How to Transfer Car Insurance & Driving Credentials to a New State

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Co-authored by: American Automobile Association Motor Club Federation This article was co-authored by American Automobile Association. The American Automobile Association (also known as “AAA” or “Triple A”) is a federation of motor clubs throughout North America and a non-profit organization focused on the safety of the driving public and the future of mobility. Best known for providing its members with roadside assistance, AAA has also been providing auto repair services and insurance for auto, home, life, and business for over a century. Founded in 1902, AAA is headquartered in Heathrow, Florida. This article has been viewed 19,378 times. 1 votes – 100% Co-authors: 9 Updated: May 16, 2021 Views: 19,378 Categories: Car Insurance

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Step 2: Purchase a new auto insurance policy

Once you’ve taken a few days to settle into your new home, you should begin the process of transferring your vehicle’s insurance and registration documentation to your new state.

Most states require you to provide proof of insurance before you’re able to register your vehicle, so changing your auto insurance policy should be your first step.

You may be able to stay with the same insurer

If your current insurance company provides coverage in your new state, you may be able to stay with that insurer. Doing so would:

Simplify the process for you. Preserve any loyalty discounts you’re on track to receiving.

However, keep in mind that even if you stay with your current insurer, your policy rates and coverage may change to reflect the risks inherent to your new neighborhood and the minimum insurance required by your new state.

If you do decide to change insurers, you should know that you are allowed to switch car insurance policies mid policy. If you already paid for coverage, you may be able to get a prorated refund. However, some companies do have a cancellation fee.

This is especially true for drivers who are moving from a fault-based state to a no-fault state, such as Pennsylvania. In no-fault states, Personal Injury Protection insurance and additional forms of coverage may be required; so your new premiums may be higher than they were previously.

Call your insurance agent, ask if they provide coverage in your new state and ask for a quote of what your new rates and coverage would be.

Purchase a new policy

Once you’ve selected an insurance company:

Call an agent and provide them with all of the necessary information to purchase a new policy. Set your policy to begin the following day and make your initial payment. Next, call your old insurer and ask them to set the current day as the final date of coverage on your policy.

This way, your coverage will never lapse, and you won’t have any overlap on your insurance, either.


What is the seasonal residents and snowbirds exception?

Some Americans spend large quantities of time living in different parts of the country, like snowbirds or certain business owners. If this describes you as a temporary worker or a full-time student, what state should you purchase an auto insurance policy from? Can you insure a car in another state?

Customarily, you should purchase your auto insurance policy in the same state where your primary residence is located.

For example, if you balance your time between a vacation home in New Jersey and a permanent home in New York, you should purchase your insurance in New York. This will typically reflect your current vehicle registration or driver’s license address.

However, check the local state laws. In some states, like Georgia, you’re required to register your vehicle if you will be there for 30 days or greater, even if you are not a resident.

In cases like this, you may need to purchase insurance in one state while you’re living there and then cancel it and purchase new insurance in the other state you live in when you return there.

This helps prevent overlapping coverage, saving you money, but only works if your car travels with you.

You can also ask your insurance agent for more detailed information.  

Register Your Vehicle

Once you have insurance coverage in your new state, you can visit the DMV to obtain a new vehicle registration and a new license plate. Generally, you will have to provide your driver’s license, the title to your vehicle, and proof of insurance.

You will also need to show proof of residence and proof of identity. Most states accept Medicaid cards, military cards, refugee documents, and passports. Before you visit the DMV, you can check the website for a full list of approved documents. You will also need to pay a registration fee ranging from $25 to $60 on average.

Your new home state will issue a new license plate for your vehicle. You must mail the old license plate to the DMV in your old state.

Check with Your New State

Review the Department of Motor Vehicles website for your new state to find out the requirements for registration and auto insurance. You will usually have at least a month and often up to 90 days to get your new documents in place. According to ValuePenguin, failure to transition your driver’s license, auto insurance, and vehicle registration during this period can result in fines.

You might be able to remain with your insurance provider if the company serves your new state of residence. By doing so, you could preserve your existing loyalty discounts and avoid the hassle of changing insurance companies while in the middle of an interstate move. However, remember that the cost of your policy may change depending on your new geographic area, your new commute to work, and other factors. Don’t forget to shop for quotes from small, independent insurance companies that operate only in your new state; they often provide impressive rates.

If you move from a fault state to a no-fault state for the purposes of auto insurance, you will likely pay higher premiums. These states often require additional forms of coverage, which falls into four main categories:

  • Bodily injury coverage by accident and by person
  • Liability coverage for property damage
  • Underinsured/uninsured motorist coverage
  • Personal injury protection

Your new state may also require more or less minimum coverage than your old state did. For example, Arizona requires only $15,000 of liability coverage for bodily injury, while drivers in Alaska must carry $50,000 in bodily injury coverage. When you get a quote from an auto insurance broker, he or she can recommend coverage that meets state requirements.

You might also want to invest in more than the minimum coverage. Policy Genius recommends that drivers carry about $100,000 in coverage for property damage, $100,000 in bodily injury coverage per person, and $300,000 in bodily injury coverage per accident. The declaration page would express this type of policy as 100/300/100.

If you have purchased a new home in your new location or bought a new car , these updated assets may impact your credit rating. This in turn can affect the premium quotes you receive for auto insurance.

