Rachel Bodine graduated from college with a BA in English. She has since worked as a Feature Writer in the insurance industry and gained a deep knowledge of state and countrywide insurance laws and rates. Her research and writing focus on helping readers understand their insurance coverage and how to find savings. Her expert advice on insurance has been featured on sites like PhotoEnforced, All...

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Leslie Kasperowicz holds a BA in Social Sciences from the University of Winnipeg. She spent several years as a Farmers Insurance CSR, gaining a solid understanding of insurance products including home, life, auto, and commercial and working directly with insurance customers to understand their needs. She has since used that knowledge in her more than ten years as a writer, largely in the insurance...

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Reviewed by Leslie Kasperowicz
Former Farmers Insurance CSR

UPDATED: Nov 26, 2020

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What You Should Know

  • Registering a vehicle in a different state is illegal unless you meet one of the few exceptions
  • Military members, vacation homeowners, and drivers with cars out of state may qualify to have insurance in a different state
  • Purposefully registering a vehicle in a different state to save on car insurance is a fraud, and drivers may be dropped by their insurer or have their claims denied

Can I Register a Car in a Different State Than My License?

Depending on your unique situation, you might be considering registering your car in a different state than where you live. How does insurance work when registering a car in a different state? Drivers who are seeking to find out can I register my car in a different state need to read on.

Today, we’re explaining everything you need to know about registering a vehicle in a different state than where you live. We will go over the auto insurance frequently asked questions to explain when it is legal, and when you may be committing fraud.

If you want to find cheap rates for your car, no matter what state it is registered in, enter your ZIP code in our free tool above.

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Do I Have to Register My Vehicle at My Home Address?

Can I have my car registered in another state if it isn’t my current home address? With very few exceptions, you must always register your vehicle at your current home address in the state you live in.

In which state do you live right now? What is your current address? What’s your permanent address? Whatever the answer to that question is – that’s where you must register your vehicle.

There are plenty of situations where someone lives in one state but works or studies in another. You might live in a border town, for example, and drive into work in a different state every morning. Or, you might be living away from home and going to school, such as a college student’s auto insurance address.

In fact, failing to register your vehicle at your current address – even if you register a car in a different county or register a car in a different name – could be considered fraud.

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Does your auto insurance and registration address have to match?

Can I register my car in another state and have a different insurance address? Insurance companies generally need your registration address and your insurance address to match. With few exceptions, including military members registering a car in a different state, you cannot register your car at one address and insure it at another address.

What if you lie about where you live to an insurance company? Registering and insuring your car at two different addresses could cause serious problems. It could be considered insurance fraud, for example. If you get into an accident and make an insurance claim, then your claim could be denied, which is why you should never lie on your auto insurance application.

Why is it fraud? According to the Insurance Information Institute (III), lying on an application about any detail, no matter how small, is a fraud. Rates vary vastly by location, so lying about a location to get a cheaper rate is illegal. Take a look at the table below to see how average rates for a full coverage policy vary by state.

Average Annual Auto Insurance Rates for Full Coverage by State
STATEAverage Annual Auto Insurance Rates
District of Columbia$1,307.62
New Hampshire$777.98
New Jersey$1,353.96
New Mexico$896.58
New York$1,300.09
North Carolina$745.17
North Dakota$737.63
Rhode Island$1,219.29
South Carolina$910.51
South Dakota$717.73
West Virginia$1,015.57
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For all of these reasons, you need to make sure you’re abiding by your insurance company’s requirements. If you’re unsure, call your insurance company and verify how to register your car in a different state and your address information. You don’t want to wait until after an accident when it’s too late to find out can you drive a car registered in another state.

What if I am moving to a new state?

Can you register a car in another state after a move? If you’re permanently moving to a new state and changing your auto insurance, then you are typically required to transfer your car registration and auto insurance within 30 to 90 days of your move.

Make sure you are familiar with the registration requirements of how to register a vehicle in a different state. Failure to complete the proper tasks within a specific period of time may lead to fines and further delays. In severe cases, it could even cause car insurance claims to be denied or car insurance to be canceled entirely.

In What Situations Can a Car Be Registered in a Different State?

How can I register my car in another state and make it legal? In some cases, obtaining car registration in a different state where you are a non-resident is considered fraud. In a small number of cases, however, registering your car in a different state is perfectly okay. Read on to learn about registering a car in a different state, as knowing the registration requirements to register a car in another state legally is important to avoid fines.

What if the car’s owner and driver are in different states?

Can I register a vehicle in another state if the driver is in that state? If your family has two cars, then both vehicles are probably registered under the same insurance policy. But what happens if the driver of one of the cars becomes a resident of a different state? Can I register a car with an out of state license? If you’re the sole owner of the car, then you may be able to register the car in the state in which the driver, now a resident, then get a new policy for that driver. However, it’s generally easier to transfer ownership of the vehicle to the driver (unless you have a loan or lease on the vehicle) if the car is registered in a different state.

What if snowbirds are in different states?

Do you need to know how to register a vehicle in a different state if you spend roughly equal time in two different states? Auto insurance is one of the complications of owning an out-of-state vacation home. Typically, state requirements force non-residents to have auto insurance for that state if you spend more than 90 days a year in that state. So if you are spending months at your vacation home, you may need to consider registering a car at a vacation home.

For example, can a snowbird register a car in Florida? If you spend more than 90 days a year in Florida, for example, then you are required to have Florida auto insurance even if you are a resident of another state. Most other states have similar requirements. Yes, that means you’re going to need two different insurance agents and policies for the same vehicle.

If you decide to leave a car in one state permanently, however, then you might cancel your auto insurance at the end of every season, then surrender your plates and cancel your vehicle registration. Then, you repeat the entire registration and insurance process at the start of the next season. In other cases, your insurance company might offer steep discounts for cars stored securely during the off-season, in which case you don’t have to cancel your auto insurance policy entirely during the off-season.

Can You Have the Same License Plate in Different States?

While this question may appear similar to “can I have a car registered in a different state than my license,” the answer is surprisingly different. If you have a personalized license plate in one state and move to another state you can apply for the same personalized plate as a resident of that state.

What if I’m active military personnel in different states?

Can my car be registered in a different state if I am military? Most military personnel are required to declare a state of residence. Typically, this is your home state – it’s not necessarily the state where you will be stationed. Your car will be registered and insured in the state where you are a resident, regardless of where you are stationed.

Ultimately, there are few situations where you can register your car in a different state as a non-resident. In most cases, you need to register your car at your current permanent address, wherever that address may be.

These registration requirements apply to students, those working in a different state, and others in unique situations. Unless you meet one of the few exceptions, you generally need to register your vehicle at your current permanent address in the state where you are a resident.

We hope our guide answered your question of can I have a car registered in a different state than my license. To start saving on auto insurance rates in your area, enter your ZIP code in our free tool below.