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12/18/2017
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New Jersey Auto Insurance Requirements
by Doug Cohen

The State of New Jersey requires drivers to carry auto insurance.  These are the Insurance requirements.

All autos registered in New Jersey require three types of mandatory car insurance coverage:

  • Liability insurance pays others for damages that you cause if you are responsible for an accident. It does not cover medical expenses.
  • Personal injury protection (PIP) pays medical expenses if you or other persons covered under your policy are injured in an automobile accident. Often called No Fault coverage, it pays your medical expenses if you were or were not at fault.
  • Uninsured motorist coverage protects you if you are in an accident with someone who doesn’t have proper insurance coverage
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Contact your insurance company for the different insurance coverage choices.

Required documents

Your insurance company must give you a New Jersey Insurance Identification Card for each car insured under your policy.

You must keep the card in the car and present it:

  • Before an inspection
  • When involved in an accident
  • When stopped for a traffic violation
  • When you are stopped in a spot check by a police officer

Failure to present the card may result in fines.

Driving an uninsured vehicle may result in fines, community service, license suspension and insurance surcharges.

Registration

All vehicles, new and used, must be registered before operating them in New Jersey. Different rules apply when renewing your registration or getting a new one.

New Car Registration

A car is considered new if it has never had a title issued to anyone other than the dealer prior to the customer's purchase.

Leased autos are considered new if the initial retail purchaser is the leasing company and there are no prior sales or leases.

A passenger vehicle signifies that it is used and designed for transportation of passengers (not including omnibuses and school buses). Motorcycles are not considered passenger vehicles.

If you are registering your vehicle for the first time in New Jersey, you will receive a one-year registration for used cars.
Four-year Accelerated Registration Program

  • MVC implemented the Four-Year Accelerated Registration Program on October 1, 2004, requiring all owners of new passenger vehicles to pay the registration fee in full for the four-year period
  • If you have a new leased car you will have to pay the registration fee for the term of your lease. If your lease agreement extends beyond the normal calendar year expiration period (38-month leases as opposed to 36 months), you are also required to pay for the next full year’s registration period (48 months)
  • The Four-Year Accelerated Registration Program and the initiative to extend inspections for new cars from two years to four, will enable MVC to coordinate the terms of registrations and inspections (Registrations and inspections for new cars purchased after Oct. 1, 2004 expire on the same date)
  • Refunds will not be given for any unused portion of the four-year registration
  • The Four-Year Accelerated Registration Program includes all cars purchased for business use unless the equity in an unexpired registration is transferred.

Transferring Registration

You can transfer your registration to a new car and continue to use the same license plates. But the name and code on the new registration must appear exactly as it did on your old car's registration. The transfer fee is $4.50 plus the prorated weight class registration fee.

Registration Renewal

In New Jersey, most cars must apply for an annual registration renewal. To simplify the process, MVC sends you an annual registration renewal notice. This letter includes a PIN that you can use to renew in one of three ways:

  • On the web.  (convenience fee applies)
  • By phone at 877-DMV-NJ4U (877-368-6548, convenience fee applies)
  • By mail using the envelope in your renewal letter
  • By visiting an MVC agency. Make sure to bring your auto insurance card and license plate number

Vehicles eligible for renewal by Web or by phone include passenger autos, pleasure boats, trailers under 55,000 lbs and motorcycles. All others must renew at an MVC agency. 

For your convenience, MVC agencies accept American Express® card, Visa® card, MasterCard® card, checks, money orders and cash.
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