How Long is Auto Insurance Effective When Moving out of State?

It is important to have your insurance updated before an accident happens.
It is important to have your insurance updated before an accident happens. (Image: David De Lossy/Photodisc/Getty Images)

When you move to a new state, you only have a limited amount of time to switch your car insurance over. Because the risks, costs and regulations of insurance vary from one state to the next, the coverage you have in one state is not always valid or sufficient to provide protection in another. Insurance regulations aside, you are required to update your residency, and proof of valid insurance is required to register your car.

Insurance Change Regulations

You will typically have from 30 to 90 days to get your insurance updated when you move to a new state. This can be misleading, though, because most states require you to update your residency within 10 to 30 days, and proof of valid insurance will be necessary to get your vehicle registration transferred. The best advice is to update your insurance as soon as possible, avoiding a last minute rush to get the paperwork in order as time runs out.

States Regulate Insurance Laws

Instead of being regulated at the federal level, each state is responsible for regulating it within its boundaries. Because of this, not all insurance companies are licensed for nationwide coverage, which could leave you without any insurance at all if you move to a state your current company does not service. To find out whether your current company operates in the state you are moving, look it up on a website such as the insurance company index provided by the Free Insurance Advice website.

Transferring an Existing Policy

If your company does provide car insurance in the new state as well, talk to your agent about transferring your current policy. The insurance you require may change, and your premiums are almost certain to be different, but you will have the security of knowing you are covered by the same company you have previously used.

Temporary Relocation

Even if you are only moving to another state temporarily, you must conform to the insurance requirements of that state. In this case, check to see if your current company is licensed in the new state, and ask about having your coverage extended or temporarily modified while you are away. This method lets you keep your same policy but add any additional coverages necessary to meet the laws of your temporary location.

State Required Minimum Insurance

Car insurance requirements differ from state to state, but all states will require you to have some form of liability coverage if nothing else. This type of coverage will pay for injuries or damages you cause to someone else in an accident, but will not pay for damages to your own car. Similarly, liability insurance does not protect the contents of your car and will not be of any use if your vehicle is vandalized or stolen.

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