Lauren Lewthwaite Last Updated On: February 12, 2024

What to Know Before You Buy Insurance for a Used Car?

Just because your car isn’t brand new doesn’t mean that it’s not worth insuring. It’s still carrying the precious cargo that is your life, and invested in it is a hefty chunk of your hard earned money. And we can’t underscore this enough driving without insurance is illegal in most states.

So, it’s worth getting a used car insurance policy. While you don’t have to have the policy the moment you purchase your used vehicle, you should have some used car insurance quotes so you can get a plan in place, fast and the price ranges of the quotes may surprise you. 

Some insurance providers have lower rates for older cars, while others are higher. Insurance companies make these decisions internally, so the only way you can really know which provider will offer you the best rates is to get a few quotes and compare prices. 

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Table of Contents

Do I Need Car Insurance For Used Cars Before Buying?

Unless you live in Virginia or New Hampshire, you need car insurance to drive any kind of car – used or brand new. Even in these two states, you will be financially liable in the event of an accident. If you think car insurance premiums are a lot, you should see how expensive it can be to replace a bumper or fix a broken leg. 

All this said, you don’t necessarily need insurance to buy a used car. You simply won’t be able to get behind the wheel and drive until you’re covered with at least the minimum insurance, whatever that might be in your state. Usually, it’s liability insurance

Some dealers or sellers will even ask that you show proof of insurance before they hand the car over. So, unless you’re planning on buying the car and having someone else drive it home, you should have your used car insurance policy in place.

Compare Quote to Find the Best Used Car Repair Insurance

Don’t shop for your car before you shop for your insurance. Certain vehicles are more expensive to insure, so it’s a good idea to shop for your car and insurance in tandem, using the functionality of comparison quotes to see if you can afford the car insurance before you buy the car.

Thankfully, comparing quotes to find the best used car insurance doesn’t have to be a herculean task. We can help. We’ve curated a list of the top insurance providers for used cars so when you request a quote from us, you can rest assured you’re getting the best prices.

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How Much Used Car Insurance Do You Need For Your Car?

Each state has different minimum requirements for liability insurance. You will often see this minimum coverage expressed like this: 15/40/25. What this means is that your coverage must include $15,000 per person for bodily injury coverage, $40,000 per accident for bodily injury coverage, and $25,000 in property damage limits.

The good news is that you don’t have to find your state’s minimum requirement. The providers from which we get our used car insurance quotes will know what you require as soon as you enter your ZIP code.

Of course, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t know anything about your car’s liability insurance and what it covers. Let’s look at that now.

Coverage You Need for Your Used Car Insurance Policy

  1. Per accident bodily injury limit: Per accident, there’s a maximum amount your provider will pay out in bodily injury claims. So, in that 15/40/25 policy we looked at, the 40 refers to the medical bills and injury claims, which are limited to a total of $40,000 for anyone who is injured. If there is a cost over that limit, it’s up to you to pay it.
  2. Per person bodily injury: This amount covers both medical expenses and lost wages of people who you injured with your car, including pedestrians, people in other cars, and people in your car who are not related to you. It also pays for your legal fees.
  3. Property damage: If you have other insurance policies like home insurance, bundling them together with one provider can save you money. Get a quote for both insurance rates at the same provider to see if it’s lower than each insurance separately, but providers generally like selling you more policies and will incentivize you for that.

In most states, this is the minimum. However, you may want more coverage to ensure you are fully protected.

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How You Can Insure a Used Car?

Insuring a used car is much like insuring a new one. The first thing you need to do is call your existing agent and let them know you would like to insure a different and/or another vehicle. If you do not have car insurance yet, then it’s time to get used car insurance quotes. Not quote—but quotes. Getting a few quotes to give you a solid picture of the best plan for your budget and the coverage you need.  It’s best to start getting quotes before you buy the car. Here’s how you can go about doing that.
  1. Get information on the car you’d like to purchase. (i.e. make, model, year, miles, equipment package.)
  2. Get online comparison quotes. Our free quotes will allow you to see what top used car insurance plan providers offer. Best of all, you can get your quotes quickly and easily. 

Tip: Save your quote! Quote is valid for a set period of time—the exact length depends on the insurer. However, if you keep your quote, all you have to do is fill in the exacts that you did not have before you purchased your car (like the VIN) and then you can get set up and on the road, quickly.

  1. Consider your coverage. As we already mentioned, liability is the bare minimum you have to have in most states, but you may also want to consider collision, comprehensive coverage, and roadside assistance. 

While $40,000 in bodily injury coverage may seem like a lot, if you injure three people with your car with a total of $15,000 in medical bills, then that’s $45,000—$5,000 more than your insurance covers that’s going to come out of your pocket. 

Remember, most of all, that liability covers the bodies and properties of others—not you or your car. Consider comprehensive and collision coverage to protect your ride and yourself. 

  1. Set your deductible. A deductible is the amount of money you pay out-of-pocket before your insurance steps in to cover costs. Usually, car insurance deductibles are around $500 to $1,000. If your deductible is higher, your car insurance is cheaper. 

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Quick Tips to Save Money on Your Used Car Insurance Plan

Now, we’re going to share some super easy ways to save serious coin on your used car insurance.  
  • Choose a higher deductible.We’ve already touched on this a bit, but it bears repeating: by selecting a higher deductible (and therefore paying more out-of-pocket in the event of an accident before your insurance kicks in), your monthly premiums will be lower. Of course, you have to be sure you can afford to pay a higher deductible (say, $1,000) before you commit.
  • Ask for discounts.There’s a world of amazing discounts that could save you hundreds of dollars a year on your used car insurance policy. As your provider about good driving discounts, safe driving class discounts, discounts for your car’s safety features, new client discounts, loyalty discounts as well as military and low-mileage discounts.
  • Bundle your plans. Another great way to save on a used car insurance policy is to bundle your home, auto, and life insurance (and any other insurance you may have) with one provider. Companies will often offer discounts for this loyalty.
  • Pay upfront. By paying upfront for the entire term of your policy (a year or six months, usually), you can save money on administration fees.
  • Register for auto pay. Some car insurance companies will toss clients a small discount if they sign up to have their premiums automatically deducted from their bank accounts. This saves providers time, and they return these savings to you.

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If you are financing a used car, then yes, you should have full coverage, which includes comprehensive coverage, collision, and liability. This coverage will cover yourself and others if you have an accident.

If you’re not financing the used vehicle, then it’s up to you. This said, there’s a general, wise guideline that says that you should spring for the full coverage if the cost of this upgrade is 10% or less of your used car’s Blue Book value.

Not necessarily. Here’s the thing: GAP insurance (guaranteed auto protection) is created to bridge the gap between what you owe for the car and what the car is worth.

An example: Your car is worth $5,000 but you have $6,000 left on your car loan. If this is the case, GAP insurance would step in and pay the $1,000. However, the value of used cars doesn’t tend to depreciate as quickly as new cars, so GAP insurance for used vehicles is usually not worth it.

There’s no way to answer this for your needs, specifically. Car insurance costs depend on where you live, your credit score, your sex, your driving record, your vehicle, and other factors, including your car insurance company.

However, if you want a general idea, car insurance in the US is on average $563 per year for minimum coverage and $1,738 for full coverage.

Other than the fact that used cars will usually cost less to insure in comprehensive and collision, not really! Your liability insurance may be just as much, however, since a used car can do as much damage as a brand new one.


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