Can I Get a Car Inspection Without Insurance?

Most states will ask for three things before doing a car inspection: 1) proof of liability insurance, 2) payment for the inspection, and 3) up-to-date photo ID. While you may be able to get a car inspection without insurance, you will not be able to renew your vehicle's state registration without proof of auto insurance coverage. You also won't be able to legally drive without car insurance even if your vehicle passes state inspection.

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Rachel Bodine graduated from college with a BA in English. She has since worked as a Feature Writer in the insurance industry and gained a deep knowledge of state and countrywide insurance laws and rates. Her research and writing focus on helping readers understand their insurance coverage and how to find savings. Her expert advice on insurance has been featured on sites like PhotoEnforced, All...

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Leslie Kasperowicz holds a BA in Social Sciences from the University of Winnipeg. She spent several years as a Farmers Insurance CSR, gaining a solid understanding of insurance products including home, life, auto, and commercial and working directly with insurance customers to understand their needs. She has since used that knowledge in her more than ten years as a writer, largely in the insurance...

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Reviewed by Leslie Kasperowicz
Farmers CSR for 4 Years

UPDATED: May 3, 2021

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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. Do you have to have insurance to get your car inspected? What will make a car not pass inspection? Do you need to provide proof of insurance at the inspection station in order to complete the inspection? Understanding auto insurance rules about inspections is the first thing you need to know.

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Do I need insurance for a state inspection?

Typically, 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)
  • Slug 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.

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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 cheap 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.

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Conclusion

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.

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