Do your car insurance and registration address have to match?

Depending on the state you live in, the law might say your car insurance and registration address have to match. Your ZIP code plays a large role in determining your car insurance rates.

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A former insurance producer, Laura understands that education is key when it comes to buying insurance. She has happily dedicated many hours to helping her clients understand how the insurance marketplace works so they can find the best car, home, and life insurance products for their needs.

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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 22, 2021

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Here's what you need to know...

  • Some states require the registration and insurance to match, so check local laws
  • Insurance companies must know where an insured vehicle is stored and typically driven
  • Failure to provide the insurance company with accurate information can lead to problems with claims

Typically, a car is registered to and insured by the same individual. However, there may be instances where the owner of a car will allow someone else to pay for the coverage.

The problem is that this may not be allowed by your company, and it may not even be legal in some states.

Start comparison shopping for auto insurance in your state by entering your zip code above!

When Insurance and Registration Can Be in Different Names

There are cases where the owner of a car may not want to insure it, such as when it’s actually driven regularly by another family member.

Most states allow for an individual to insure a vehicle without actually being the owner.

However, you should be aware that the insurance companies do have the right to refuse to insure said vehicle, so you’ll want to check with your provider ahead of time.

If you are carrying the insurance on a car owned by another party, remember that anyone who drives the vehicle on a regular basis should be listed with the insurance company. These people may include any active adult drivers living in your household.

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Understanding Insurable Interest

Insurance is designed to protect people from financial losses. When someone who does not have a financial interest in the vehicle obtains insurance coverage, they do not have an insurable interest.

In essence, they have nothing to lose if the car is wrecked, and so the insurance companies may choose to deny coverage in the event of an accident.

A clear example of this can be seen in Hoskins V. Miller, a legal case in Michigan. In this case, a couple helped their adult daughter purchase a car while she was living with them. They obtained insurance in their names, and she drove the car.

When she moved out, the title was turned over to her, but the insurance remained in her parents’ names.

After she was involved in an accident, she attempted to file a claim against the company for her medical expenses, but they refused to cover it stating that she was not a named driver and could not be covered as a relative because she did not live with her parents.

This case lost in the courtroom, and the daughter was left without any coverage for her medical bills. If the title had been in the parents’ names along with the insurance, then they may have had an insurable interest and would still have had coverage.

When Moving to a New State, You Must Change the Registration and Notify your Car Insurance

Insurance rates can vary drastically from state to state, so you can expect your rates to either raise or lower when you move from one market to another.

It’s tempting to leave your registration in another state to save on the insurance, but this is illegal in most states.

When you relocate, plan on changing the registration and informing your insurance provider of the new address.

Car Insurance Companies Require Full Disclosure On Your Address

With insurance rates being set in part by geography, consumers often find that moving just a few miles can lead to changes in their premiums. It may be tempting to register the car at a friend’s home in another zip code, but this can also lead to problems.

Companies base their rates in part on where a vehicle is parked and where the insured parties reside.

An insurance company provided with fraudulent information has the right to refuse to pay claims related to accidents, theft, or vandalism. In order to keep your policy fully enforceable, provide the insurance company with accurate and honest information.

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Laws Vary by State

If you’re interested in buying a car and letting someone else insure it, check your state laws first. New York has very strict requirements regarding the registration and insurance.

Those requirements are:

  • That only one or two names are allowed on a registration
  • Any named registrant must show proof of identity and sign the vehicle registration/ title application
  • Legal names on the registration must appear on the insurance identification card

Easy Answer for Resident Family Members

If the car is owned by family members whom you live with, then the solution is quite easy. You just need to be listed on their policy as a listed driver.

Being listed on their policy allows you to use it for daily driving without having to worry about coverage.

Cutting Back on Fraud

One reason insurance companies want the car to be owned and insured by the same person is to minimize the risk of fraud.

Without this requirement, someone with a bad driving record could ask a friend with a clean record to provide them with insurance.

Substituting a friend with a clean record doesn’t provide the insurer with a clear risk assessment, and the company would not be able to assess accurate premiums.

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Financed Cars Have Special Considerations

When it comes to financed cars, you have to contend with the insurance company, the state, and the lienholder. Finance companies expect that the car will be titled, insured, and registered in the same name.

At most, you may be able to finance the car and add the other party as a “named insured” driver.

Protect your investment by providing your insurer with accurate information.

If you really need to have different names on the registration and insurance, then you may need to shop around for a company that allows it.

In the event that your state will not allow this practice, then see about having the person who will carry insurance added to the registration.

If you are searching for the best auto insurance quotes, start comparison shopping by entering your zip code below!

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Enter your ZIP code below to view companies that have cheap car insurance rates.

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