government websites if you’re wondering about license plate sticker renewal. Know that rules are somewhat different if you’re opting for self-insurance, which is an option for insuring fleets in states such as New York and California.

Why Is It Important To Have Auto Insurance?

You’ll most likely need auto insurance to get a license plate, so we’ll explain some of the pros of having such coverage below.

Offers Financial Protection

Accidents happen, and you could be held financially responsible if you cause damage to another person or their property. That’s where car insurance comes into play.

Auto insurance can protect you from having to pay out of pocket for damages from an accident that you cause. Your insurer will pay the bill for necessary car repairs to others, and the same protection is possible for you through add-ons such as collision and comprehensive coverage.

Covers Most Legal Fees

Most car insurance plans cover legal fees if you’re sued after an accident. It’s rarely cheap to cover legal fees stemming from a car crash, so you’ll likely save considerable money by having your auto insurer cover the costs.

Note that you’ll still have to pay legal fees if you decide to sue someone else. Car insurance covers defense attorneys after a car accident, but you will need to cover the costs if you’re ready to sue another driver.

Reduces Potential Medical Bills

Liability auto insurance covers other drivers’ medical bills after accidents that you cause. If you add medical payments coverage or personal injury protection to your plan, the same insurance benefits will be available for you as well.

Medical expenses add up quickly, so the auto insurance that’s needed to get a license plate may save your bank account after an accident. You could face lower medical costs and may even receive lost wages if you cannot work due to the wreck.

Less Pain at the Repair Shop

When you have collision and comprehensive auto insurance, you’ll be able to worry less when your car heads to a repair facility. That’s because most repair costs other than your deductible will be fully covered by your insurer.

Your insurance company may also have a list of reputable repair shops found in your area. Those who need to tow their car to the garage may also rest easier if they add roadside assistance to their coverage plan.

Our Recommendations for Auto Insurance

Since you’ll likely need auto insurance to get a license plate, it’s important to find out who offers quality coverage for less. For this reason, it’s smart to get multiple car insurance quotes to find the best rates on the market.

We’d strongly recommend considering coverage from GEICO, USAA and Progressive.

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GEICO: Most Discount Options

GEICO is an excellent provider for those who want insurance coverage with a ton of discount options, as it’s known for affordable rates and strong plans. The company offers various discounts as well, ranging from those for good drivers and strong students to savings for motorists with anti-theft systems in their cars.

USAA: Best for Military

Military members, veterans and their families often find reasonable rates from USAA, though eligibility for the provider is somewhat limited. If you qualify for auto and home insurance services from USAA, know that the company receives standout customer service scores and usually offers competitive pricing.

Progressive: Best for Accident-Prone Drivers

Our Progressive insurance review names it as a top choice for those who’ve gotten speeding tickets and DUI violations or for drivers who’ve recently been in accidents. That’s because Progressive is less likely to reject applicants with mixed driving records, and the company doesn’t boost premiums too much after these violations.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What do you need to get a license plate?

You’ll need to register a vehicle with your state to get a license plate. This process typically requires you to submit proof of insurance along with your vehicle registration, car title and driver’s license. You also need to know your car’s make and model, vehicle identification number (VIN) and odometer reading before receiving a license plate.

What are the dangers of driving without auto insurance?

There are many dangers of driving without auto insurance. You could be fined or arrested by law enforcement if you’re caught driving without insurance, you could be sued for damages after a car crash and you’ll be responsible for paying all repair costs and medical bills out of pocket.

Do you need a license plate to sell a car?

You don’t need a license plate to sell a car, but it’s required that you remove your old plates before handing over the vehicle. Many states make you return your plate to the state’s DMV, though not all do. That’s because your license plate number is connected to you, so future damages could be tied to you regardless of your fault.