Can I use a PO box for my car insurance?

You can register a PO box for car insurance paperwork and other mail, but you must also provide a physical address because car insurance rates depend on your ZIP code.

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Zaneta Wood, Ed.S. has over 15 years of experience in research and technical writing bringing a keen understanding of data analysis and information synthesis to reach a wide variety of audiences. She studied adult education and instructional technology at Appalachian State University as well as technical and professional communication at East Carolina University. Zaneta has prepared technical p...

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Joel Ohman is the CEO of a private equity backed digital media company. He is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, author, angel investor, and serial entrepreneur who loves creating new things, whether books or businesses. He has also previously served as the founder and resident CFP® of a national insurance agency, Real Time Health Quotes. He has an MBA from the University of South Florida. Jo...

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Reviewed by Joel Ohman
Founder & CFP®

UPDATED: Jan 21, 2021

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Here's what you need to know...

  • You always have to provide a physical address on your auto insurance for rating purposes
  • Insurers will let you provide two addresses when your mailing address doesn’t match your physical one
  • You can mail your insurance documents and communications to street addresses or to PO boxes in your name
  • Your physical address is only needed because the insurance company calculates rates based on your zip code
  • Most motor vehicle agencies would prefer that the name and address match on your registration and insurance

If you have a PO box, you appreciate the fact that you can have your confidential paperwork sent to a securely locked box that you can check at your leisure.

You don’t have to worry about people fishing through your mail for sensitive information or stealing your birthday presents sent from long-distance relatives. Post office boxes can definitely give you peace of mind.

Not all mail can be sent to a PO box. Some companies have limited systems that won’t allow the PO box to be inputted into the system. Other companies will only offer attended deliveries to an address that can be verified.

When you’re buying your auto insurance, the carrier is going to need the address where you reside. Enter your zip code above to compare car insurance rates. See how much you could save!

Buying Car Insurance is the Law

You must have the right motor vehicle liability insurance to register a car. Since registering your car is mandatory, insurance is also mandatory. As long as your car has tags it has to at least have the minimum mandatory auto insurance requirements covering it.

Not only do you need insurance, you also need to be sure you buy it from a licensed company.

One of the biggest mistakes that people make when they are shopping for a policy to comply with the mandatory rules is setting up a policy that doesn’t satisfy the state’s requests.

You may have the right limits and an approved carrier but your coverage can still be turned away if the policy isn’t structured right.

Most states have a requirement that says that the name and address on your insurance must match the name and address on your tags. While this is important, it’s often overlooked.

If you have only one address, you don’t have to worry about matching the names. If you do have separate addresses, you’re better off structuring everything to match.

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What happens if the two don’t match?

If your auto insurance and registration addresses don’t match, it’s possible that the electronic system that verifies the status of insurance policies won’t recognize your coverage.

When this happens, the system thinks that the vehicle doesn’t have an active policy.

If the system believes that your coverage has lapsed, the process of suspending the vehicle’s plates will start. The motor vehicle agency takes action rather quickly and they will send you a notice asking you to provide proof of coverage.

If you can’t provide updated proof showing that the policy matches your registration, you could be fined.

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Can you put a PO box on your registration documents?

Government agencies can be very picky. You have to follow the rules whenever you’re registering a car even if the rule seems pointless.

In some states, the use of a PO box on a registration is completely prohibited or limited to when you also list a physical address. Some states, like California, have more lenient rules that allow you to use only a PO box when registering a car.

Can I get car insurance without a permanent address?

You have to give two addresses when you buy insurance. One address is strictly for mailing. If you like to get all of your bills mailed to your PO box, make sure to put the PO box in the quoting form where you’re asked for contact information.

This is where your communications will be mailed including:

  • your quotes
  •  your application
  • your bills

The second address that you’re expected to provide is a physical address. If you provide a PO box and you’re submitting an application, an error will pop up and ask for your physical address as well.

The physical address, or garaging address, is where your car is parked most of the time when you’re at home. Most people park their cars at homes but some keep their cars parked away from their residence.

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Why is the garaging address so important?

The physical address that you give can affect your premiums. Your zip code is one of the many pieces of information that is used to rate policies and set premiums.

If you’re in an area where car thefts and vandalism is common, you’ll pay more than someone who lives in a safer area with less property crime. Always check rates when you’re moving from one zip code to another.

You can’t use only a PO box for your car insurance but you can use it for mailing. Some carriers will only ask for the zip code where your car is stored and others want the full address. If you’re getting quotes, make sure that the addresses are accurate.

Compare online quotes right now and find a value-priced auto policy in minutes. Enter your zip code below to get started.

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