Can I have auto insurance from a different state than the state I live in?

Most states require your car to be insured in the state where it's registered, and auto insurance registrations typically need to match the driver's current address.

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Mathew B. Sims is Editor-in-Chief and has authored, edited, and contributed to several books. He has been working in the insurance industry ensuring content is accurate for consumers who are searching for the best policies and rates...

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Dan Walker graduated with a BS in Administrative Management in 2005 and has been working in his family’s insurance agency, FCI Agency, for 15 years (BBB A+). He is licensed as an agent to write property and casualty insurance...

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Reviewed byDaniel Walker
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UPDATED: Apr 23, 2020

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Things to Remember...

  • If you move to a different state and don’t tell your insurance company (usually within 30 days), then your insurance company may refuse to honor your insurance contract because you failed to comply with the terms of the agreement
  • Auto Insurance rates vary from state to state
  • If you are a resident of two states, many people simply get their insurance in the state where their vehicle is registered

While it is possible to have auto insurance from a state you don’t live in, that doesn’t make it legal. An auto insurance company doesn’t know that you have made a move until you take the time to let them know.

The truth is that thousands of drivers fail to change over their insurance after they move to another state.

The problem is that if you have an auto accident in New York and your insurance is based in Delaware, your auto insurance company may question why you are in New York.

If you reveal that you are living there, then the insurance company can refuse to honor your insurance contract because you essentially lied on your policy by not changing the area in which you live.

This is important because rates and coverages vary from state to state.

The risk of an accident in New York is higher than it is in Delaware, which means that the insurance company charges you more for your New York auto insurance.

If the insurance company can find a way to prove you didn’t change your residence in order to avoid paying higher fees, then you could be charged with fraud.

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What are the penalties if I don’t change my auto insurance when I move?

The worst possible thing that could happen is that you could end up in jail.

This is also the most unlikely scenario as well. Most insurance companies are more interested in getting the money that you owe them than sending you to jail.

However, insurance fraud is a crime and the insurance company doesn’t even have to file charges against you in order for you to be investigated for fraud.

Again, this is very unlikely, but the DA could make the decision to pursue a case against you despite the position of your insurance company, so that is something that you need to be aware of.

The most likely outcome is that your insurance company will charge the difference between your old premiums and what you should have been paying.

In addition, they will most likely refuse to pay for any damages from an accident or act of nature. Lastly, in all likelihood, they will also drop you as a customer.

This could hurt you financially because they will mark on your underwriting profile that you moved out of state and didn’t inform the insurance company.

Other insurance companies may automatically charge you a little extra because there is the chance you will do something like that again in the future.

If you make any move at all, you should inform your insurance company immediately. Even a move to a new zip code can affect your rates.

What’s more, your rates could be less, but you won’t know until you talk to your insurance agent or use a quote tool.

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What do I do if I am a resident in two states?

If you are a resident of two states, you have several options. Many people simply get their insurance in the state where their vehicle is registered.

So, if you live in Florida and Georgia because of business, and your car is registered in Florida, then you should maintain Florida insurance.

In fact, many state laws will not allow you to register a vehicle in their state until you have insurance from that state. That is not always the case.

However, it is important that you know your state’s laws before you make any changes to your auto insurance.

If you are moving and you aren’t sure where your car is going to be registered, then your second consideration should be where you are going to spend the most time.

If you are spending three months in Florida and nine months in Georgia, for example, then you may want to consider purchasing insurance in the state where you are going to spend the most time.

Lastly, if you are splitting your time 50/50, then you might want to consider the state with the lowest rates. Then get your car registered in that state and pay insurance through that state.

Don’t forget to discuss this with your insurance agent too. Some insurance companies will require you to maintain the more expensive policy while others will let you decide for yourself.

How hard is it to make a change to my insurance policy?

Actually, changing your insurance is remarkably easy. All you have to do is call your agent and let them know you want to make a change. It will be done in a matter of minutes.

In fact, there are many insurance companies that allow you to make the changes online so you don’t have to talk to an agent at all.

Before you make a change, however, make sure you take the time to get an auto insurance quote so that you can compare rates and see who will offer you the lowest rates for your new insurance needs.

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