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: Sep 29, 2020

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Here's what you need to know...

  • No matter where you are moving, you should not cancel the insurance on your vehicle before your move.
  • Make sure your current car insurance policy is valid in your new state.
  • Change your car insurance when moving to another state once your current policy expires to avoid paying cancellation fees.
  • If you cancel your car insurance before moving, you could face penalties for driving without insurance, in some states that could mean fees or even jail time as a punishment.
  • When looking for an insurance company in your new state, you will need to know your new ZIP code to obtain an accurate quote.

How do you handle car insurance policies when moving out of state? This common question can make a cross-country move feel even more daunting. Changing car insurance, or auto insurance, when moving out of state is necessary, but it doesn’t need to add extra stress. 

Cancel your car insurance policy only after you have obtained new coverage in your new state. No matter where you are moving, if you drive a vehicle, you should not cancel the insurance before the move.

Many people incorrectly assume that if you move out of a specific state with specific laws, you can cancel your policy until you get to your new place of residence. However, when it comes to liability car insurance coverage, the complete guide states you can receive serious penalties if you’re caught driving without insurance.

Read through our comprehensive guide to learn why it isn’t a wise decision to cancel your car insurance when moving states and what you can do to ensure that your insurance transition from one state to another is a smooth one.

Do you have to change car insurance when you move? How to handle car insurance policies when moving out of state? Updating car insurance when moving doesn’t have to be stressful.

After you’ve settled into your new state, find the best car insurance policy by entering your ZIP code into our FREE quote comparison tool above to look for auto insurance quotes now.

Table of Contents

Why You Should Not Immediately Cancel Car Insurance When You Move States \ Do You Have to Switch Car Insurance When You Move?

When moving to a new state, many drivers wonder does car insurance cover out of state driving? Yes, when moving to a new state, car insurance will continue to cover you until your policy expires.

Switching car insurance from one state to another should therefore only happen if your new state does not accept the insurance from your previous state, or after your policy expires.

According to the Insurance Information Institute, virtually every state has a law in place requiring some form of liability coverage. As you drive through states to your new home, you still must follow these laws.

When you move from one state to another, your risk of getting into an accident doesn’t decrease simply because you are moving. Every registered vehicle in the U.S. is required to have some sort of insurance coverage, no matter where you live or where you are driving.

What would happen if you got caught driving during your move without insurance? Find the penalties for each state in the table below.

