Can You Drive a Car Without Plates After Buying It? 

Can you drive a car without plates after purchasing it? This detailed guide explains the legality, interim remedies, state-by-state regulations, insurance coverage, and other details. Let’s find out!
Can You Drive a Car Without Plates After Buying It? 
Can You Drive a Car Without Plates After Buying It? 
Many states consider driving a car without plates unlawful after purchasing it. Therefore, temporary plates or registrations are needed until permanent ones can be secured. Know more on how to comply with these requirements to avoid penalties, legal issues, and insurance hassles.
In this article

Buying an automobile is on everyone’s wish list, but installing the number plate sometimes takes longer. This is when one might wonder if driving a car without number plates is illegal after purchasing the car. Read along and find out.

If you just purchased a car, you must navigate the legalities of driving the vehicle with and without a number plate. Understanding the importance of both front and back plates during this time will help you understand if it’s legal and safe to hit the road without them. 

Can you Drive a Car Without Plates After Buying It? 

In many states, driving a car without plates after buying it is not allowed and is considered illegal. That’s why when you purchase a vehicle, you usually need temporary plates or a temporary registration to drive it legally until you receive your permanent number plate. Also, please remember that these temporary plates and documents have limited validity. You could be penalized if you use it beyond a specific period. So, use them responsibly and replace them with permanent plates once they’re available.

Furthermore, driving without proper plates or registration can lead to fines or even legal trouble because it makes it difficult for cops and authorities to identify the vehicle and its owner. In addition, insurance coverage will also be affected if you are involved in an accident while driving without a proper registration and number plate.

Understanding the Legalities of Driving Without Plates After Purchase 

Your car needs a number plate because it serves as a means of identification for law enforcement. Let’s say there’s some issue in your car, and without a proper registration, it will be difficult for the cops to identify which car they should be looking at. However, some jurisdictions offer temporary permits or registrations that allow a newly purchased vehicle to be driven legally until the owner of the vehicle gets a permanent plate. 

If you disagree with these rules and regulations, you will receive hefty fines and citations. You will also be looking at an impoundment of the vehicle. 

To assess the whole number plate registration process, buyers must familiarize themselves with the specific laws and procedures in their state/area regarding temporary permits, registration, and plate legalities. This often involves visiting the local Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) or any equivalent agency in your area. 

Temporary Solutions: How to Legally Drive your New Car Home 

Bringing your new car home from the dealer’s shop is exciting for everyone, but you must drive home safely by following the law. Here are some temporary solutions:

  • Temporary plates and permits 
  • If temporary plates or permits are unavailable, ask your dealer to arrange dealership transport, in which the dealer will deliver your car to your home or somewhere nearby.
  • If nothing works, you can use public transportation or hire a towing service to transport the vehicle to your desired location.

The Role of Temporary Tags and Permits for Newly Purchased Vehicles 

Some states offer transit tags, also known as trip permits or transit permits. These tags allow you to drive your vehicle for a specific duration. It’s a practical solution for newly purchased cars till you permanently register your vehicle. 

A State-by-State Guide: Rules for Driving Without Plates After Buying a Car 

Understanding the rules for driving a newly purchased car without plates varies from state to state in the United States. Here’s a guide outlining the general regulations in different states:


California law requires vehicles to display temporary operating permits, commonly known as “paper plates,” for up to 90 days after purchase or until permanent plates are issued.


New vehicles in Texas can display the buyer’s or temporary tag for up to 30 days.

New York 

New York provides temporary registration plates that are valid for 30 days. During this time, the owner must complete the registration process. 


Florida allows newly purchased cars to display a temporary tag for up to 30 days or even until the registration process is complete. 


Illinois permits owners to display a temporary registration permit for up to 90 days. 


Ohio offers temporary tags that are valid for up to 45 days. 


Pennsylvania provides temporary registration plates that are valid for 90 days. 


Michigan requires newly purchased vehicles to display a temporary registration permit for up to 15 days. 


Newly purchased vehicles in Georgia can display a temporary operating permit for up to 30 days.

North Carolina 

North Carolina issues temporary tags that are valid for 30 days. 

Insurance Coverage for Driving a Newly Purchased Car Without Plates

This differs from one insurance provider to the other. It also varies depending on a specific situation or circumstance. Here are some key points to consider:

Temporary coverage 

Many insurance policies automatically provide temporary coverage for newly purchased vehicles. This lets the wonder drive the car immediately after purchase. Plus, this temporary coverage typically lasts for a specified period. In some states, it is 14 days; in others, it is 30 days. 

Notification requirement 

You must notify your insurance provider immediately after purchasing a new vehicle. This will notify them that they must update your insurance policy with all the necessary details, such as the vehicle’s year of manufacture, model name, and vehicle identification number (VIN). 

Uninsured motorist coverage 

Even if your insurance policy provides temporary coverage for newly purchased vehicles, it is crucial to confirm that uninsured motorist coverage applies to your vehicle even during this time. This specific coverage protects you in the event of an accident. 


Purchasing a new vehicle is one of life’s happiest moments, but fulfilling all legal requirements can be hectic and challenging. While temporary solutions such as temporary tags or permits provide a means to drive legally, ensuring that your insurance coverage works and will protect you against unforeseen accidents or liabilities is crucial. 

Therefore, immediately notifying your insurance provider and following all the other DMV rules and regulations, you can enjoy the excitement of driving your new car while staying on the right side of the law and ensuring adequate protection. 

In the face of financial uncertainty, utilize the Beem Super App, which provides a marketplace of the finest personal loans based on your financial circumstances. Check out tailored rates and explore personal loan choices ranging from $500 to $100,000 without affecting your credit score.

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Aniket Kulkarni

A seasoned Product Manager specializing in car insurance content, Aniket has a passion for simplifying complex insurance concepts. His strategic approach to content development reflects years of experience in the product development industry, coupled with a commitment to providing accurate, reliable information.


This page is purely informational. Beem does not provide financial, legal or accounting advice. This article has been prepared for informational purposes only. It is not intended to provide financial, legal or accounting advice and should not be relied on for the same. Please consult your own financial, legal and accounting advisors before engaging in any transactions.

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