Updated on 05/05/2021
When you’re moving to a new state, you have a lot on your mind. But one question you need to ask yourself is, “Can I have car insurance from another state?”
We know how stressful moving can be. Boxes are everywhere, and you have a ton of things to do before the big move. While your to-do list has a million tasks, thinking about your car insurance should be one the first and foremost.
That’s because not changing your car insurance when moving out of state could have big consequences if you get in an accident. We’ll go over why it’s so important to change car insurance when moving, as well as the steps you need to process the change with your insurance provider.
Do I Need to Change Car Insurance When I Move?
Yes, you do. It’s a good idea to inform your insurance provider as close to the move-in date as possible. If your current provider underwrites in your new location, you may not need a new car insurance policy.
Why is this so important? The main reason is that your new state may have different coverage requirements.
Car insurance coverage isn’t a federal mandate. Rather, it’s something that states set on their own. This results in a lot of varying requirements from state to state. Your new state may have higher required minimum coverages or additional stipulations.
As an example, two of the states we provide coverage in – Florida and Alabama – have drastically different minimum liability amounts. In Florida, you only need $10,000 of coverage for bodily injury (up to $20,000 per accident) and $10,000 of property damage. Alabama is over double that, with $25,000 bodily injury and property damage limits with a $50,000 per accident max.
After you move, if you were to get into an accident, you could get in trouble for being underinsured. This may result in fines, a license suspension, or even jail time.
But let’s say you were moving from Alabama to Florida, the state with much lower coverage. If you’re comfortable dropping down that low, you could save a ton of money on your premiums. So why keep paying extra when you don’t have to?
How to Transfer Insurance to Another State
Transferring car insurance to another state is actually pretty easy, and depending on where you are moving, it could save you money. Car insurance rates differ from state to state. If your current provider cannot provide car insurance in your new state, then you will have to shop around. Shopping around for car insurance, moving out of state, and managing the move can be stressful, but we are here to help make things easier.
When you’re ready to get started, here are the steps we recommend taking.
1. Reach Out to Your Insurance Company
Contact your current agent. While they likely won’t be able to represent you in your new state (unless you’re still in the same metro area, and they are licensed in both states), they should be able to help you find another agent in your new area. Insurance companies have a large network of agents that specialize in local areas, so finding someone close to home ensures you’ll have an expert at your side.
That’s especially true with Freeway Insurance, as we offer coverage in over 20 states across the country. Even if you move to a state where we don’t have an office, our insurance agents can help you find coverage that meets your needs.
If your current car insurance provider cannot insure you, they may cancel your coverage without telling you, so be sure to check your coverage after you move.
2. Research Your State’s Minimum Coverage Limits
Likewise, it’s important to remember this. Your coverage may need to go up or down depending on your new state’s laws. While your insurance agent will guide you through this process, having a little knowledge beforehand can help you know whether to expect an increase or decrease in your premium price.
Nearly every state in the country requires you to have liability coverage. This provides coverage for the other driver if you cause an accident.
Liability coverage is broken down into two parts: bodily injury and property damage. Bodily injury liability offers coverage for medical bills, while property damage covers repairs for the vehicle and other property.
States don’t have requirements around collision and comprehensive. Still, you may opt for these additional coverages, especially if you’re moving to an urban area where you’ll be in traffic more often.
3. Buy Your New Policy (But Don’t Cancel Your Old One Yet)
Once you find an awesome insurance agent and coverage that meets your needs, it’s time to buy your new policy. You’ll need your new address, as this is one of the factors that is used to calculate your premium.
Your new ZIP code will determine how much your new car insurance premium will be. If you move from the city to the country, your rates will likely go down. If you move to a more urban area, your rates might go up. Factors like traffic patterns, population, and crime rates are all taken into consideration when determining your premium. When taking a look at the riskiest roads to drive on in the country, most of them run right through the middle of major metropolises.
Once you’ve signed on the dotted line, don’t cancel your old policy just yet! It might take a few days before your new policy kicks in. Check your coverage dates closely to ensure you have seamless coverage between the two policies. You don’t want a gap in coverage.
That said, once the new policy is in place, contact your old insurance company and let them know. Sometimes you may be entitled to a refund, especially if you were in the middle of your old policy. If you are stuck with the same company, this might come in the form of a discount on your new policy. Otherwise, you’ll likely get a check in the mail.
