We may get commissions for purchases made through links in this post.
Have you ever stopped to wonder if your car insurance will cover you out of state? Roadtrips are a favorite vacation idea in America. Maybe you are moving to a new state? Before heading out on your trip, take a look at what we found. We did the research and put it all together for you in one place.
Most insurance companies allow you to operate a vehicle anywhere in the United States as long as it is registered and insured in one of them. This includes US territories. If you have questions about traveling out of state, be sure to contact your insurance company.
So now you know the basic rule of thumb, but are there any exceptions? There may be if you’re moving to another state and not just taking a road trip. Keep reading to see how that scenario might affect your coverage.
How to make sure your insurance covers you out of state
If you’re taking your car on a road trip, the last thing you stop to think about is if your insurance policy is going to cover you while you’re gone. It might be a good idea if that’s one of the first things that you think about from now on.
Next, take a look at the states that you will be visiting. Does your policy meet the minimum insurance requirements of each one?
Still not sure? The best place to start is by giving your insurance company a call. Getting the coverage that you need may be as simple as notifying them that you’re going on that trip. The company may have to adjust your policy to account for being in another state. They do have solutions.
Auto Insurance and The Military
If you’re in the military, you have to declare a home of record. Insurance companies are aware of this. They recommend that you keep a policy in your home of record. When you relocate anywhere in the US, you will need to give them a call and update your information. You may find that your existing policy cannot be underwritten in your new location. If this happens, you will need to contact a company that can issue you a policy.
Most significant companies can insure you anywhere in the country. If your current company cannot service your new location, they may make it easy to cancel your policy and restart it at a later time. When looking for a plan, it is a good idea to work with a company that specializes in servicing the military.
Why Isn’t It The Same In All States?
It is almost impossible to make it so that it is uniform across the board. Each state has a different set of risks. Several things have to be taken into account here.
- Minimum Financial Requirements
- Weather Conditions
- Traffic And Other Drivers
- Cost Of Living
Minimum Financial Requirements
Each state determines its minimum financial requirements for insurance. If your policy meets these requirements, there should be no issue in the event of an accident. You may run into a problem if your plan falls short. Most insurance companies will make up the differences in coverage if you are traveling. Michigan, California, Texas, and New York have the highest financial requirements.
One of the very first thing that comes to mind is the weather. If you live in California, the weather is not factored so much into your insurance policy. Unless you live in Northern California or up in the mountains, it certainly doesn’t snow very often there. There also wasn’t a lot of rain. Know if you live in North Dakota or Minnesota, they have snow almost all the time, and that creates a different set of hazardous conditions.
Traffic And Other Drivers
It may seem the same to you, but your insurance company certainly does not. If you live in a rural area, your insurance policy is not based around large amounts of traffic. Often that’ll make your policy a lot cheaper. If you take your vehicle into a more populated area, you are then changing the risk factors.
Populated areas have much more traffic, many more drivers on the road, and much more congestion; this increases the likelihood of an auto-related accident. Your insurance company is well aware of this. Populated areas increase the need for higher requirements.
Cost Of Living
Areas with a higher cost of living have higher insurance rates. Insurance rates ebb and flow with the local economy. The location that the vehicle is covered in has a direct effect on insurance requirements.
What If My Children Go To School In Another State?
If you have children of driving age, you may soon face this. As parents, we often cover our children and their vehicles with our policy. There are some options when encountering this. The most common solution is to transfer ownership of the car to the driver. Some insurance companies offer multi-state policies. It is always best to contact your insurance company to find out if they offer anything of this nature.
You will want to avoid having a car registered in one state and being driven in another for long periods. It is a good idea to contact the DMV in your child’s new state to find out if they make allowances for students. There may be allowances for this as long as they do not establish residency.
Will My Car Insurance Cover Me If I Move To Another State?
Unless you have a particular policy, your insurance will not cover you when you move to another state. Insurance companies require you to have your vehicle insured in the state in which it resides. Think about the last time you had to have a discussion with your insurance company about getting new rates or starting a new policy. When you provide them with an address as part of the application process, they often ask you if the vehicle will be stored at the address.
There may be a grace period; you will have to discuss that with your insurance company. One of the first things that you should do if you know that you’re going to be moving and have an established address. Is to start a policy that is effective in your new location.
Failure to do this might have you facing down the barrel of financial ruin. If you get into an accident, your insurance company may opt not to pay any damages associated with that policy. You may end up being sued and paying for everything out of pocket. Depending on the type of infraction, you might also be looking at criminal charges for fraud.
Can I Drive My Car In A Different State?
As mentioned earlier, if you’re going to another state perhaps for shopping or you’re going to go on a vacation or you going to be visiting for a month or two, you can drive your car in another state. There is no set time limit in which you have to return from that state. The caveat to this being if you take up residence in the new state, then you are required to transfer your policy over and create a policy that is effective in that state. It is important to remember this. It may be a good idea to research the state that you will be spending time. Some states have laws that stipulate how long you can drive in them without registering the vehicle.
Can I buy a car in one state and register in another?
Yes, you can buy a car in one state and register it in another. You will most likely have to pay your state sales tax and register the vehicle yourself. Depending upon your State’s laws, you might also have to have it inspected. Each state has its regulations and setups for this.
Before you purchase the vehicle, you should make sure that it will pass all of the necessary tests. For instance, the state of California has emissions tests that must be passed by all vehicles to be registered in that state. If your car does not pass these tests, it will not be able to permanently recorded in the state until your vehicle can pass them.
You might get a great deal on the vehicle, but you may end up paying a lot more money in the long run with taxes and fees. The local DMV will have all of the information that you will need. It never hurts to look for a car and purchase it in the state in which you live.
How Do I Transfer A Car Title From One State To Another?
The actual process of transferring a car title from one state to another is simple. If your vehicle is paid off and you own the title outright, you can go down to the Department of Motor Vehicles and get a new title issued. You will have to pay all applicable state taxes and fees and submit to any inspections as required.
If you don’t own your vehicle outright, you will have to work with your finance company and the Department of Motor Vehicles to have a new title issued. The finance company will continue to be listed as a lienholder until all financial obligations are met.
Will My Car Insurance Cover Me In Another Country?
One of the great things about living in America is that we can drive to other countries. A lot of drivers want to know if their insurance is proper when they cross the border. That answer has two parts.
Driving In Canada
In terms of legally driving with US-based insurance, if you are driving into Canada, you have no problems. Canadian law recognizes US auto insurance policies as long as the insurance companies provide you with coverage. Just make sure that you have a copy of your policy with you.
Driving In Mexico
Just because you can drive there doesn’t mean you are covered. The laws for driving in Mexico are much different than driving in the US. Some insurance carriers will extend coverage into Mexico, but this is very limited, usually only applicable to drivers in states that sit on the border. There is often a time limit for the extension. If you are going to travel south of the border, you will need to purchase Mexican Liability Insurance. Mexican authorities do not recognize insurance policies from the US.
Before heading to Mexico, you should be aware of the laws. Things operate much differently there. Contact your insurance company they may be able to help you work with a Mexican insurance broker to make sure that you are covered.
Driving In US Territories
If you live in a US territory, your auto insurance should cover you. If you are relocating to an outlying territory or coming back from one, you should contact your carrier and inform them. They can make the transition smooth and help to avoid any roadblocks.
Your car insurance will cover you out of state. If you have any concerns contact your insurance company, they will be able to answer any questions and make suggestions based on your specific needs.