Auto Insurance

Moving to a New State? Here's How to Transfer Your Car Insurance and Registration

Moving to a New State? Here's How to Transfer Your Car Insurance and Registration

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We've outlined the four steps you need to follow to change your car insurance policy and register your vehicle in a new state.

Moving to a new state is both stressful and exciting. You look forward to a new job, relationships, and a change of scenery. However, you also have to deal with all of the frustrations of changing homes, including complying with legal requirements such as transferring your car insurance policy.

If you're in the process of moving to a new state, here are steps you can take to transfer your car insurance and registration.

Step 1: Finish your move

With all of the work that goes into moving, it would be difficult for you to obtain new auto insurance and registration immediately upon changing states.

That's why states offer a grace period to obtain new license, registration and insurance documentation for your vehicle.

  • If you need to, take the first week after you move to settle in and take care of the pressing details of your transition before worrying about car insurance.
  • The number of days you have to obtain new driving-related documentation will vary depending on the state you're moving to, so you should consult your new state's DMV website to procure that information.

However, within 30 to 90 days of your move, you'll typically be required to transition your:

  • License
  • Registration
  • Auto insurance

Failure to complete these tasks within this period may result in fines and further delay the process.

The most important thing to remember is that you should not cancel your old auto insurance policy before setting up a new one.

  • It is illegal to drive without coverage, and if you're involved in a collision, the legal and financial ramifications could be disastrous.
  • Keep your current auto insurance policy for now and take care of the most pressing needs of your move.

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.

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, PIP 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.

Shop around to get the best rates

In addition to getting a quote from your current insurance company, we recommend gathering quotes from two to three additional insurers in order to compare rates.

Just because one insurance company gave you great rates in your old state does not mean they'll be the cheapest insurer in your new one.

For example, if you carried a GEICO policy in New Mexico and you're moving to Texas, you could stay with the company and continue to receive good rates. However, local insurance companies, such as Texas Farm Bureau, may offer even lower rates in your new town.

Compare coverage and quotes from the cheapest insurers in your state in order to find the best rates. Below, we feature the average cost of auto insurance in each state, for both full and minimum coverage, ordered from most to least expensive.

RankStateFull coverageMinimum coverageDifference
1Michigan$8,723$5,282$3,441
2Rhode Island$3,847$1,589$2,258
3Louisiana$3,525$1,329$2,196
4Kentucky$3,418$1,338$2,079
5Florida$3,370$2,565$805
6Nevada$3,190$1,295$1,895
7Colorado$3,164$1,075$2,089
8New Jersey$3,013$1,182$1,831
9Washington D.C.$2,793$1,260$1,533
10New York$2,752$1,323$1,429
11Arizona$2,699$980$1,719
12Oklahoma$2,659$742$1,916
13 (tie)Connecticut$2,619$1,192$1,428
13 (tie)Georgia$2,619$1,114$1,505
15Texas$2,594$890$1,704
16Missouri$2,584$874$1,710
17Utah$2,538$1,105$1,433
18Montana$2,525$641$1,884
19Delaware$2,513$1,316$1,197
20Maryland$2,431$1,180$1,251
21South Dakota$2,338$420$1,917
22Illinois$2,313$878$1,435
23Minnesota$2,271$983$1,289
24Arkansas$2,213$677$1,536
25Mississippi$2,208$749$1,459
26Oregon$2,205$1,136$1,070
27New Mexico$2,194$699$1,495
28Kansas$2,190$654$1,535
29West Virginia$2,131$685$1,447
30Wyoming$2,118$485$1,632
31Alabama$2,078$736$1,342
32Nebraska$2,038$599$1,439
33Pennsylvania$2,018$615$1,403
34South Carolina$2,013$854$1,158
35New Hampshire$2,004$643$1,361
36North Dakota$1,979$528$1,451
37Massachusetts$1,866$646$1,219
38Tennessee$1,821$577$1,243
39California$1,804$574$1,230
40Idaho$1,777$606$1,171
41Vermont$1,769$552$1,217
42Washington$1,691$706$985
43Ohio$1,688$561$1,127
44Wisconsin$1,590$486$1,104
45Alaska$1,502$485$1,016
46Virginia$1,498$607$891
47Indiana$1,489$498$991
48Iowa$1,482$357$1,124
49North Carolina$1,434$542$892
50Hawaii$1,340$475$865
51Maine$1,268$489$779
Rates are the average annual premium for a policy across insurers.

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Purchase a new policy

Once you've selected an insurance company:

  1. Call an agent and provide them with all of the necessary information to purchase a new policy.
  2. Set your policy to begin the following day and make your initial payment.
  3. 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.

Step 3: Register your vehicle in your new state

Once you've obtained insurance coverage in your new state, you can register your vehicle and get a new license plate.

In most states, in order to complete registration, you'll have to submit your:

  • License
  • Proof of insurance
  • Your vehicle's title

Additionally, you may need to provide proof of your identity and residency status. Documents that can be used to prove this information may include:

  • Passports
  • Military cards
  • Refugee travel documents
  • Welfare or Medicaid cards

However, you should consult your state's DMV website for a full list of their approved documents.

Your insurer may have provided you with temporary proof of insurance — either electronically or in the form of a printable document — when you purchased coverage. If not, you'll need to wait until your insurance card arrives in the mail to register your vehicle.

Once you have all of the necessary documentation, you should:

  • Visit your local DMV.
  • Fill out the vehicle registration and title application forms they provide.
  • Expect to pay registration fees between $25 and $60 in order to complete the applications.

Once you complete your registration and receive a new license plate, mail your old plate to your former state's DMV.

Step 4: Apply for a new license

Finally, you'll need to apply for a new driver's license. Ideally, this will be done at the same time and place as your vehicle registration.

However, you may need to travel to a new location to fill out this application and have your picture taken. Ask your attendant at the registration office where you can apply for a new driver's license.

As with your registration process, you'll need to:

  • Fill out a license application form.
  • Pay an application fee in order to obtain a new state license.

Once this process is complete, you'll be a fully registered driver in your new state.

Mark is a Senior Research Analyst for ValuePenguin focusing on the insurance industry, primarily auto insurance. He previously worked in financial risk management at State Street Corporation.

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