Is it a bad idea to insure your car in another state?

Unless you are in the military or are an out-of-state college student, it is bad to insure your car in another state than the one it is registered in. Insuring your car in a state where you don’t live is considered insurance fraud. Update your insurance and registration as quickly as you can once you move to avoid any legal problems.

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Chris Tepedino is a feature writer that has written extensively about auto insurance for numerous websites. He has a college degree in communication from the University of Tennessee and has experience reporting, researching investigative pieces, and crafting detailed, data-driven features. His works have been featured on CB Blog Nation, Flow Words, Healing Law, WIBW Kansas, and ...

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Written by Chris Tepedino
Insurance Feature Writer Chris Tepedino

Rachael Brennan has been working in the insurance industry since 2006 when she began working as a licensed insurance representative for 21st Century Insurance, during which time she earned her Property and Casualty license in all 50 states. After several years she expanded her insurance expertise, earning her license in Health and AD&D insurance as well. She has worked for small health in...

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Reviewed by Rachael Brennan
Licensed Insurance Agent Rachael Brennan

UPDATED: Aug 30, 2021

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Can't-Miss Facts

  • Drivers must register and insure their vehicles in the same state, with military members being the exception to this rule
  • Insuring your vehicle in a state where you don’t live is considered insurance fraud
  • Changing your insurance when you move can be easily done online

It’s no secret that the ins and outs of vehicle registrations and auto insurance can be difficult to work through.

With so much red tape, it’s no surprise that some people are asking, “If your state doesn’t offer affordable auto insurance, is it bad to insure your car in another state than the one it is registered in?”

If you notice that a bordering state offers better auto insurance rates, it could be tempting to insure in that state rather than the one you live in. However, your vehicle, generally speaking, must be registered and insured in the same state.

Of course, there are exceptions to the rule, and if you have moved to a new state you do have a grace period to switch your registration and insurance, although you should do so as quickly as possible.

Is it bad to insure your car in another state? It is if you’re not in the military, but you can enter your ZIP code today to receive free quotes from insurance companies near you.

How soon must a driver update the insurance and registration after moving to a new state?

Insuring your car in a state where you don’t live is considered a form of insurance fraud. Committing insurance fraud can bring about some severe consequences, one of which is the denial of your claims.

In order to avoid accidentally committing insurance fraud, research how long you have to get car insurance when you move — how long to register your vehicle with your state’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). Bear in mind that this time frame varies from state to state.

If you’ll be moving to a new state soon, be sure to review this list so you know when to register your vehicle:

How Long Drivers Have to Register a Vehicle in Each State
Alabama30 days
Alaska10 days
Arizona30 days
Arkansas30 days
California20 days
Colorado90 days
Connecticut60 days
Delaware60 days
District of Columbia60 days
Florida10 days
Georgia30 days
Hawaii30 days
Idaho90 days
Illinois30 days
Indiana60 days
Iowa30 days
Kansas90 days
Kentucky10 days
Louisiana30 days
Maine30 days
Maryland60 days
MassachusettsAs soon as you become a resident of MA
MichiganAs soon as you become a resident of MI
Minnesota60 days
Mississippi30 days
Missouri30 days
Montana60 days
Nebraska30 days
Nevada30 days
New Hampshire60 days
New Jersey60 days
New Mexico60 days
New York30 days
North Carolina30 days or upon employment if sooner
North Dakota90 days
Ohio30 days
Oklahoma30 days
Oregon30 days
Pennsylvania20 days
Rhode Island30 days
South Carolina45 days
Tennessee30 days
Texas30 days
Utah60 days
Vermont60 days
Virginia30 days
Washington30 days
West Virginia30 days
Wisconsin60 days
Wyoming30 days
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Your automobile insurance has to match your registration, and quite a few states won’t let drivers register their vehicles unless proof of insurance can be provided. Your driver’s license will also have to match your vehicle’s registration.

Of course, if you are simply spending some time in a state temporarily, there’s no need to register your vehicle. Every state lets visiting drivers drive an out-of-state car usually for about a month.

If you’re planning a long trip, you may be asking yourself, “Will my auto insurance cover me in another state?” As long as your insurance is up to date, than yes, it will.

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How can drivers change their auto insurance?

Changing your insurance policy is usually very easy. You can shop online to find the best insurance company for you in the state where you’ll be living.

You’ll notice that insurance requirements and discounts can change from state to state; you could actually get lower rates when you move or not have to buy auto insurance at all if you live in Virginia or New Hampshire.

How can drivers update their driver’s licenses?

Like auto insurance requirements, the steps for getting a new license vary from state to state. The best thing to do is to contact your local DMV for instructions.

While the process can be as simple as filling out a form, it can be quite troublesome in a few states. For example, you could have to take and pass a written test. If this is the requirement in your state, it’s in your best interest to study beforehand since there could be obscure questions on it.

Luckily, you can usually get free study materials via your DMV’s website or at a local office.

How can drivers update their vehicle’s registration?

Most states will require that drivers have in-state insurance and an in-state driver’s license before allowing them to get their vehicle registered.

Once those steps have been completed, getting the registration simply involves some paperwork and paying a fee, the amount of which will be different in every state.

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Which drivers can have their vehicles registered and insured in different states?

College students may be wondering, “Can I be on my parents auto insurance if I live in another state?” The answer is typically yes, but you should always consult your insurance company when faced with such issues.

If you are a member of the military you know that you’ll be moving about quite a bit. With that in mind, you may have thought to yourself, ” Can you have auto insurance in two different states?”

Members of the military can have their vehicle registered in one state but insured in another. Members of the military must declare residency in the state to which they will return too after ending their time in the service, also known as their home of record.

As long as their vehicle’s registration is current in their declared home state, they do not need to register their vehicle in any other state they are stationed in.

Insuring Your Car in Another State: What You Need to Know

Unless you are in the military, you should make sure that your vehicle is registered and insured in whichever state you reside in. If you suspect that you may be an exception to this rule, always contact your insurance company so you can be sure to avoid committing insurance fraud.

If you move to a new state, finding new insurance is relatively easy. Simply shop online to find free quotes that best suit your needs. After you find the perfect policy, you’ll be able to update your license and registration as well.

Is it bad to insure your car in another state? You should insure your vehicle in the state where you live, and you can enter your ZIP code today to receive free insurance quotes today.

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