Everything You Need to Know

Auto insurance providers generally have several trusted inspection agencies that work together. Inspection services provide photos from a routine car inspection for insurance information. State Farm, GEICO, Allstate, and Progressive are some insurance companies that use photo inspections to report vehicle statuses. Many insurance companies will require an inspection when purchasing higher-level coverage or after a traffic accident when a claim is issued.

Do I Need an Inspection to Purchase Car Insurance?

The short answer is “it depends.” Some insurers will require a pre-insurance inspection. Other companies will only require them during a claims process, and some states require an inspection before you can drive per CarInsuranceComparison.

Brand new cars usually won’t need to be inspected to get car insurance. However, if you purchase a used vehicle and wish to get full coverage, your insurance company may require an inspection before they agree to insure you. The top insurance companies generally don’t trust everyone to be honest about the previous damage to their vehicle. Insurance companies do this to reduce the risk of insurance fraud.

If you purchase a used vehicle and cover it with comprehensive and collision insurance without getting the car inspected first, when you call to submit a claim for a dent after a few weeks, your provider may not cover you. If the insurance company had to pay out all illegitimate claims, premiums would skyrocket for everyone, as they are spending money on damages that never occurred.

Another good reason to get an inspection before buying insurance is that a simple inspection will show if your new insurance won’t cover any issues. This way, if you have no damage during the inspection and get a few dents sometime later, your claim is justified.

What Is a State Required Inspection?

Each state has its own auto insurance requirements. Most states have general vehicle inspections for one reason or another. Many states require you to have car insurance to pass a vehicle inspection. You should purchase insurance if you plan on driving to the inspection. This is so that you are covered if you get into a traffic accident while on your way to getting inspected. Several insurance discounts rely on state vehicle inspections, so you may want to send your vehicle inspection report to your insurance company to maintain certain discounts.

Here is what you need to know about state vehicle inspections:

  • Most states require an inspection before you can register your vehicle with the department of motor vehicles (DMV).
  • The purpose of a state inspection is to ensure that the vehicle is safe to drive and is not a danger to others on the road.
  • If an inspection is required to get insurance in your state, the inspection may be to prevent insurance fraud.
  • If your state does require an inspection, there will be areas licensed by the state that can perform a vehicle inspection. These are usually fairly common in large cities and are widely available.

    According to TheZebra, these are the states that require vehicle emission inspections.

    • Arizona
    • California
    • Colorado
    • Connecticut
    • Georgia
    • Idaho
    • Illinois
    • Indiana
    • Louisiana
    • Maine
    • Maryland
    • Massachusetts
    • Missouri
    • Nevada
    • New Hampshire
    • New Jersey
    • New Mexico
    • New York
    • North Carolina
    • Ohio
    • Oregon
    • Pennsylvania
    • Rhode Island
    • Tennessee
    • Texas
    • Utah
    • Vermont
    • Virginia
    • West Virginia

      These are the states that do not require vehicle inspections.

      • Alaska
      • Arkansas
      • Florida
      • Iowa
      • Michigan
      • Minnesota
      • Mississippi
      • Montana
      • North Dakota
      • South Carolina
      • South Dakota
      • Washington
      • Wyoming

        How Much Does an Inspection Cost?

        The cost of a car inspection varies by location. Each state has a different licensing process, and thus prices can vary widely. Contact your state’s local DMV to find out the price of the inspection. Here are the inspection costs for several states.

        • Delaware: $40
        • Hawaii: $25
        • Illinois: $100
        • Louisiana: $30
        • Maine: $12.50
        • Massachusetts: $35
        • Mississippi: $75
        • Missouri: $12
        • New Hampshire: $20-$50
        • New Jersey: $50
        • New York: $10-$15
        • North Carolina: $13.60
        • Pennsylvania: $39.99
        • Rhode Island: $55
        • Texas: $7
        • Utah: $25
        • Vermont: $35 – $50
        • Virginia: $51
        • West Virginia: $14.66
        • District of Columbia: $35
        • Alabama: $90
        • Maryland: $80

          Why Are Inspections Required?

          Vehicle inspections are valuable because they lower the number of traffic accidents caused by poorly maintained cars and the number of insurance claims. Studies have found that fewer cars will become a hazard on the roadways if a vehicle inspection is required. A car’s most common problems are broken windshield wipers, faulty breaks, poor wheel alignment, or burnt-out lights.

          Vehicle inspections also reduce the overall price of car insurance. Car insurance premiums are based on many factors, including fraudulent claims and their associated costs to the insurance company. The fewer the number of illegitimate claims, the lower everyone’s premiums become.

          If you fail your inspection, you will usually have to fix any issues and get inspected again. Some states require you to do this before a set date. You may be fined if you fail to do so within the allotted time frame.

          The mechanic doing the inspection will most likely look at:

          • Chassis Frame
          • Windshield wiper and blades
          • Front end
          • Lights
          • Horn
          • Fuel leaks
          • Tires
          • Wheel fasteners
          • Brakes
          • Windshield and other glass
          • Suspension
          • Mirrors
          • Seat belts
          • Steering

            What Will I Need to Get an Inspection?

            There are several pieces of paperwork that you will need to get a vehicle inspection per Insurify.

            • Title
            • VIN Inspection form
            • Proof of Insurance
            • Bill of Sale
            • Driver’s license

              Certified vehicle inspections are done at a number of places, including gas stations, mechanics shops, repair shops, or dedicated inspection stations. If your state requires you to get an inspection done, they will provide a list of approved locations. If you are unsure that your vehicle requires an inspection, contact your local DMV or your insurance provider.

              Even if your state doesn’t require a vehicle inspection, your insurance provider will usually still have you get one when you purchase comprehensive or collision auto insurance. When you buy a new car from the dealership, you may receive inspection advice from the dealer.

              Check this out if you need additional information, resources, or guidance on car insurance.

              Sources:

              Car Insurance

              Are Car Insurance Inspections required?

              How Does a Failed Auto Inspection Affect Car Insurance?

              Vehicle Inspection Requirements by State (2021)

              What You Need to Know About Arizona Minimum Car Insurance

              Car Insurance Mobile in Alabama

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