Leslie Kasperowicz holds a BA in Social Sciences from the University of Winnipeg. She spent several years as a Farmers Insurance CSR, gaining a solid understanding of insurance products including home, life, auto, and commercial and working directly with insurance customers to understand their needs. She has since used that knowledge in her more than ten years as a writer, largely in the insuranc...

Full Bio →

Written by

Melanie Musson is the fourth generation in her family to work in the insurance industry. She grew up with insurance talk as part of her everyday conversation and has studied to gain an in-depth knowledge of state-specific car insurance laws and dynamics as well as a broad understanding of how insurance fits into every person’s life, from budgets to coverage levels. She also specializes in automa...

Full Bio →

Reviewed by Melanie Musson
Published Insurance Expert

UPDATED: Mar 13, 2020

Advertiser Disclosure

It’s all about you. We want to help you make the right coverage choices.

Advertiser Disclosure: We strive to help you make confident car insurance decisions. Comparison shopping should be easy. We are not affiliated with any one car insurance provider and cannot guarantee quotes from any single provider.

Our car insurance industry partnerships don’t influence our content. Our opinions are our own. To compare quotes from many different car insurance companies please enter your ZIP code on this page to use the free quote tool. The more quotes you compare, the more chances to save.

Editorial Guidelines: We are a free online resource for anyone interested in learning more about car insurance. Our goal is to be an objective, third-party resource for everything car insurance-related. We update our site regularly, and all content is reviewed by car insurance experts.

Auto insurance laws vary from one state to the next. Because of these variations, it’s important to always maintain an auto policy for the state where you will be using the vehicle. Failure to carry proper insurance could lead to legal troubles with the DMV and might lead to a suspended license due to insufficient insurance coverage. For people moving to a new state, transferring auto insurance is a necessary step of the move.

Every state sets its own required insurance coverage. In some areas, the limits of liability are substantially lower than others. If a person moves from a state where liability limits are only $5,000 to a state where the limit is $25,000, he can be fined for carrying insufficient car insurance and may even face a suspended license until the insurance policy is corrected.

Some states also have specific laws governing the application of coverage; for example, some states carry uninsured motorist coverage that can protect a driver from someone without insurance, while other states do not have this coverage. There are also some states that require a driver to pay his own medical expenses out of his car insurance policy when injured in an accident, while other states enable drivers to pursue legal action against the at-fault party in an accident.

As a rule, car insurance companies will base the application of coverage on the state laws of the policy state, rather than the state where the accident occurred. If a person lives in a different state from his insurance policy, he could be found guilty of insurance fraud. This would lead to claims denials and canceled insurance coverage; depending on the circumstances, it could also lead to legal action being taken against him.

How long after I move do I have to get a new driver’s license?

Whenever someone moves to a new state, he must obtain a driver’s license and vehicle registration for that state within 30 to 90 days, depending on the state’s laws. Students and transient workers are excluded from this as they maintain permanent addresses elsewhere, but all other new residents to a state must follow this law or risk legal action.

Getting a new license is usually quite easy. The driver must take an eye exam and have a simple background check completed; he may also need to complete a written driving exam. After the necessary fees are paid, the new license should be available within a few weeks.

Registering a vehicle may be slightly more complicated, depending on the destination, as some states have more stringent emissions requirements than others. A driver must have his vehicle inspected and certified with an emissions test; if the vehicle passes, the paperwork can then be provided to the DMV and the new registration can be processed. If the vehicle does not pass, it will need to be repaired to the emissions standard.

How do I buy car insurance in my new state?

Most major car insurance companies are available in all states. In order to transfer coverage to a new location, the insured simply needs to call the company and provide the date and destination. The customer service representative will discuss any necessary changes that might occur in the policy, such as an increase in liability limits, and will also provide information about rate changes. Depending on the destination, insurance premiums may actually decrease when the policy is transferred to a new state. If the policy will go up in price, the agent can make suggestions for reducing the cost without sacrificing necessary coverage.

The insurance policy can be transferred at any point in the moving process. Be aware that the insurance company will report to the local DMV, so it’s best to have the vehicle registered as quickly as possible after the change in insurance becomes effective. Nearly every state will give a new resident at least 30 days to complete the necessary paperwork, so there is no rush to change insurance and registration immediately during a hectic move.

If you handle your car insurance online or over the phone, the customer service department should be the same regardless of where you live. If you prefer to have a local agent, you can ask your current agent if he has any recommendations or can refer you to a local agency where you will move. Otherwise, you can shop around in town for a new agent who will suit your needs.