Moving Out of State: Insurance FAQs

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You think moving from one town to another is stressful, just wait until you have to move from one state to another! Many of us end up moving to a new state and for a variety of reasons. Maybe you or your spouse got a new job. Maybe you work remotely and decided to move to a city where you've always wanted to live. Or, maybe you've been out of work and are moving in with friends or family for financial reasons until you find a job. There are also all kinds of loose ends if you own a business and move premises. Whatever the reasons are for the move, there are things to do before the big day arrives. For instance, will your car insurance be valid in the state you're moving to? What you need to do may be as simple as giving an address change, but let's look a little more deeply into the different kinds of insurances you have and whether or not you need to do more, like switching car insurance companies.

Don't be a procrastinator! After moving to a new state, you must update your address on your driver's license and vehicle registration, and these activities sometimes come with deadlines, usually within 30 to 90 days of your move. Failure to accomplish these things within this time-frame may result in fines and cause things to be delayed further.

Car Insurance -- Do I Need to Change My Insurance Company?

You may or may not have to change your car insurance after moving out of state. It all depends on your current auto insurance carrier, who may or may not offer the same auto insurance coverage when you move to a new state. The big car insurance companies, like Progressive, Farmers and State Farm, will likely sell car insurance in all 50 states, but if you're with a smaller carrier, like Wawanesa Car Insurance, which only services people in the state of California, you'll likely have to switch to a different car insurance company to get new auto insurance.

If your existing auto insurance company offers coverage in your new state, you may be able to keep your existing insurer and not have to switch companies.

Doing so would:

  • Simplify the process.
  • Preserve any loyalty discounts from your current auto insurance.

Keep in mind that even if you stick with your existing insurer, your new car insurance coverage may vary in costs and coverage to reflect the new state's minimum car insurance requirements and your new neighborhood. This is particularly true for drivers transitioning from a fault-based to a no-fault state. Simply because one auto insurance provider offered you low rates in your home state doesn't mean they will be the cheapest auto insurance firm in another state. To make an educated decision, contact your car insurance agent to compare and get a quote in your new state, as well as an estimate for your new rates and coverage.

Registration Grace Period

If you do end up having to change insurers, it's fine if these details are not sorted out quite yet. You do have a grace period during which you can get a new driver's license, registration and a new car insurance policy. Each state has their own requirements and grace period, so make sure to call your local DMV or search their website to find out what the process is. If you fail to update your driver's license, registration, and car insurance in your new state within this time frame, you are looking at paying fines.

Note that you'll probably need your car to be insured before you can register that vehicle so take care of your car insurance by calling your agent right away. If your agent is local, find another by visiting where you'll not only get connected with different agents but you'll also get multiple car insurance quotes from several agents that you can choose from. In fact, look at your situation as the perfect opportunity for you to save some money, possibly with a better plan. 

Whatever you do, do not cancel your current car insurance before starting a new one or else you may end up paying way too much in auto insurance as a penalty. Make sure that your new coverage is active before you drive your vehicle because the consequences of driving without being properly licensed, without proper registration, or without proof of insurance and getting into an accident can be a nightmare.

Once you've decided on a car insurance company:

1.   Contact SmartFinancial and provide them all of the information they need to get you a low car insurance quote.

2.   Make your first payment and set your car insurance to start the next day.

3.   Phone your former auto insurance company and request that the last date of your auto insurance policy be set to today.

Only cancel your old auto insurance after your new one is instated. This tip cannot be stressed enough!

Applying for a New License

Even if you have auto insurance, you can only drive around with your old license for a while so you may as well take care of this very important part of your move when you're at the DMV registering your car. Get ready to take a less-than-flattering photo and bring cash or check for the fees. Ideally, this will be done at the same time as you register your vehicle in your new state.

You'll need to:

  • Fill out a license application form.
  • Pay certain fees to obtain a new state license.

Once this process is done, you'll be a fully registered driver.

Register a Vehicle in Your New State

Because registration does not automatically switch when you move to another state, you will need to go to the DMV in your new state to register your car.

In order to complete registration, you'll need to provide:

  • License: It must be valid.
  • Proof of insurance: Bring your auto insurance card.
  • Your vehicle's title: If you lost it, get a new one for about $20.

When you get car insurance coverage, your insurer should have supplied you with temporary proof of insurance – either online or in the form of a printable paper. If you don't have your car insurance card yet, you'll have to wait until it arrives in the mail to register your vehicle.

Once you have all of the documents required you should:

  • Visit your new state's local DMV.
  • Fill out the vehicle registration and application forms needed.
  • Pay the $25-$60 registration fees to complete the applications.

Do You Have to Return Your Old Plates to the State You Moved From?

Once you've completed your registration and received a new state license plate, make sure to send your old license plate to your former state's DMV. If you do not return your license plate, several states will charge you a fee. Find out where and when you must mail them by calling the DMV in your old state. This information may also be available on the website of your old state's agency.

What You Need to Do After My Car Insurance Is Updated

After moving to another state, you'll need to register your vehicle because your old car insurance information does not automatically update to provide coverage in your new state. You may need some personal identification documents in order to register properly. First, get your passport or other travel documents ready, as well as your old license. Also, make sure to bring along your temporary proof of insurance, which your car insurance agent should have sent you to print out via email or through snail mail. You'll need your car insurance card to register so if it hasn't yet arrived, you'll have to wait. Remember that you have to pay fees to complete your vehicle registration process in addition to car insurance costs.