Penalties for Getting Caught Driving Without Insurance by State
StateFirst Offense
AlabamaFine: Up to $500; registration suspension with $200 reinstatement fee
AlaskaLicense suspension for 90 days
ArizonaFine: $500 (or more); license/registration/license plate suspension for three months
ArkansasFine: $50 to $250; suspended registration/no plates until proof of coverage plus $20 reinstatement fee; court may order impoundment
CaliforniaFine: $100-$200 plus penalty assessments. Court may order impoundment
ColoradoFine: $500 minimum fine; 4 points against your license; license suspension until you can show proof to the DMV that you are insured. Courts may add up to 40 hours community service
ConnecticutFine: $100-$1000; suspended registration/license for one month (show proof of insurance) with $175 reinstatement fee
DelawareFine: $1500 minimum fine; license/privilege suspension for six months
FloridaSuspension of license and registration until reinstatement fee is paid and non-cancelable coverage is secured; $150 fee for first reinstatement
GeorgiaSuspended registration with $25 lapse fee and $60 reinstatement fee. Pay any other registration fees and vehicle ad valorem taxes due
HawaiiFine: $500 fine or community service granted by judge. Either license suspension for three months or a required nonrefundable insurance policy in force for six months
IdahoFine: $75; license suspension until financial proof. No reinstatement fee.
IllinoisFine: minimum of $500; License plate suspension until $100 reinstatement fee and insurance proof
IndianaLicense/registration suspension for 90 days to one year
IowaFine: $500 if in accident; Otherwise, fine: $250; community service in lieu of fine. Possible citation/warning if pulled over plus removal of plates and registration possible when pulled over without insurance and reissued upon payment of fine or completed community service, proof of insurance, and $15 fee; possible impoundment when pulled over
KansasFine: $300 to $1000 and/or confinement in jail up to six months; license/registration suspension; reinstatement fee: $100
KentuckyFine: $500 to $1000 fine and/or sentenced up to 90 days in jail; license plates and registration revoked for one year or until proof of insurance is shown
LouisianaFine: $500 to $1000; If in car accident, fine plus registration revoked and driving privileges suspended for 180 days
MaineFine: $100 to $500; suspension of license and registration until proof of insurance
MarylandLose license plates and vehicle registration privileges; pay uninsured motorist penalty fees for each lapse of insurance — $150 for the first 30 days, $7 for each day thereafter; Pay a restoration fee of up to $25 for a vehicle's registration
MassachusettsFine: $500 to $5000 fine and/or imprisonment for one year or less
MichiganFine: $200 to $500 fine and/or imprisonment for one year or less; license suspension for 30 days or until proof of insurance; $25 service fee to Secretary of State
MinnesotaFine: $200 to $1000 (or community service) and/or imprisonment for up to 90 days; License and registration revoked for no more than 12 months
MississippiFine: $1000; driving privileges suspended for one year or until proof of insurance
MissouriFour points against driving record; driver may be supervised; suspended until proof of insurance with $20 reinstatement fee
MontanaFine: $250 to $500 fine and/or imprisonment for no more than 10 days
NebraskaLicense and registration suspension; reinstatement fee of $50 for each; proof of insurance to remain on file for three years
NevadaFine: $250 to $1,000 depending on length of lapse; registration suspension — until payment of reinstatement fee and, depending on circumstances, an SR-22 (proof of financial responsiblity) if lapsed more than 90 days; reinstatement fee: $250
New HampshireNot a mandatory insurance state. Proof of insurance may be required as the result of a conviction, crash involvement, or administrative action. If you are required to file proof of insurance and vehicles are registered in your name, you will be required to file an Owner’s SR-22 Certificate of Insurance.
New JerseyFine: $300 to $1000; license suspension for one year; pay surcharges for three years in the amount of $250 per year
New MexicoFine: up to $300 and/or imprisoned for 90 days; license suspension
New YorkFine: up to $1500 if involved in accident plus $750 civil penalty; license and registration suspension – revoked for one year; suspension of license if without
insurance for 90 days; suspension lasts as long as registration suspension; Suspension of registration: equal to time without insurance or pays $8/day up to thirty days for which financial security was not in effect, $10/day from the thirty-first to the sixtieth day $12/day from the sixtieth to the ninetieth day and proof of security is provided. Or for the same time as the vehicle was operated without insurance.
North CarolinaFine: $50; registration suspension until proof of financial responsibility but 30-day suspension if in car accident or knowingly driving without insurance; $50 restoration fee plus license plate fee
North DakotaFine: up to $1500 and/or 30 days in prison; 14 points against license plus suspension; Proof of insurance must be provided for one year; license with a
notation requiring that person keep proof of liability insurance on file with the department. The fee for this license is $50, and the fee to remove
this notation is $50.
OhioLicense/plates/registration suspension until requirements are met and $100 reinstatement fee is paid; maintain special high-risk coverage on file with the BMV for three to five years; If involved in accident without insurance: all above penalties and a security suspension for two plus years and an indefinite judgment suspension (until all damages are satisfied)
OklahomaFine: $250; jail time up to 30 days; license suspension with $275 reinstatement fee. Police can seize license plates and assign temporary plates and liability insurance — in effect for 10 days and can also impound the vehicle. The cost of the temporary coverage is added to the administrative fee and any fines paid for plates to be returned. If car impounded, owner must also pay towing and storage fees.
OregonFine: $130-$1000 ($260 is the presumptive fine); If involved in accident — at least a one year license suspension; proof of financial responsibility required for three years
PennsylvaniaRegistration suspended for three months (unless lapse was for less than 31 days and vehicle not operated during that time); $88 restoration fee plus proof of insurance required to get it back; $500 civil penalty fee is optional in lieu of registration suspension plus $88 restoration fee — can only use this option once within a 12-month period
Rhode IslandFine: $100 to $500; license and registration suspension up to three months; reinstatement fee: $30 to $50
South CarolinaFine: $100-$200 or 30-day imprisonment; failure to surrender registration and plates when insurance lapses; license/registration suspended until proof of insurance plus $200 reinstatement fee
South DakotaFine: $100 and/or 30 days imprisonment; license suspension for 30 days to one year; filing proof of insurance (SR-22) with the state for three years from date of conviction. Failure to file proof will result in suspension of vehicle registration, license plates, and driver license.
TennesseePay $25 coverage failure fee within 30 days of notice; if not paid, then an additional $100 coverage failure fee with suspension or revocation of registration plus reinstatement fee of no more than $25
TexasFine: $175 to $350 fine; plus, pay up to a $250 surcharge every year for three years (may be reduced with certain requirements)
UtahFine: $400; license suspension until proof of insurance (maintained for three years) and $100 reinstatement fee
VermontFine: up to $500; license suspended until proof of insurance
VirginiaFine: may pay $500 Uninsured Motorists Vehicle fee to drive without insurance at your own risk. If this fee is not paid in lieu of insurance, all driving and vehicle registration privileges will be suspended until a $500 statutory fee is paid, proof of insurance is filed for three years, and a reinstatement fee (if applicable) is paid
WashingtonFine: Up to $250 or more
West VirginiaFine: $200 to $5000; license suspended for 30 days with reinstatement fees, unless there's proof of insurance and $200 penalty fee
WisconsinFine: up to $500
WyomingFine: up to $750 fine and up to six months in jail
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Not only is driving without car insurance illegal but as you can see, it can also create serious financial difficulty for you if you cause a car accident. Affordable auto insurance is available, so do your research (some have searched “moving to new state car insurance” and “car insurance moving out of state” online) and find the best policy for you.

