Depending on your state, you might be required to get a vehicle inspection before you can purchase a car insurance policy. These evaluations, called CARCO inspections, are used to determine your vehicle’s physical condition before you buy physical damage coverage, including collision and comprehensive insurance. If your state requires CARCO inspections, you should know where to get one and what the inspectors will be looking for.

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What is a CARCO inspection?

So, what is a CARCO inspection and what does it entail? A CARCO inspection is a pre-insurance inspection of your vehicle. In some states, car insurance companies require CARCO inspections before you can purchase collision or comprehensive coverage. CARCO is the company that performs these inspections, with the goal of preventing fraudulent insurance policies and damage claims.

During a CARCO inspection, an inspector will complete a visual examination and take photos of your vehicle. They will also look at your car’s mileage and optional accessories. From there, the photos are uploaded into a database that uses advanced technology and artificial intelligence (AI) to flag potential fraud indicators, like flood damage or a salvage title.

In addition to using anti-fraud technology, a fraud analyst manually reviews the photos for every vehicle as an added layer of security. Once you see the results and sign the report, the findings are sent to your insurance company. Based on the results, the insurance company may approve or deny your collision or comprehensive insurance coverage.

Do you always need a pre-insurance inspection?

Many drivers need to get a CARCO inspection before they can purchase physical damage coverage. However, a physical inspection is not always required. For example, CARCO inspections may not be required if you have purchased or leased a brand new vehicle.

Additionally, CARCO inspections are only required in five states, including:

  • Florida
  • Massachusetts
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • Rhode Island

Even if you do not need a CARCO inspection, your insurance company will probably ask to see documentation that verifies the car’s condition. This may include the dealer invoice, bill of sale or window sticker.

Where are CARCO inspection sites?

CARCO inspections must be completed by a CARCO inspector. Fortunately, the company maintains an extensive network of inspection sites in the five states where these evaluations are required by law.

CARCO has inspection sites at a variety of car-related businesses, like tire retailers, gas stations and car dealerships. You can access a directory of CARCO inspection sites on the website to find a location near you. The evaluation takes about 15 minutes and the photo inspection is free of charge.

You are not required to bring any paperwork with you to the inspection site, but Florida residents must present their vehicle registration. Also, CARCO recommends that drivers bring any insurance documents containing their insurance company’s name and their policy number to speed up the process.

Can you have your CARCO inspection done online?

CARCO has a free mobile app for Android and Apple devices, which gives you the option to complete a pre-insurance inspection on your phone by taking photos of your vehicle. The app uses intelligent anti-fraud technology to help ensure that the information recorded is accurate and allows users to review everything before signing off on the inspection submission. The inspection then gets stored in a central data repository. However, self-evaluation may not be allowed in every state and a CARCO inspector may still need to complete an in-person visual inspection of the car.

If you are interested in completing your CARCO inspection through the app without visiting an inspection site, make sure to contact your insurance company and see if it allows it. Another point worth considering is that the CARCO app has very poor customer reviews on both the App Store and Google Play Store, so getting an inspection in-person may be a better option.

Frequently asked questions

What happens if I do not get a CARCO inspection?

If your insurance company requires a CARCO inspection and you do not get one, you will likely not be able to get collision or comprehensive insurance. If you already have these policies, it is likely that your insurer will drop your coverage if you do not produce CARCO inspection results.

How long do I have to complete a CARCO inspection?

When you insure a vehicle, your insurance company should tell you how long you have to complete the CARCO inspection. It may be several weeks or several months. The time frame depends on your insurance provider, so an agent should be able to tell you exactly how long you have.

Will a CARCO inspection help me save money on car insurance?

No, getting a CARCO inspection will not have any impact on your car insurance premium. A CARCO inspection is only used to evaluate your vehicle’s condition, mileage and optional accessories, and look for signs that could increase the likelihood of a fraudulent claim.