Moving is generally a milestone event in anyone’s life, and it can come with many tasks and challenges. One job that you’ll want to attend to as soon as possible is updating your car insurance policy. This is true whether you are moving across the country or just across town. You may be wondering, does car insurance change when you move within your town? Surprisingly, the answer may be yes. Bankrate’s insurance editorial team developed this handy guide to answer your questions about car insurance when moving.

Do you have to change car insurance when you move?

Any time you move, even if you are only going a few streets away from your old residence, you need to contact your insurer to update your policy. Even a short move can change your premium—and here’s why. Your insurer determines your rate based on the risks where you live. So if you move from a high-crime neighborhood to a lower-crime neighborhood, for example, your rate could decrease because there is less likelihood of car theft. Likewise, if you move from an area with congested traffic to a more suburban or rural location, the decreased risk of accidents could impact your rate. You may also find that you could earn a lower rate by switching carriers after the move.

If your move is significant—say, to another state—changes may be more drastic, and the best carrier for your needs may be a completely different company. It’s important to note that almost every state has its own minimum levels and types of car insurance coverage required by law, so your policy levels may differ in your new location, as well as the types of insurance you need to have. Average rates also vary from state to state, so you are likely to pay a different premium in your new location.

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When should you switch your car insurance while moving?

Managing car insurance while moving is vital, and you only have a finite period of time in which to do it.

Most states have regulations in place that require you to switch over your license and registration within one to three months of setting up residency, which means also updating your insurance to meet local requirements. Specific insurance requirements in your new place of residence can be found by checking with your state’s Department of Motor Vehicles.

Your insurance company may require you to update your address even sooner. Ask your insurer about its specific guidelines.

Do I need new insurance before I register my car in a new state?

Most states require you to have proof of insurance before registering your vehicle in your new state. That means you should start shopping for a new car insurance policy as soon as possible after moving into your new place. You generally only have between one and three months to register your vehicle, so make sure you give yourself enough time to compare providers and choose a policy.

How do you switch your car insurance after moving?

These steps could help you to seamlessly switch your car insurance when you move:

  1. Get quotes from multiple insurers. Even if your current insurance company can provide coverage in your new state, there is no guarantee that it will offer the best rates, even if it was the cheapest at your old address. If you are moving within your current state, you may still want to explore multiple insurers. Carrier premiums can vary in different regions of the same state.
  2. Understand your company’s cancellation terms. Although it is not common, some companies impose a termination fee if you cancel your policy prior to the end of your term. However, insurance agents do not advise waiting to change your policy to your new state just to avoid the cancellation fee. Getting your policy in your new state to satisfy your state’s laws is critical to your financial health.
  3. Confirm your policy’s start date. You want to make sure you do not have any lapses in coverage between policies; not only is this against the law in states that require car insurance coverage, but it also exposes you to a great deal of risk. Make sure your new policy begins on the date that you cancel your old one to avoid a lapse or overlap of coverage.
  4. Cancel your old insurance policy. Keep in mind that some insurers require written notice of cancellation, so check that you are not double billed for insurance after your new policy kicks in.

You may want to check if your state or insurance provider has additional requirements.

Does moving affect your car insurance rate?

Yes, moving can affect your car insurance rate — even within the same city. Auto insurers in most states (though notably, in a very limited way in California) use your ZIP code, along with other factors, to determine car insurance rates. Factors such as population density, accident frequency, crime rates and vehicle theft frequency can all change between ZIP codes, and those factors can affect insurance rates.

The average cost of car insurance per year varies significantly among states. Cities in the same state often have vastly different rates as well. Because car insurance rates are determined by factors such as population density and crime in a certain region, two cities in the same state often have vastly different average premiums.

Note that if you are moving into an area with high average rates, there are still several ways you might be able to save money on your car insurance. Shopping around among providers is one tactic. Asking for quotes is simple and free, and can net you a range of prices from which to choose.

Consider discounts, too, when you are looking at potential insurers. Almost every insurer offers at least a few, and they can be easy to qualify for. Working with a knowledgeable independent insurance agent is another way that can help you find a policy that works for your wallet from a provider that offers excellent service and support.

What other things should you consider after moving?