If you have an accident in an at-fault state, otherwise known as a tort state, then you can be sued for the losses. If you have an accident in a no-fault state, you can be heavily fined for driving without insurance. You may also face a license and registration suspension.

While most states have fines for driving without insurance, some even have jail time as a punishment.

In some states, if you are in an accident caused by another person and you don’t have the required insurance, the other insurance company can refuse to cover your losses. You simply don’t want to take that risk.

Lastly, if you are leasing or financing a vehicle, the lender will require that you always carry car insurance on your vehicle. Usually, it is in your contract that you will maintain coverage. If you cancel your insurance, then your lender can take away your vehicle.

It is more likely, however, that your lender will take out an insurance policy for you, and it will be much more expensive than any insurance policy that you would purchase on your own.

Think of switching your car insurance when moving to a new state as an opportunity to comparison shop for better car insurance rates. You could end up saving a lot of money on your new car insurance premium.

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When to Change Car Insurance When Moving Out of State \ Can I Transfer My Car Insurance to Another State?

When you move to a new state, there is a lot you need to do. Fortunately, we can easily teach you how to transfer insurance to another state for your car. One important step you must take is checking to ensure that your car insurance is valid in your new state. 

If your policy is valid in your new state, you can choose to renew it or you can let it run it’s course until it expires and then simply cancel the policy.

Letting your policy run it’s course can help you avoid paying any cancellation feeds. Because auto insurance rates vary based on where you live, quote comparison shopping after a move can help you find cheaper rates.

In the following video from eHowFinance, the pros and cons for renewing and not renewing your current policy after moving to a new state are explored.

How long to change car insurance after moving? When moving to another state, you will eventually need to register your vehicle. Most states have a specific amount of time for you to register your vehicle, usually up to 90 days. However, some states will only give you 30 days to register your car.

Although it may seem odd, the simple fact is that if your vehicle is registered in Florida, then Florida will require that you have insurance in that state, which applies everywhere.

The upside is that no matter where you live, your car insurance will cover you in the event of an accident.

However, you need to understand that once you change your insurance to a state other than where your vehicle is registered, then the registered state will be informed that you dropped your insurance.

Therefore, if you purchase car insurance in a new state before you register your vehicle, you’ll have to switch over your registration to that state almost immediately afterward.

If, however, you live in the same place for several months and are well past your deadline for changing your state of registration, then your car insurance company can refuse to cover your vehicle if you have an auto accident.

At that time, it is imperative that your insurance be your state of residence. Remember, you will not be able to register your vehicle if you don’t provide proof of insurance. 

Keep in mind that every state has different rules about this process. Some states will allow you to register your vehicle as long as you have some form of insurance, and then you’ll receive a form to fill out when you have switched your insurance over to in-state coverage.

