Q

Are car inspections covered by insurance?

A

No, car inspections or smog checks required by your state are not covered by car insurance.

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Each state has its own requirements for drivers. In addition to setting standards for driver’s licenses and minimum requirements for car insurance, some states require your vehicle to be inspected regularly in order to make sure your car can drive safely on the road. Your state may also mandate an inspection to make sure your car is meeting emissions standards. 

Inspections exist to make sure your car meets legal requirements for driving. State-required vehicle inspections are not covered by car insurance, so you’ll need to pay out of pocket. But not all states require vehicle inspections, and in the ones that do, inspections may only be required in certain counties or for certain vehicles.

Key Takeaways

  • Car insurance won’t cover a state-required safety inspection or emissions test

  • However, car insurance is still required in order to get a car inspection in most states

  • Vehicle inspections are required in order to ensure your car is safe enough to drive on the road and is meeting environmental standards  

  • If you need an inspection as part of a claim, your car insurance will cover the cost

Will insurance cover a car inspection?

Car insurance will not cover a state-required vehicle inspection. Car insurance exists to cover the sudden damage that can result from an accident. An inspection is simply part of owning a car. However, both car insurance and inspections may be required in your state, and you may need to show proof of both in order to register your car. 

Which states require car inspections?

Twenty-nine states and the District of Columbia require either an emissions test, a safety inspection, or both. Here’s what you need to know:

StateInspection(s) required
ArizonaAn emissions test is required during original registration and annual registration renewals
CaliforniaAn emissions test is required every two years
ColoradoAn emissions test is required for certain vehicles
ConnecticutAn emissions test is required every other year
District of ColumbiaAn emissions test is required for all vehicles in order to obtain registration
GeorgiaAn emissions test is required every year or every registration renewal cycle for gasoline cars and light-duty trucks made between 1994 and 2014
IdahoAn emissions test is required in the City of Kuna, and Ada and Canyon counties
IllinoisAn emissions test is required for state and local municipalities that did not meet the law’s pollution-level requirements
IndianaAn emissions test is required along with a tampering inspection for most first-time registrations and biannually for car owners living in Porter and Lake counties
LouisianaAn emissions test is required in certain parishes and cities. Safety inspections are required every two years
MarylandAn emissions test is required every two years, and new residents also need to pass a vehicle safety inspection
MassachusettsA safety inspection and emissions test is required once a year
MissouriAn emissions test is required for non-exempt vehicles in metropolitan areas that are considered to have air quality worse than the National Ambient Air Quality Standards
NevadaAn emissions test is required before every yearly registration renewal as well as for most original vehicle registrations
New HampshireAn emissions test and safety inspection are required for first-time vehicle registrations and annual registration renewals
New JerseyAn emissions test is required for certain vehicles, including commercial vehicles
New MexicoAn emissions test is required for many original registration and annual registration renewals for vehicles registered in Bernalillo County
New YorkA a safety inspection and an emissions test is required in order to receive an original registration or for an annual registration renewal
North CarolinaAn emissions test is required for vehicles registered in 48 counties
OhioAn emissions test is required for certain vehicles registered in qualified counties every two years
OregonAn emissions test is required in Portland and Medford before receiving your original vehicle registration and before every two-year registration renewal
PennsylvaniaAn emissions test and safety inspection are required for non-exempt vehicles when getting your original vehicle registration or you can complete an annual registration renewal in eligible counties
Rhode IslandAn emissions test and safety inspection are required within five days of your original registration or biennial registration renewal
TennesseeAn emissions test is required in certain counties before you can obtain a vehicle registration or registration renewal
TexasAn emissions test is required for most gas vehicles registered in certain counties and safety inspections are required for all vehicles
UtahA safety inspection and emissions test is required in order to obtain a vehicle registration or registration renewal
VermontAn emissions test and safety inspection are required for all non-exempt vehicles to obtain a vehicle registration or registration renewal
VirginiaA safety inspection is required for all vehicles and an emissions test is required for most gas and diesel vehicles registered in eligible counties
WashingtonAn emissions test is required for non-exempt gas and diesel vehicles registered in eligible counties in order to obtain their original tabs, and then again every two years
WisconsinAn emissions test is required for most gas and diesel vehicles registered in eligible counties in order to obtain an original registration, and then again every two years during registration renewal

How much does an inspection cost?

A car inspection can cost anywhere between $7 and $90, depending on the kind of inspection you need and where you live. In Texas, a safety inspection costs $7, and $40 for commercial vehicles. But in Massachusetts, a yearly inspection costs $35 for most vehicles.

You can contact your state’s Department of Motor Vehicles or an equivalent agency to find out about the cost of an inspection. For California residents, the state DMV website has a convenient calculator to help you determine the cost of an inspection for your car.

Is a claims inspection covered by insurance?

Yes, your car insurance company will pay for a claims inspection. You may be required to get a claims inspection when you file a car insurance claim for damage. If your claim is accepted, you’ll be assigned a claims adjuster who will examine your car and determine the cost to repair the damage. 

They will take a look at the parts of the vehicle damaged in the accident and make sure there was no pre-existing damage to the car, since it would not be covered by the claim. The goal of a claims inspection is essentially to figure out how much your car insurance company owes you for the damage to your vehicle. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need an inspection to buy car insurance?

No, you generally do not need a safety inspection or an emissions test to buy car insurance, but you may need one to drive legally in your state. To buy car insurance, all you need to do is figure out what coverage you want and how much of it you need, fill out an application, compare quotes, and pick a car insurance company.

Why are inspections required?

Car inspections are required by certain states because they ensure that your vehicle is safe enough to drive on the road, or that it meets environmental standards.

Do electric cars need inspections?

A fully electric vehicle is likely to be exempt from an emissions test because it does not operate on gasoline. But, depending on the state you live in, your electric vehicle may be required to pass a safety inspection in order to make sure that your seatbelts, gear, and other moving parts within the car are safe.