Auto Insurance

How to Transfer Car Insurance and Registration after Moving

If you're moving to a new state, you'll need to transfer your car insurance policy, register your vehicle and get a new driver's license within the first month or two.


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You'll probably have to go to the DMV to transfer your license and registration, but you should be able to update your insurance policy online.

How to switch car insurance and registration when moving out of state

Step 1: Determine how much time you have to switch

Most states offer a grace period to get a new license, registration and insurance policy for your vehicle. That means you'll have some time to get settled after your move before you have to make a trip to the DMV.

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

  • Car insurance
  • License
  • Registration

Driver's license and registration grace periods by state

State
Registration
License
Alabama30 days30 days
Alaska10 days90 days
Arizona10 days10 days
Arkansas30 days30 days
California20 days10 days
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Failure to get a new driver's license and transfer your registration within the period your state requires may result in fines. If you register after the grace period, the DMV is unlikely to retroactively fine you, but you could get in trouble if you're pulled over.


Step 2: Get a new car insurance policy

Once you've taken a few days to settle into your new home, you should begin the process of shopping for a new car insurance policy.

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

How do I switch insurance when moving out of state?

You may not have to switch insurance companies if your current insurance company provides coverage in your new state.

Staying with your current insurance company would:

  • Simplify the process for you.
  • Preserve your loyalty discounts.

If you stay with your current company, your policy rates and coverage may change based on the minimum insurance required by your new state.

This is especially true for drivers who are moving from an at-fault state to a no-fault state. In no-fault states, personal injury protection and other forms of coverage may be required, so your new rates may be higher than they were previously.

Your company will also consider things like the crime and accident rates in your new neighborhood when determining how much you'll pay for insurance.

Minimum coverage requirements and average cost of insurance by state

State
Requirement
Monthly cost
Alabama25/50/25$50
Alaska50/100/25$41
Arizona25/50/15$64
Arkansas25/50/25$45
California15/30/5$50
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Compare Rates

Call your insurance agent or company, ask if they provide coverage in your new state and get a quote for new rates and coverage. If you work with a local agent, you will likely have to switch to an agent in your new area.

Shop around to get the best rates

In addition to getting a quote from your current insurance company, you should compare quotes from two to three other companies to find the cheapest car insurance.

Find cheap car insurance in your new state

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

For example, if you have a Geico policy in New Mexico and you're moving to Texas, you could stay with the company and continue to get good rates. However, local Texas insurance companies, like Texas Farm Bureau, may have even lower rates in your new town.

If you do decide to switch insurance companies, you're allowed to cancel your current car insurance mid policy. If you already paid for coverage, you will often get a partial refund. However, some companies charge a cancellation fee.

Buy a new policy

Once you've chosen an insurance company:

  1. Buy your new policy online or call an agent and provide them with the necessary info to get a new policy.
  2. Set your policy to begin the following day and make your initial payment.
  3. Call your old insurance company and ask them to cancel your coverage after your new policy begins.

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Step 3: Apply for a new license

Next, you'll need to apply for a new driver's license. You can usually do this at the same time and place as your vehicle registration.

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

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

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

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


Step 4: Register your car in your new state

Once you have a driver's license in your new state , you can transfer your title, register your vehicle and get a new license plate.

To register your car in most states, you'll have to bring your:

  • Driver's license
  • Proof of insurance
  • Your vehicle's title

If your car is loaned or leased and you need to show the title to register it, talk to your county clerk or ask your lender for a copy of the car's title.

You may also need to provide documents showing that you're a resident in the new state. Most states accept several different types of ID, but you should check your local DMV's website for specific needs

  • Passport
  • Military card
  • Refugee travel documents
  • Welfare or Medicaid card
  • Utility bill with your name and new address

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

  • Visit your local DMV.
  • Fill out vehicle registration and title application forms.
  • Pay registration fees.

After you complete your registration and get a new license plate, you may have to mail your old plate to your former state's DMV.


Frequently asked questions

How do I cancel my insurance when I move?

You can call your current insurance company to cancel your car insurance policy after you move. Make sure that you don't cancel your old policy until your new car insurance coverage starts to avoid a lapse in coverage, which could result in fines and higher rates.

Can you have car insurance in two different states?

You cannot have two insurance policies for a single car. However, your car insurance policy will cover you while driving outside of your home state. You can legally drive in your new state before you switch insurance, as long as you're within the grace period.

Does your insurance change when you move?

Your car insurance rates will probably change when you move to a new state. That's because each state requires different levels of coverage. Your rates are also affected by a range of factors that include accident rates and crime in your new neighborhood. That's why it's important to compare quotes from multiple companies when you move, even if it's just to another ZIP code in the same city.

How do I change car insurance to another state?

You should start by calling your current insurance company to see if it offers car insurance in your new state. Then, get online car insurance quotes from multiple companies to find the best rates and coverage in your new state.


Methodology

Driver's license and registration grace periods and minimum car insurance requirements are based on the regulations listed on state Department of Motor Vehicle websites.

To find the average cost of minimum-coverage car insurance, we gathered quotes from top car insurance providers in each state from ZIP codes across the U.S. Rates are based on a 30-year-old single man with good credit who drives a 2015 Honda Civic EX. Quotes include the minimum amount of coverage required in each state.

ValuePenguin's analysis used insurance rate data from Quadrant Information Services. These rates were publicly sourced from insurer filings and should be used for comparative purposes only. Your own quotes may be different.

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author's opinions and recommendations alone. It has not been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any of our network partners.