If you don’t send in the form within the specified period, then your license and registration can be suspended, and you may face heavy fines as well.

Now that you know how to insure a car in another state, you can see that it is actually not very stressful at all. Take the time to compare different policies before choosing your new coverage. You could end up saving hundreds in annual fees. 

Will I need to cancel my car insurance policy if I’m attending college out of state?

One of the largest groups of people affected by the inter-state question is students attending college at an out-of-state institution. As a general rule, students are not considered permanent residents of the state where they are attending college unless they remain there for a certain period after graduation.

If you’re just temporarily moving to another state and do not need to register your vehicle there, usually you are not required to change your insurance.

For students, as long as you’re still in school, you are considered a temporary resident and can continue driving on the insurance from your home state.

Using Texas residency requirements as an example, if you’re a student who comes to Texas for studying at a college or university, you’re considered a temporary resident unless you have lived in the state for one full year prior to your college enrollment.

As a temporary resident, your vehicle registration and insurance are valid in Texas, even though they are from your home state.

However, auto insurance for college graduates who establish residency in a new state works the same as for those who move states. You will be required to switch your registration and insurance to comply with your new state’s laws. 

If your insurance current company is not licensed to do business in your new state, you will have to cancel your policy and get a new one from a company that is.

Do I need to cancel my car insurance policy if I’m a snowbird?

There are plenty of drivers who live in cold-climate states but flock to warmer states during the winter months. These drivers are typically called snowbirds. Whether such drivers need to get a new insurance policy will be determined by their residency status and whether their provider is licensed in both states.

As a typical rule, snowbirds are considered temporary residents unless they exceed a certain time limit in their warm-weather state.

Those time limits will vary from one state to the next according to their regulations. You’ll need to check with the Department of Motor Vehicles in your warm-weather state to determine what your status will be during your visit.

If that state has a limit of 90 days or less, you may be required to get temporary car insurance to cover any amount of time when that limit is exceeded. In all likelihood, however, it’s probably not going to be an issue for most drivers.

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Changing Your Car Insurance to Your New State

You may have two options depending on who you are using for car insurance. If your insurance company offers coverage all around the country, then you may be able to simply call them and ask them to give you a quote for the state you are moving to.

Every state is different regarding what they require from drivers, so the amount you pay might be different from what you were paying before.

For example, in Florida, a comprehensive policy for a minivan might cost $79 a month, but in North Carolina, it might be as much as $129 a month for the same coverage.

This variance is based on a number of factors. A new quote will include the risks or lack of risks that you will face in the area that you move to. Things like how many insurance claims there are in an area, how many accidents occurred, the average cost of an accident, and so on will be part of the determining factors.

Your insurance company may simply be charging you too much for your coverage, or they may be right on target; however, you aren’t going to know if you don’t take the time to compare prices.

Finding the Best Car Insurance for You

An insurance company must be licensed to sell insurance in your state, so if your current insurance company is not licensed where you live, then you are going to have to find a new insurance company. Thankfully, this process is easy.

Because an insurance quote is based on a specific area within a state, you will need to know your new ZIP code to obtain an accurate quote. If you aren’t sure, then you may want to get quotes using several ZIP codes for a range of places you are considering living in.

Don’t worry, you don’t have to fill out forms over and over again; once you have filled out your information, you can make whatever adjustments you need to see different options for your insurance quote. Because it’s free, you don’t have to worry about limiting the number of searches you do.

When you use our quote tool to find insurance, you are paving the way toward saving money. Quote tools allow you to see what insurance competitors are charging for the same coverage, allowing you to make an educated choice about your car insurance.

Also, you will only get quotes from reputable companies that are financially stable, making it even easier to choose the right company. Don’t get stuck with out-of-state coverage, and don’t pay too much for what you buy.

If you were wondering about changing auto insurance when moving out of state, we hope we’ve answered all your questions.

You now know what to do with car insurance when moving states and how to change car insurance when moving out of state. Secure the cheapest car insurance in your new state by entering your five-digit ZIP code into our FREE quote comparison tool below to search for car insurance quotes now.

References:

  1. https://www.iii.org/article/background-on-compulsory-auto-uninsured-motorists