UPDATED: Mar 13, 2020
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One of the most common questions we get is whether you need to change car insurance when moving to a new state. And if you do, then how exactly do you update your insurance to reflect the change of address?
Sometimes, you have to change your car insurance ASAP when moving to a new state. In other cases, you may not need new insurance at all.
Confused? Let’s take a closer look at whether or not you need new car insurance in your situation.
In Almost Every Situation, You Need to Change your Car Insurance
Moving involves a lot of changes. In almost every situation, you need to contact your insurance company and tell them you’re moving to a new state.
Now, that doesn’t mean you have to cancel your plan or take drastic measures. There are plenty of nationwide insurance companies in America. In most cases, your insurance plan just needs to be updated with your new address.
In some states, however, policy requirements vary. You may need to add certain policies to your plan. Or, if you’re moving to a state with a higher cost of living, you may need to pay significantly more for your vehicle insurance.
Drivers who move to Louisiana are often shocked by the high insurance rates, for example, while those who move to, say, Iowa, can benefit from cheaper insurance (the lack of major weather, like snow and ice on the roads, also plays a factor, in addition to the risk of natural disasters, like earthquakes or hurricanes).
Never Cancel your Policy Before Setting Up Your New Policy
Every day, somebody in America makes this very simple and understandable mistake: they cancel their old vehicle insurance policy before setting up their new one in their new state. The next thing you know, you’re getting pulled over (or worse, getting in a collision) and have no legal insurance coverage. That’s a very bad thing.
Make sure this doesn’t happen to you. don’t cancel your policy in one state, then move to another state before getting a new policy. Obviously, it’s illegal to drive across state lines (or on any state roads) without a car insurance policy.
Don’t Rush: You Have 30 to 90 Days to Register your Vehicle in a New State
Typically, insurance experts recommend contacting your insurance company two months before a move. They’ll explain any differences you need to know, along with any new policies you may require, or any cost changes to your policy.
The rules between states vary, but you generally need to register your vehicle in your new state within 30 to 90 days of your moving day. Of course, it’s a smart idea to do this well before your moving day to make sure there are no surprises.
Don’t Forget to Compare Insurance Quotes in your New State
Insurance companies love when customers move to a new state – especially if that state has a lower cost of living. That’s because insurance companies may tell you to stick with your current insurance plan. They might drop a few dollars from the cost of your insurance – but the difference might not reflect the true difference in cost of living.
That’s why it’s very important to check for insurance quotes in your new state. Some states have considerably different insurance laws. Some states have lower costs of living. Your house may be closer to work, which means shorter commutes. Northern states have to factor in the higher accident rates associated with winter driving, while southern states generally do not.
Don’t forget to request insurance quotes from local insurance companies before you move. There’s never a better time to switch to a new insurance plan – even if you have to wait a few months for your current plan to expire.
Which States Offer the Cheapest Auto Insurance?
Are you moving to a state with cheaper auto insurance? That’s great! You could save hundreds of dollars per year on your policy. Here are the states with the cheapest auto insurance costs (based on your annual policy cost):
- Maine: $889
- Iowa: $985
- Wisconsin: $987
- Idaho: $1,011
- North Carolina: $1,022
- Vermont: $1,063
- Ohio: $1,099
- South Carolina: $1,108
- New Hampshire: $1,133
- Arizona: $1,176
Which States Have the Most Expensive Auto Insurance?
Some states have higher insurance costs for various reasons. California has higher overall property insurance costs (including auto insurance) because of hazards like earthquakes. In states like Louisiana, you pay more because of natural disasters like hurricanes and a higher risk of flooding. Here are the states with the most expensive policy costs:
- Louisiana: $2,536
- Oklahoma: $2,047
- Michigan: $2,013
- West Virginia: $2,002
- Washington, DC: $1,866
- Montana: $1,856
- Rhode Island: $1,830
- Wyoming: $1,732
- California: $1,709
- Georgia: $1,694
If you want to view complete details on the states with the cheapest and most expensive car insurance rates, then Forbes did a good writeup on vehicle insurance costs between states. You can read that comparison here.
Note: Forbes used data from 2012 in its list. To view updated data from the last available year, 2016, check out Insure.com’s annual study here.
You Only Need to Change your Vehicle Insurance If You’re Becoming a Permanent Resident of your New State
Up above, we told you that the vast majority of people need to change their vehicle’s insurance plan when moving out of state. That means some people don’t need to change their vehicle insurance.
Generally, if you are not becoming a permanent resident of your new state, then you don’t need to change your vehicle insurance. Temporary residents like students and snowbirds do not need to change vehicle insurance.
Temporary residency laws vary between states. In Texas, for example, you’re considered a temporary resident until you’ve lived in the state for 12 or more consecutive months.
That means snowbirds (anyone who travels south for the winter), temporary workers, and students do not typically need to change vehicle insurance when moving to a new state.
Ultimately, your insurance company is your best resource when deciding whether or not you need to change your car insurance. You’re not the first person to move from Maine to California – so talk to your insurance company to discover what you need to do when moving to your new home.