4. Update the Rest of Your Documents
Car insurance is just one piece – albeit an important piece – of the puzzle involving your move. You also need to remember to update the rest of your driving documents.
This includes your title, registration, and license. You’ll typically need to wait to update these until you have your new insurance because most states want to see proof of insurance before issuing these documents. That way, you won’t wait in line for hours at the DMV, only to be turned away when it’s finally your turn.
Again, every state has unique processes for updating driving documents. See what your state requires – including the time limit you have to update these documents before you’re penalized. If you don’t make the required changes within the acceptable time frame and you’re pulled over, you could get an additional fine or other penalties.
FAQs About Car Insurance When Moving to Another State
While the process of switching your car insurance itself is pretty simple, you likely have a lot of questions about the process. That’s why we’re here to answer all your questions about moving states and car insurance.
Do I Really Need to Notify My Car Insurance When Moving States?
Yes. Even if your premium goes up, you need to inform your car insurance provider as soon as possible after moving states. Car insurance is regulated at the state level, and your car insurance policy will need to reflect your new state’s laws.
Can I Have Car Insurance From Another State If It’s a Short-Term Move?
This all depends on just how short your move is. If you’re just on a business trip that’s likely to last a couple of weeks, then no. Your car insurance will cover you in the state you’re in for that short period. However, it may be a good idea to call them and ask just in case.
However, if that business trip is more likely to last for several months to a year, it’s a good idea to change your policy. Living in a place that long – especially if you’re using it as your mailing address – signifies that you’re calling it home. Your insurance provider will see this and may use it as evidence to deny your claim if you happen to get in an accident.
Can I Have Car Insurance From Another State If I’m in the Military?
Things are a bit different if you’re in the military. It’s common for military members to be shuffled around from base to base, depending on where they are needed. Luckily, most states allow military members to keep their insurance active in their home state only. This prevents them from needing to switch things up on a regular basis.
Keep in mind that every state is different, though. If you’re in the military and want to see if this applies to you, check with local state laws as well as your insurance company to see if you qualify.
Can I Have Car Insurance From Another State If I Don’t Have a Permanent Address Yet?
Maybe you’ve sold your house in one state and are moving somewhere else, but you haven’t found living arrangements yet. You may be settled in at a hotel until you can buy a new house or find a place to rent. How should you handle your car insurance?
Unfortunately, you’ll definitely need to provide an address to get a new policy. As we mentioned, it’s one of the key factors that determines what your premium will be.
Most insurance companies are lenient about this. You can talk to your agent, explain your situation, and figure out a solution. As an example, if you’re living with a friend, you may be able to use their address until you get your own place. Then you can update your policy at that time.
Or, if you’ve signed a lease but haven’t been able to move in yet, you can provide this address instead.
One thing you should not do is wait to change your insurance until you’re all settled in. This could take several months, during which time you’ll be vulnerable every time you get in the car. Get in touch with your insurance company and figure out a way to make it work so you can be safe and secure on the road.
How Long Do I Have to Switch My Insurance?
Ideally, you should switch your insurance as soon as possible. That way, you avoid all the troublesome gray areas that can appear if you get into an accident in your new state.
With that in mind, most car insurance companies will give you a little leeway. They understand that moving is a challenging time, so many offer a 60 to 90 window.
If you don’t make the switch fast enough, your insurance company may have the option to cancel your policy without notice, which is definitely something you don’t want.
What Happens If You Don’t Change Your Insurance?
Let’s say you’re a rebel and want to challenge the status quo. You’re committed to sticking with your old insurance.
Unfortunately, this can have a lot of consequences. As we said above, your insurance company can cancel your policy without notice. This might not sound like a big deal, but when you have a gap in insurance, it makes you look far riskier. This could make your next premium jump up a ton.
Not only that, but you’re risking fines and legal ramifications in your state. These vary widely, but some states can even take away your license or put you in jail.
Get the Most Affordable Car Insurance When You Move
If you need a free car insurance quote, call Freeway Insurance at 800-777-5620 or request an auto insurance quote online. We specialize in affordable car insurance for all drivers. Call now to speak to a live agent. If you’re an existing Freeway customer and you need to change your address, call 888-443-4662 or feel free to stop by one of our many office locations.