Out of all the things you need to do when you move to a new state, updating your car insurance might seem like the least fun to think about. But don’t stress. Changing your insurance is relatively easy and does not need to take up too much time. Here’s what you should know about changing your car insurance when you move to a new state.
In this article:
Why do I need to change my car insurance when I move to a new state?
Car insurance policies are issued, administered and regulated at the state level, so you usually need a new policy when you move to a new state. Even if you stay with the same national or regional insurance company, such as State Farm or Erie, the company typically needs to issue a new policy that complies with your new state’s requirements and regulations.
The good news is that your existing policy will continue to provide coverage, albeit on a temporary basis, after you move. Keep your existing policy in force until your new policy takes effect to avoid a lapse in coverage.
How long do I have to change my insurance after I move?
Since you usually need to show proof of in-state insurance to register a vehicle, you’ll have to put your new car insurance policy in place prior to the deadline for registering your vehicle in your new state.
Many states require new residents to register their vehicles within 30 days of moving, but some allow more time. You can usually find this information on the website of your new state’s vehicle registration agency.
Many states also require an in-state driver’s license to register your vehicle, and some issue driver’s licenses and vehicle registrations at different locations. Though the specific requirements vary by state, it’s usually best to complete these tasks in the following order:
- Get an insurance policy in your new state.
- Obtain your new driver’s license.
- Register your vehicle.
Before you go to your state’s licensing office, find out if you can complete the second and third steps during the same visit, and if you can reserve an appointment.
Also, find out about the documents you’ll need and whether you’ll have to complete an emissions test or any other vehicle inspection beforehand.
How do I change car insurance after I move to a new state?
Changing car insurance when you move to a new state is only a little different from shopping for new car insurance under most other circumstances. Here are steps you can take to streamline the process.
Talk to your current agent
If you like working with your current agent, ask them to help you find insurance in your new state. Insurance agents can only sell insurance in states where they are licensed, but some are licensed in multiple states. If your current agent is not licensed in your new state, they may be able to refer you to a colleague who is.
Even if your agent does help, you should still compare quotes from multiple companies in your new state to find the best rate.
Consider shopping early to bundle
You don’t have to purchase insurance before you move, but if you’re already shopping for a home or renters policy, consider doing so in tandem with your car insurance. Most insurance companies offer multipolicy discounts. Shopping for these coverages together may also spare you the time of having to review an additional set of quotes.
Expect different coverages and rates
Whether you shop before or after you move, be prepared to see quotes with coverages, limits and rates that are different from those in your existing policy. Not only does each state have its own insurance regulations and requirements, your rates are based on insurance companies’ costs of doing business in that particular state.
Keep your declarations page handy
Though your new state will have a different set of car insurance rules, you should still keep a printed or electronic copy of your existing policy’s declaration page handy when you shop.
Often called a dec page, this document will show how the coverages and rates in your new state compare to those in your old state. If the coverages or policy limits shown in any new quotes vary from those on the existing dec page, ask the agent if the discrepancies are due to legal requirements, an oversight or something else.
You can simplify the process by sharing your dec page with any agents who provide you with a quote. This can reduce the amount of time it takes them to propose coverages that are comparable to those you had before your move, within your new state’s framework.
Make the switch
Once you’ve selected your policy, set your start date and submitted your initial payment, it’s time to cancel your old policy. The cancellation date for your old policy needs to correspond with the start date of your new policy to avoid a lapse or overlap in coverage.
It’s usually easiest to provide your cancellation date by phone to your agent or insurance company, but some companies allow you to cancel online or by fax. Regardless of the method you choose, make sure to get written confirmation of the cancellation date.
Insurance companies are required to return any premiums you’ve already paid for coverage beyond your cancellation date, minus any early-termination fees they charge. If you’re behind on your payments, you’ll still be responsible for paying for coverage up to the cancellation date.
What do I tell my insurance company after an in-state move?
You don’t have to get a new car insurance policy after an in-state move, but you do need to notify your insurance company of your new address. When you do so, the insurance company will update your rates for your new ZIP code.
If you’re moving to a crowded city from a suburban or rural location, your rates will probably go up. This is because accidents tend to happen more frequently in urban locations than they do in areas with lower population densities. However, it’s also possible for your rates to change when you move between communities that otherwise seem similar.
You never want to lie about your address or fail to disclose your new address just to get a better car insurance rate. Doing so can be considered a misrepresentation that could come back to bite you if you ever have to file a claim.
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