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Car Insurance and Moving to a New State

You may have to get a new car insurance policy after you move to another state. You have a set amount of time to do it.

Family moving to new state

You’ll likely need to get a new car insurance policy after you move to a new state. At the very least, you’ll need to find a new agent and modify or update your policy.

You’ll learn why in this article plus:

Do I Need to Change Car Insurance When I Move to Another State?

You may not need to change car insurance companies when you move to a new state, but you’ll probably need to change car insurance agents and even policies when you move.

Why do I have to make changes to my car insurance when I move to a new state?

Here are a handful of reasons why you might have to change your car insurance when you move:

  • Your current car insurance company may not provide coverage in your new state.
  • Most insurance agents are only licensed in one state. So, the agent you work with now likely won’t be able to help you after you move.
  • The ZIP Code you’re moving to may have a higher crime rate than the one you live in now. Or it may have more traffic congestion or worse road conditions. It may be better in all those areas, too. Where you live has a big impact on car insurance rates, which means you could pay more or less forthe same amount of coverage when you move out of state.
  • If you’re moving from a fault-based state to a no-fault state, you’ll need to buy personal injury protection It pays for medical expenses tied to car accidents. It also provides compensation for lost wages, funeral expenses, and more.
  • The state you’re moving to have different minimum car insurance coverage requirements than your current state. That might mean you need to buy more coverage after you get settled in your new home, though it also might mean you can carry less of it.

For example, Arizona requires drivers to buy at least $15,000 of individual bodily injury liability coverage, $30,000 of total bodily injury liability coverage, and $10,000 of property damage liability coverage. You’ll often see these minimums written like this--15/30/10.

Now let’s say you move from Arizona to Texas. While the minimum liability coverage requirement in Arizona is 15/30/10, in Texas it’s 25/50/25. So you’ll need to buy more car insurance coverage to meet the state minimums if you move to Texas.

The difference is even more dramatic if you move from Arizona to Alaska. Alaska’s minimum liability car insurance requirements are 50/100/25.

Do I have to transfer my car insurance before I move?

No, you should keep your current car insurance policy as is until after you’re settled in your new state.

Canceling your car insurance before you move is a bad idea for a couple of reasons:

  • It’ll leave you uninsured, which is illegal in most states and can be costly, too, if you get into an accident.
  • It’ll cause you to have a lapse in coverage, and insurance companies may penalize you for it when you go to buy another policy.

If you’re at all worried here, contact your agent. Contacting your agent before you move out of state is a good idea even if you have no concerns. They’ll tell you if they can continue to be your agent after you move, or if the company they work for can continue to provide you with coverage. They may even be able to help you obtain coverage in your new state if neither they nor their company operate there.

How long do I have to transfer car insurance after I move to another state?

You should have 30 to 90 days to transition your car insurance after you move to a new state.

The specific number of days you have in this situation depends on the state you move to, so contact its department of motor vehicles (DMV) for more information.

Your new state will give you a similar grace period to change your vehicle registration and update your driver’s license and license plates following your move. Which makes sense, as you usually need to show proof of insurance to do either of these things.

How Do You Change Car Insurance When You Move to Another State?

Changing car insurance after you move to another state is just like changing car insurance at any other time.

Start by looking over your existing policy. Then contact your insurance company and ask if it provides coverage in your new state. If it does, find out how much it’ll charge you to maintain your current amount of coverage. If you need to increase your coverage due to your new state’s minimum liability car insurance requirements, get a quote for that.

Don’t stop there, though. Compare quotes from several companies in your new state. Your current insurer may have given you the cheapest or best car insurance rates in your old state, but that may not be true now. And the only way to find out one way or the other is to shop around.

How Do You Change Your Car Registration and License Plates After You Move to a New State?

Once you have your car insurance squared away in your new state, you can register your vehicle and get a new driver’s license and license plates.

To do this, you usually need to show the following to the local DMV:

  • Driver’s license or other form of identification
  • Vehicle title
  • Proof of insurance

You should be able to use an insurance binder to prove you have auto coverage. If not, wait for your insurance card to arrive in the mail and use it instead.

Keep in mind, some DMVs let you update your vehicle registration and apply for a new driver’s license and license plates all at the same place. Some DMVs make you go to different places. To avoid as much hassle as possible, check your state DMV’s website before you head out to do these things.

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