Updating your auto insurance is not the only thing you need to do to drive legally in your new state. You should also:

  • Transfer your driver’s license: You may only need to present your current license along with additional forms of identification and proof of address to update your driver’s license to your new state. However, in some states, you may also need to take a written exam and/or pass a vision test. Check with your local DMV for more details.
  • Update your registration and license plates: While you are at the DMV getting a new license, you may also be able to register your car in your new state. You will need to show proof of updated insurance to do so. In some states, registering and obtaining new plates may occur at an office other than the DMV. Georgia residents, for example, require you to apply to your local tax commissioner’s office for new registration and plates. Find out what your state’s process is for registering your vehicle and obtaining license plates so that you can drive legally in your new hometown.

Frequently asked questions

  • Providers offer different prices based on ZIP code, so after moving, you may want to get quotes from the top carriers in your area and compare them. You may also want to look into which discounts apply to you. In addition to safe driver discounts, many providers offer deals for teachers, students and military members. If you are also shopping for homeowners insurance, many providers will give you a discount on both policies if you bundle.
  • Whether or not you should stay with your current provider will vary from driver to driver. Car insurance carriers offer different rates across ZIP codes, so your current provider may cost more or less after your move, even within the same city. If you move across state lines, your move may present a good opportunity to get quotes from other companies, even if your current carrier writes policies in your new state.
  • Some companies will allow you to switch carriers while you have an open claim, but there may be payout issues along the way. In addition, your new provider may not be able to accept your business if you have an open claim with another company. This is because until a claim is closed, a company does not know how much the final payout was, which means the new company cannot rate your policy accurately. If you have an open claim, you may want to check with your company before switching to a new provider.
  • There may be a grace period for insurance when you move depending on the situation and company. Most states require you to have insurance in place prior to making changes at the DMV like getting a new driver’s license or transferring your car title. You should also check with the DMV in the state you’re moving to to see how long the grace period is to make these changes. Some may fine you if you don’t make the changes soon enough after your move. Contacting your insurance agent and the DMV in your new state can help ensure you meet deadlines within the grace period for the insurance company and DMV.
  • When moving states with car insurance differences, it’s important to understand the type of insurance required in your new home. In the U.S., 12 states follow no-fault insurance laws. In no-fault states, following an accident both parties file a claim for injuries with their own insurer regardless of who is at fault. The at-fault driver, however, is typically responsible for property damage.

    This is different from at-fault, or tort states, where claim expenses, including both injuries and property damages, are paid for by the at-fault driver or their insurer. In a no-fault state, drivers are usually required to carry personal injury protection, or PIP, coverage. This coverage helps pay for medical bills, lost income and more. Minimum coverage insurance is typically more expensive in no-fault states due to the extra insurance required.

    If you are moving from an at-fault to a no-fault state, your insurance agent can work with you to help you understand what coverage limits and types you should consider for your situation. Insurers cannot sell you less than your state’s required minimum limits, but most experts recommend purchasing more than the minimum insurance required to ensure you have adequate financial protection.

  • Your car insurance may not be the only type of insurance you should consider when moving. If you are using a truck rental to haul your stuff, you may want to consider moving truck insurance as well. Most regular auto insurance policies do not cover truck or trailer rentals, so supplemental coverage is often a good thing to consider to ensure a smooth move.

    This type of insurance is often available from the truck rental company itself and can be purchased when you rent the vehicle. Generally, moving truck insurance will cover damage to the truck, as well as liability, medical costs, your cargo and anything you tow behind the truck. You may want to ask your insurance agent how much (and what kind of) moving truck insurance you should purchase before heading over to the rental place.


Bankrate utilizes Quadrant Information Services to analyze June 2024 rates for all ZIP codes and carriers in all 50 states and Washington, D.C. Rates are weighted based on the population density in each geographic region. Quoted rates are based on a single, 40-year-old male and female driver with a clean driving record, good credit and the following full coverage limits:

  • $100,000 bodily injury liability per person
  • $300,000 bodily injury liability per accident
  • $50,000 property damage liability per accident
  • $100,000 uninsured motorist bodily injury per person
  • $300,000 uninsured motorist bodily injury per accident
  • $500 collision deductible
  • $500 comprehensive deductible

To determine minimum coverage limits, Bankrate used minimum coverage that meets each state’s requirements. Our base profile drivers own a 2022 Toyota Camry, commute five days a week and drive 12,000 miles annually.

These are sample rates and should only be used for comparative purposes.