Is vehicle registration the same as car insurance?
No, your vehicle registration and car insurance aren't the same, but they are related. Showing proof of insurance to your state's minimum requirement is part of the BMV or DMV vehicle registration process. Additional steps include providing proof of ownership (car title), passing a vehicle inspection, and paying any fees.
After registering your vehicle at your BMV or DMV, you'll receive your license plates, additional stickers, and your registration certificate or card. On the other hand, your auto insurance policy is a separate set of documents designed to protect you in case of an accident. Most states require minimum auto insurance coverage and vehicle registration, so it's important to have insurance and registration proof when driving.
Can a car be registered in one name and insured in another?
In most states, the names on a vehicle's registration and your proof of insurance don't have to be the same from a legal perspective. However, an insurer can decide not to insure a person whose name is not on the vehicle's registration. That's up to each insurer on a case-by-case basis. Plus, having a car insured and registered under different names may complicate the claims process.
If your state and insurer allow it, you might consider insuring and registering your vehicle under different names for several reasons, including:
- You register a new car under your teen's name and want to buy an insurance policy for them
- You want your teen to have car insurance while driving a car you own
- You own and insure a vehicle you don't use and want to gift it to a family member
What other options do I have?
Depending on your situation, there may be simpler ways to achieve what you want out of insuring and registering a car in different names. For example, you can have your name and someone else's name on both the registration and insurance — a simple solution in many instances. Discuss your options with your insurer to get help deciding which is right for you.