Insuring a Vehicle Out of State


When you think about auto insurance, you might assume it’s a paperwork nightmare; you would be correct in that assumption. Because insurance is regulated by your local state government. Rules, context and language change from state to state. This means that if you move out of state, you’re going to have to get an auto insurance policy that reflects your new state’s insurance laws.

Why Do I Have to Change My Insurance?

It seems a little weird that the federal government doesn’t regulate auto insurance, but since it doesn’t, auto insurance legislation is reserved for state governments. Like people, every state does things a little differently. What might be acceptable insurance coverage in Iowa doesn’t work in Nevada. Even if the state you’re moving to requires that you carry collision and liability insurance, policies you already have, you might not be carrying the right amount. State auto insurance carrying laws are very specific, and if you are caught with incorrect or invalid auto insurance, you risk steep fines and paying for repairs directly out of pocket if you’re involved in an accident. And did I mention that there’s a chance you could get sued? Yeah, not having the right insurance can really mess things up. That’s probably not the way you want to start off in your new state.

What if I’m Only Across State Lines for a Couple of Months?

One of the most common examples people cite about not having changed their auto insurance plan is that they are or are the parents of a student away at college. Not changing your policy in this instance is okay. Because you or your child is still part of your family unit, your insurance company will advise that you maintain your current policy.

Another example in which you don’t have to change your insurance is if you are traveling on the road as part of your job. Your auto insurance package should be applicable to your permanent address. When you’re traveling across state lines, your insurance will still work if you are involved in an accident.

When Do I Need to Change My Policy?

It is recommended that you change your policy only after you’ve moved to your new state. Driving around without auto insurance is illegal in all states, so cancelling in preparation of a move is not ideal. Some carriers (such as Allstate and State Farm) offer their services across the U.S. This means that changing your policy could be as easy as a simple phone call, but this isn’t always the case. There are certain insurance carriers that do not offer their services in other states. If your carrier does not provide their services in your new state, you’ll need to find a new one.

Sites like CoverHound help you to compare auto insurance quotes between different carriers, insuring that you are getting a fair deal. State timelines on changing your auto insurance vary by state. This means you will have to get a new policy before the mandated deadline. Deadlines to change your auto insurance policy vary by 30 days, 60 days, and 90 days. Check with your local DMV to see when you will have to show proof of your new insurance.

Whatever You Do, Don’t lie

While you could try fibbing on your insurance application and write that you actually live elsewhere, a few things can happen. On the one hand, you could receive discounted insurance rates that will actually help save you some money so you don’t have to pay as much in the process (though you could still be found fraudulent if you make a claim and your insurer investigates). But on the other hand, if you are found to be lying on an insurance application, which is a legal document and contract, you’ll be found guilty of insurance fraud and have the contract nullified for lying. This will make getting another insurance policy difficult, and once you do land another policy, expect a hefty premium.

While there are always loopholes in any situation – and if you look hard enough you can even find some in an industry as well regulated as the insurance field – it often just doesn’t make sense to try and save only a few dollars by risking thousands more.

Auto insurance is serious business. As a responsible adult, it’s your duty to keep yours in check.

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