Chelsey Tucker graduated with a Bachelor of History degree from Metropolitan State University in 2019. She now writes about insurance with her specialty being life insurance and has been quoted on Help Smart Phone and MEL Magazine.

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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. He is licensed as an agent to write property and casualty insurance, including home, auto, umbrella, and dwelling fire insurance. He’s also been featured on sites like

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Reviewed by Daniel Walker
Licensed Auto Insurance Agent

UPDATED: Aug 23, 2021

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The lowdown...

  • Every state has different auto insurance laws and requirements that each vehicle owner must comply with
  • You have to comply with the mandatory insurance laws in the state where the vehicle is titled and registered
  • If you move to another state, you’ll only have 10 to 30 days to transfer your registration after becoming a resident
  • You can’t simply change your mailing and physical address on your insurance if you’re moving to another state
  • Don’t move your insurance to a carrier in the new state until after you’ve transferred your registration on your car

Moving to a new home in your current city is already hard enough.

When you’re moving to a new state, you may have to do the following:

  • rent a moving truck and pack up boxes
  • switch jobs
  • transfer your children to new schools
  • choose new doctors
  • transfer your registration
  • switch banks

While you’re balancing all of the tasks that come with an out-of-state move, you also have to update your insurance portfolio.

The last thing you think of is how your move is going to affect your auto insurance expenses. You know your home or renter’s insurance will have to change, but the change could be just as dramatic for the coverage on your cars.

Your responsibility goes beyond just changing your address. Get the car insurance coverage you need in place before you risk driving without coverage. Compare auto insurance quotes today for free.

What Are The State Laws in Your New State?

The auto insurance industry is regulated by the state. Not only do state legislatures determine how much insurance is adequate, regulators are also in charge of approving rates to ensure they are fair and non-discriminatory. So while insurance companies may operate in multiple states, the details of their policies are often different when you move. Unfortunately, they don’t always automatically make these changes when you change your garaging or mailing address. You may have to go in and make certain changes manually.

Since laws enacted aren’t passed at the federal level, what’s required by law in one state is going to be different than what’s required by another. This could be differences in the minimum amount of liability coverage you need or even the type of coverage you need. Proof of insurance looks different between locations with some states requiring “proof of financial responsibility.” Proof of insurance is just one option.

Typically, you have to carry at least some form of third-party liability coverage under the mandatory state law but that’s not always the case.

If the state operates under a no-fault system, you may need your own Personal Injury Protection. There are even states that don’t require insurance as long as the driver pays an uninsured motorist fee. In general, states that offer alternatives are referring to bonds or deposits with state offices for a set amount.

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Where Can You Find The Insurance Laws of Your New State?

When you’re going to become a resident in a new state, you should know the auto insurance laws before you leave. It’s easiest when you’re going from a tort state to another tort state because you have a general idea of how insurance works.

It becomes more difficult if you’re going to a no-fault state from a tort state. You can generally find state laws on state run sites. If you need someone to guide you through the process, you can also reach out to insurance agents in the state you’re moving to or auto insurance companies. At the very least, they can answer questions about any coverages you’ll need to add that you didn’t have before or if your liability insurance limits will be higher.

There are only two types of auto insurance systems in place in the United States.

  • The most common type of system is a tort system. A tort system is a fault-based system where all vehicle owners in the state must pay for the property damage and the injuries they cause while their cars are being operated. Bodily Injury and Property Damage are mandatory in tort states.
  • If you’re not in a tort state, you’ll be in a state with some type of modified no-fault system. Instead of holding the at-fault driver in an accident responsible damages, each driver pays for their own. Personal Injury Protection and Property Damage are often required.

Your Must Transfer Your Registration When Your Residency Changes


You have enough to worry about when you’re moving your belongings and settling into your new home. However, you can’t forget that you have to transfer your driver’s license and your vehicle registration in a timely manner or you’ll be cited and fined.

If you don’t know how long you have to transfer your registration and your license, you can find out by visiting the state’s official motor vehicle agency site.

Usually, you will have up to 30 days to provide all of the documents to transfer your license and registration. The countdown begins when you officially become a resident by moving into your home.

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Holding Insurance in Another State Doesn’t Satisfy the Law

If you’ve been with your insurer since you were licensed, you might feel most comfortable staying with your current agent.

Unfortunately, if you keep your insurance as-is and you move your registration, you will not be in compliance with the state law even though you have insurance elsewhere. To the state, it will appear as if you have no coverage at all.

Making basic changes to your current policy won’t cut it either.

You can update your mailing address with your agent so that you’ll get policy documents in the mail while you’re in the process of transitioning, but you’ll have to go beyond just that.

In fact, your insurer won’t let you list an out-of-state physical address because your risk will change. Make a temporary address change and then you’ll have to start the process to switch policies.

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Don’t Transfer Your Auto Insurance Too Early

It’s dangerous to postpone transferring your auto insurance and it’s also dangerous to transfer everything too early, too.

If you have your registration in your old state and then you move insurance to a carrier in your new state, it will look like you let your insurance lapse.

Auto insurance is electronically reported and can also be verified this way. If a lapse is reported to the DMV and you have current tags in the state, the motor vehicle agency has the right to suspend your registration and penalize you.

If you want to move your registration to the new state at a later date and you have unpaid fines, it could create some serious problems. It’s best to do everything on the same date you visit the DMV.

Make an Appointment For Shorter Waits

More and more local DMV offices offer their clients the option to make appointments online.

If you need to complete paperwork after your move, it’s best that you schedule an appointment so that you don’t have to wait for hours to complete your transaction.

Your old insurance providers might be able to offer you the option to transfer your insurance to a new agent in your new state. If the carrier doesn’t do business in the state, you need to shop around to find low rates.

Use our online comparison tool to get instant quotes and you’ll find the best policy in a fraction of the time.