Q

What is a CARCO inspection?

A

A CARCO inspection is a pre-insurance inspection of your vehicle required in Florida, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, and Rhode Island.

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By 

Rachael Brennan

Rachael Brennan

Senior Editor & Licensed Auto Insurance Expert

Rachael Brennan is a senior editor and a licensed auto insurance expert at Policygenius. Her work has also been featured in MoneyGeek, Clearsurance, Adweek, Boston Globe, The Ladders, and AutoInsurance.com.

Updated April 12, 2022 | 3 min read

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Some states require drivers to get a physical inspection of their vehicle before purchasing comprehensive or collision insurance. This is to help prevent insurance fraud, which costs the insurance industry more than $40 billion each year. [1]

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CARCO is one of the biggest names in the pre-insurance inspection industry, making them a popular choice for drivers who need an inspection before they are allowed to purchase car insurance.

Key takeaways

  • A CARCO inspection is a pre-insurance inspection of your vehicle designed to help prevent insurance fraud.

  • Florida, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, and Rhode Island all require people purchasing comprehensive and collision coverage to have a pre-insurance inspection.

  • No documentation is required to get a CARCO inspection unless you live in Florida, which requires residents to bring their vehicle registration for the inspection.

What is a CARCO inspection?

A CARCO inspection is a pre-insurance inspection, required in some states, which means someone will physically check out your car and document its condition before you can purchase an insurance policy.

Most of the time, however, you have to purchase insurance for a new car before you can drive it off the lot. Because you have to have insurance in order to buy a car, there is a window of time, usually less than 30 days, where you can have an inspection done after purchasing insurance to avoid having your comprehensive and collision coverage dropped from your policy. 

Remember, if you are financing your car you’ll be required by your lender to carry those coverages, so getting your inspection done in a timely manner is vital to meeting the terms and conditions of your loan.

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Why do I need a CARCO inspection?

A CARCO inspection is done so drivers can’t file a claim for damage that already existed before their insurance was purchased. 

For example, if you hit another car and damage your vehicle, your collision insurance will pay to repair your car. However, if your vehicle already had noticeable damage, your insurance company wants to know that so they aren’t paying for any damage that wasn’t caused by this specific accident.

Which states require a pre-insurance inspection?

There are several states that require a pre-insurance inspection, including:

Each of these states has their own laws regarding pre-insurance inspections, including how the inspection is done and how much time you have to get the inspection. Depending on the laws in your state, you may or may not be allowed to submit photos electronically through the CARCO app in lieu of an in-person inspection.

Where can I get a CARCO inspection in my state?

CARCO has inspection locations in several places across your state. You can use their website to find the closest inspection site in your area. You can also call their toll-free number at 1-888-242-1200 to find a location and set an appointment.

What paperwork is required?

No documentation is required to get a CARCO inspection unless you live in Florida, which requires residents to bring their vehicle registration for the inspection. However, you will need to provide the inspector with your insurance company’s information so they can properly submit their report.

If you have concerns or are nervous about the process, you can call ahead and ask the CARCO representative what paperwork you will need to bring with you.

How long will the inspection take?

The inspection will take approximately 15 minutes. After the inspection is done you will be asked to sign the form verifying that the information is correct and then you will be free to go.

What is Cisive?

In 2017, CARCO rebranded under the name Cisive. They continue to operate under the CARCO name for pre-insurance inspections and car insurance fraud prevention, but they have expanded to other security work under the Cisive umbrella.

Frequently asked questions

What happens during a photo inspection?

Either you or your CARCO inspector will take pictures of your car from several angles as well as documenting your VIN, license plate number, and other identifying information. This information is then sent to CARCO and analyzed before being sent to your insurance carrier to help prevent insurance fraud.

Can I submit my inspection online?

CARCO sometimes allows you to submit photos and other information electronically through their phone app, but whether or not an electronic submission is allowed will be determined, in part, by your state laws and regulations.

How much does a CARCO inspection cost?

According to CARCO, there is no fee for a pre-insurance inspection. It’s different from annual safety inspections or emissions tests that are required by some states and typically cost between $10 and $90.