Can I Transfer My Car Insurance When Moving Out of State?

If you’re planning a move across state lines, you’ve likely wondered about updating your car registration and insurance. So what do you do with your car insurance when moving out of state? Do you have to change car insurance when you move states? The short answer is yes — but you may not have to completely overhaul your policy to pull it off. In all cases, your policy will need to be updated — at the very least.

Although it’s possible to transfer car insurance from one state to another, you will need a new policy if your carrier does not offer car insurance in the state you’re moving to. So, not only do you need to update your carrier with your new address, you also need to make sure your new policy meets the minimum requirements for the state you’re moving to. Otherwise, you could end up with coverage that doesn’t meet your needs, and that could cause big problems down the road. Here’s what you need to know.

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      Your car insurance grace period 

      In most cases, your current car insurance coverage will continue to cover you until your policy renewal date, even when you move out of state. But rather than waiting until you’ve unpacked all the boxes in your new place, the best recourse is to notify your insurance company of your move as soon as your new address is confirmed. This gives you time to work with your agent to get your policy updated or purchase a new one altogether if your current carrier does not provide coverage in your new state.

      [ Next: Liability vs. Full Coverage Car Insurance ]

      The last thing you want to do is let your old policy lapse or cancel before you have your new policy in place. Not only is driving without liability insurance illegal in almost every state, but you also open yourself up to a huge financial risk if you’re involved in an accident without insurance.

      Updating your insurance becomes even more critical when it comes time to register your car in your new location. You should also be aware that it’s considered a form of insurance fraud to misrepresent the location you live in, so your best bet is to update your new address right away with your insurance carrier to avoid any issues.

      Changing your policy after a move 

      Once you move out of state, you need to start the process of updating your car insurance. There are two different possible scenarios that can occur when you do this.

      The first is if your current auto insurance provider extends coverage in the new state you’re moving to. If this is the case, contact your agent and notify them once your new address is confirmed. Your agent should be able to easily update your policy to reflect your new location and new policy.

      If your current carrier does not offer coverage in your new state, you will need to purchase a new policy. Whatever you do, do not cancel the coverage on your existing policy until your new carrier’s policy is put in place.

      Whether or not you stay with your current provider, moving is an ideal time to receive multiple quote comparisons. This way you know you’re receiving the most competitive price for the coverage you need. And remember, your insurance rates are based on where you live, among many other factors, so changing states will likely impact your rates.

      [ For You: How Much Car Insurance Do You Need? ]

      For example, if you’re moving from North Carolina, where the average cost of auto insurance each month is $79.13, you may be surprised by an increase if you move to another state like Georgia. Georgia’s average rate each month is $131.15, further illustrating the need to get quotes from multiple providers.

      Registering your car after a move

      Another reason you have to change car insurance when you move to another state is that most states require you to show updated insurance coverage for the car registration process. And, the requirement in most states is that you register your car within 90 days of moving, which means your auto insurance needs to be updated quickly.

      It’s important to keep in mind, though, that the grace period for updating car registrations varies state to state, so don’t assume that you’ll have 90 days to do so. For instance, Texas requires you to register within 30 days and Michigan requires you to immediately register your vehicle after you move. If you do not register within the designated time frame, you risk fines and possible citations.

      The cost of registering your car varies by state too. Some states charge a flat fee for registration, while others charge a fee based on the weight of your vehicle. Using Texas as an example, the registration fee is $50.75 per vehicle.

      The safest bet is to look up your new state’s Department of Motor Vehicles to confirm the registration deadline and required documents (including insurance coverage), along with the testing required to secure your registration. You can also get a confirmation of expected registration fees by doing this.

      Compare Affordable Auto Insurance Rates

      Save money on auto coverage with our simple comparison tool.

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        Tips for moving out of state 

        Moving, especially across state lines, means there are plenty of details to keep track of along the way. Adequate auto insurance coverage is extremely important, and there are a few steps you can take to lessen your chances of any missteps, including:

        • Update your agent on your new address as soon as you confirm it. Your agent can advise on getting your policy updated in your new state and tell you any next steps, since most agents are only licensed in the state they live in.
        • If you must purchase a new policy, do not cancel your current policy until the new policy is in place.
        • Prior to moving, you should confirm the registration information with your new state so you are aware of any grace period or deadlines for car registration. 
        • Once your new policy is in place, you can work with your old agent on the steps to cancel the old policy.
        • Be sure your old insurance company has your new address on file in case you are due a refund and the carrier needs to send you a check. 
        • When you have your updated or new policy with in-state coverage, you can proceed with car registration.

        [ See: Why Is It Required to Have Car Insurance? ]

        We welcome your feedback on this article. Contact us at inquiries@thesimpledollar.com with comments or questions.

        Sara Coleman

        Contributing Writer

        Sara Coleman is a personal finance journalist based in Charlotte, NC. A journalism major who studied at the University of Georgia, she enjoys creating approachable content. She’s written for sites such as The Simple Dollar, Interest.com, WorkingMother, BetterYouMag and SmartMoneyMamas. She loves spending time with her husband and three kids, and has a healthy obsession with coffee.

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        • Angelica Leicht
          Angelica Leicht
          Mortgage Editor

          Angelica Leicht is an editor at The Simple Dollar who specializes in mortgages, mortgage refinancing, home equity loans, and HELOCs. She is a former contributing editor to Interest.com and PersonalLoans.org.