Can I Get a Car Inspection Without Insurance?

Vehicles in the United States generally require two types of inspections, including emissions inspections and safety inspections. If you want to register your car within your state, then you’ll need to get it inspected. Not all states require emissions inspections, but all states require a safety inspection (unless you’re driving a vehicle that’s 35 years or older).

You know that you need a car inspection. However, you’re wondering if you can get a car inspection without insurance. Can you get a car inspection without insurance? Do you need to provide proof of insurance at the inspection station in order to complete the inspection? Today, we’re answering any questions you might have about the inspection process.

Most States Will Ask for Proof of Insurance During an Inspection

car inspectionTypically, when you roll up to an inspection station, you’ll be asked for three things:

  • Proof of liability insurance, which is the most basic level of insurance required to drive on all public roads in the United States
  • Payment for the inspection (required whether your vehicle passes or fails the inspection)
  • Current photo ID

Vehicle inspection stations vary between states. However, it’s unusual for a vehicle inspection station not to ask for proof of insurance.

The reason is simple: you’re getting your vehicle inspected because you want to drive it on public roads. You need to drive on public roads to get to the inspection station. In order to legally get a vehicle from your location to the inspection station, you’ll need insurance that allows you to legally drive on public roads. That’s why you’ll need to provide the inspection station with proof of insurance. There’s also the more obvious reason: you’ll need insurance when registering your vehicle anyway.

You Can Drive a Vehicle Without It Being Registered

Most states allow you to temporarily drive a vehicle without registration. States approach this issue in two ways:

  • Some states allow you to request a temporary 30 or 45 day registration while you wait for a vehicle inspection to be complete
  • Other states allow you to drive the vehicle directly to the first place of storage from the place of purchase (say, from the dealership to your home) without registration

In both these situations, however, you still need the properly-assigned title of the vehicle and proof of insurance. If you don’t have either of these things, then you’re unable to legally drive on the road.

You Cannot Renew Vehicle Registration Without Proof of Car Insurance

After your vehicle completes its inspection, you’ll want to register your vehicle with your local Department of Motor Vehicles.

When you register your vehicle, you’re required to provide proof of insurance. You cannot renew or apply for registration without proof of car insurance protection.

You’ll need to provide proof of a certain minimum amount of car insurance. The specific amount varies between states. In California, for example, you’re required to have liability insurance with a minimum of 15/30/5, which means $15,000 of liability coverage for the injury or death of one person, $30,000 of liability coverage for injury or death per accident, and $5,000 of liability damage insurance for property damage.

If you cannot provide proof of insurance, then you cannot register your vehicle.

Compare Quotes Online to Explore the Best Car Insurance Options

Maybe you need a short-term insurance plan. Maybe you need instant car insurance. Whatever your situation may be, there are insurance products available to meet your unique needs.

Compare quotes online to find the best car insurance options for your situation. Some people only require car insurance to drive their vehicle to the inspection station and the DMV, for example. You might be suited for a short-term car insurance policy. In other cases, comparing quotes will help you access the best prices on car insurance in your area regardless of whether you need a long-term or short-term policy.


Yes, you’ll need to provide proof of insurance when taking your vehicle to most car inspection centers. It’s one of three things required by most inspection stations along with payment and a piece of valid photo ID.


  Comments: 7

  1. Rose Marie Trio

    I took a vehicle off the road at the end of 2017. It was not been driven all of 2018. The insurance on my other registered vehicle has increased for 2019 because I did not renew the inspection sticker last year. Why would I have to renew an inspection sticker if the car is not registered, insured or driven?.
    Why did this happen?

    • Andrew@4AutoInsuranceQuote

      Hi Rose Marie,
      The best thing to do would be to contact your state’s Department of Motor Vehicles and your insurance company. They will be able to tell you exactly what happened. They might not even be related, since it sounds like you have two cars, and the insurance only went up on the one that you have registered. It might have gone up for many reasons, including a company-wide rate increase. It doesn’t seem like you would have to renew your inspection sticker on a car that isn’t registered, insured, or on the road, so there must be a different reason, but you should check with your state’s DMV and insurance company.

  2. My inspection station put the month backwards on my sticker! It’s seems obvious, but do I need to take it back and have them replace it? For example, instead of 08 for August, it was applied 80.

    • Andrew@4AutoInsuranceQuote

      Hi Michelle,
      Yes, you should take your car back and have the sticker applied appropriately. The last thing you want to happen is to get pulled over for not having a correct sticker, or simply confusing the police. The inspection station should do it free of charge since it was their mistake. It’s best to get this fixed as soon as possible so that the station knows they did it and there is no further confusion.

  3. It is good to know that you need proof of insurance to have a safety inspection done on your car. My wife is just got a used car, but the insurance hasn’t sent us the official documents yet for our insurance. We’ll have to wait a few days till we get the safety inspection done.

  4. I was turned down for a safety inspection because the technician said that i cant use a printed copy of my insurance. So now my Mailed me a temporary copy of my insurance (not a card) just a piece of paper, but the paper color around the policy on this paper,
    which looks like a card, (but is not) Has a texture or color like the insides of a payroll check. Greenish blu kinda. I was just wondering if that is acceptable also. There is no perforated edges or marks at all.
    Lets just say that one corner of the paper has a different texture/ color..
    Over who is ins, policy #, ect.
    Thank you,

    • Andrew@4AutoInsuranceQuote

      Hi Joe,
      The type of paper shouldn’t matter as long as your can prove a valid insurance policy, with the effective dates, name of the company, and policy number. Just show them everything that you have and you should be fine. If they won’t take what you have, as long as what you have is valid, then I would simply go to a different safety inspection place, because you are proving that you have insurance and they’re not taking it. Find a place that will take your proof of insurance.

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