Are your possessions covered while you’re moving?

Depending on how you’ve chosen to move — hired movers, rental truck, a portable container, or DIY in the back of your old Honda — your property may or may not be covered between the time it leaves your home and arrives at its final destination. Some homeowner policies will cover your property everywhere, regardless of whether it’s in your home or in a moving truck. Other policies won’t cover anything once it’s out your door. This is something many people don’t think about, so definitely check your policy or call your agent.

If your own insurance policy won’t cover your property, you can get coverage through your moving company. By federal law, moving companies have to offer supplemental insurance for your property that will cover a set percentage of replacement costs, but you’ll need to increase that amount to get full coverage.

Noteworthy Exceptions When Insuring Your Car In A Different State

In general, your car cannot be registered in one state and insured in another, but there are some exceptions to that rule.

Military Personnel

If you are a member of the military, the rules are a little different for you. Servicepeople declare residency in the state to which they intend to return after deployment. Laws differ in each state, but almost all states make registration exceptions for active-duty military.

As long as your vehicle registration is current in your declared home state, you do not usually need to register in a state in which you are stationed.

Temporary Moves

For temporary moves, you may not have to change your registration, depending on the length of your stay (see table above).

If you are working in your temporary state, be aware that most states consider employment a means of establishing residency and will likely require you to change your car insurance and registration.

College Students

If you are a college student attending school out of state, you will probably need to register any vehicle you bring with you.

Speak with your auto insurance provider directly to find the best solution. If you need to leave your car behind but need to keep it insured, there are options for reducing fees, like low-mileage discounts and parked car insurance.

Where to Start Shopping after Moving Out of State


Peter Dazeley / Getty Images

Peter Dazeley / Getty Images

If you are moving to an unfamiliar state, you may not know where to start looking for car insurance. A good place to begin your search is with your current insurance agent. Your current agent should be able to look up other agents in your new location who sell insurance through the same insurance carrier.

Your current insurance carrier might not offer insurance in your new location, but it is worth a try. If you are moving to an area where you have friends and family, you should certainly ask for recommendations from them. Many large workplaces are also able to recommend car insurance agents, especially if a large percentage of their workers drive to and from work.

Moving out of state is also a good time to get multiple quotes from different insurance carriers. If you have to switch anyway, you might as well look around to compare insurance companies in your new area. Check online to see what is available in your immediate area. Checking the local phone book, or talking with your new neighbors to get a referral are also good ways to find a new agent. You’ll also notice that some small insurance companies only operate in certain states rather than nationwide, and many of these companies offer competitive prices and great customer service.

Making the Policy Switch


MartinPrescott / Getty Images

MartinPrescott / Getty Images

Once the new insurance policy is in place, you will need to contact your old insurance agent if you have not already done so. This communication is a good time to change your address as well. Why? Well, updating your home address will ensure you receive a refund check if one is warranted and sent by your old insurance company. It is always a good idea to request cancellation once you are done with an insurance policy.

Moving to another state brings about a lot of changes. Take time to get settled before stressing out about your car insurance. It is important to understand the laws in your new state and choose an insurance company that is a good fit for you and your family.

How is car insurance impacted when moving out of state?

If you’re moving out of state, you’ll need a new car insurance policy, even if you can stay with the same insurer. Your old policy will be canceled because every state has different coverage requirements and regulations. At Progressive, we have a team of representatives dedicated to handling your move quickly and seamlessly.

Your out-of-state move will also impact your car insurance rate. Rates are partially based on an area’s claims history, so fewer thefts, break-ins, and accidents in your new area can result in lower rates and vice versa. Your insurer may also use your annual mileage and commuting distance to help determine your rate. If your new address shortens your commute, you might see a lower rate, but if you’re driving more, you may see a rate increase.

Learn more about other car insurance cost factors.

What about moving in-state?

If you’re staying in the same state, you don’t need to get a new policy. Simply notify your car insurer of your new address. If you have a Progressive policy, you can update your address online or over the phone.

Like moving out of state, an in-state move will affect your car insurance rate, although the change will likely be smaller than an out-of-state move.

How do you find the best car insurance for you?

An insurance company must be licensed to sell insurance in your state, so if your current insurance company is not licensed where you live, then you are going to have to find a new insurance company. Thankfully, this process is easy.

Because an insurance quote is based on a specific area within a state, you will need to know your new ZIP code to obtain an accurate quote. If you aren’t sure, then you may want to get quotes using several ZIP codes for a range of places you are considering living in.

Don’t worry, you don’t have to fill out forms over and over again; once you have filled out your information, you can make whatever adjustments you need. Because it’s free, you don’t have to worry about limiting the number of searches you do.

When you use our quote tool to find insurance, you are paving the way toward saving money. Quote tools allow you to see what insurance competitors are charging for the same coverage, allowing you to make an educated choice about your car insurance.

Also, you will only get quotes from reputable companies that are financially stable, making it even easier to choose the right company. Don’t get stuck with out-of-state coverage, and don’t pay too much for what you buy.

If you were wondering about changing car insurance when moving out of state, we hope we’ve answered all your questions.

You now know what to do with car insurance when moving states and how to change car insurance when moving out of state.

Buy car insurance at a great rate in your new state by entering your ZIP code into our free quote comparison tool below to search for car insurance quotes now.


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