Check Car Insurance Rates in Your State

Can I Keep My Old Home Insurance Policy When I Move?

You can't keep your old home insurance when you move. You'll need new insurance because your old home and new home are two completely different properties in different states with their own minimum requirements and laws. Also, the cost may vary between insurance companies as each property has different square footage, age, additional structures and more.

This may be the perfect time to consider bundling auto insurance with home insurance for a discounted rate.

Homeowners or Condo Insurance on Old Home

If you're buying a home in a new location, it may be an especially stressful move. Your best bet is to keep your old coverage before switching until you're finished selling your home. Stay insured until you're finished moving too. What's covered all depends on your current insurance policy and insurer so look and see what you're covered for before closing your account. Your personal property portion of your home insurance should provide partial coverage for your move. However, breakage and loss are usually not covered with your personal property protection. Don't pass up the insurance the movers offer you thinking you're fully protected.

Do You Need Movers Insurance?

Depending on how you've decided to move, your property may or may not be protected between the time it leaves your old house and arrives at its end destination. Your auto insurance most certainly will not cover losses. Some homeowner insurance companies will protect your belongings no matter where they are, whether they are in your house or in a moving truck. You may also receive coverage through your moving company if your current insurance policy doesn't provide coverage for your belongings. Licensed moving firms are required by federal law to provide extra insurance to cover a portion of replacement if your belongings are damaged in their care.

Buying Homeowners on New Property

Moving to a new home is exciting, especially if you are moving out of state, but you'll need to do a couple of things first. If you are buying a new home or condo, buy home insurance right away if you haven't already (most mortgage lenders require it). Make sure your new insurance is set up properly with a new agent in another state. Talk about all the reasons that may make you eligible for a discount: having smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, for example, or a burglar detector/home security system. Be familiar with the home's construction materials, especially the roof. Be sure to give accurate information about other tenants who are moving to a new home with you, as well as pets, valuables, mortgage lenders and more. If you are still looking for competitive rates for great insurance products, visit SmartFinancial and you'll be paired up with a homeowners insurer in your area.

Make sure that your personal property coverage is updated with new items that you've bought or excluding old items you may have sold. Make sure you have an accurate inventory. Your rate will change based on the changes you make to your policy about the valuables you will have in the new home. Also, take into consideration that your policy rate will change based on features in your home. For instance, a swimming pool will present more risk and therefore raise your rate.

Make sure to speak with your insurance agent about add-ons to your homeowners. Flood and earthquake insurance, for instance, are not included in a standard policy. Find out if you're moving to a region that experiences severe weather conditions that you should protect yourself against.

 It takes some planning to cancel your old home insurance policy and start a new one without a gap in coverage. Crucial tips:

  • Don't let your insurance coverage lapse too soon: Make sure you don't terminate your previous policy until you legally do not own your previous property anymore

  • Notify your existing insurance ahead of time: You should notify your existing insurance at least a month before your moving date.

  • Consider bundling auto insurance with home insurance for a discount.

Renters Insurance

Unless you are moving out of state, renters insurance is not as complicated to switch/transfer as Homeowners Insurance or Condo Insurance policy. You can just call your agent and tell him/her to transfer the coverage to your new address, if that state is covered by your current insurer. You will be in a new space, in a new neighborhood and in a new state. Your rate may go up or down, depending on crime rates, proximity to a fire department and many other factors that are specific to your new home.

If your current carrier doesn't insure in the state you're moving to, or if you simply want to look for a better rate, visit SmartFinancial to get multiple free rate quotes at once. There's no need to look for a local agent. SmartFinancial will connect you with the agent offering the best value.

If you buy a new policy for your new home, stop your old coverage the day after you move. Do not count on renters insurance covering your belongings while they are in transit, however. The only insurance that will take care of that risk is moving insurance, which your moving company should offer as mandated by federal laws.

Health Insurance

Coverage options vary from state to state. When you move, you may no longer be eligible for the plan you currently have. Moving is considered a Qualifying Event which allows you to start a new healthcare application even after open enrollment ends. Some states, like California, have their own marketplace. To start a new plan, visit or better yet, find an agent to help you by visiting SmartFinancial. Make sure to do this well in advance of your move, and don't forget to cancel your old insurance after your new one kicks in. Make sure there's no lapse in coverage.

If you work for a major company with offices all over the country, you may discover that your benefits remain the same when you relocate. However, if you get insurance on the individual market, you'll have to start over. Consider getting short-term insurance to cover you while you're moving and establishing in, particularly if you'll be looking for work. Even if you start a new job with benefits, you may have to wait 30 to 90 days for coverage to begin.

Life Insurance

Depending on your insurance carrier, you may or may not have to change your life insurance policy when you move to another state. Life insurance is designed to follow you your whole life. However, if your insurer is not licensed in the state you're moving to, you will have to change providers. It's in your best interest to contact your current life insurance company and tell them about your move to determine if you can keep your current insurance policy. If you decide to switch, SmartFinancial can make the process very easy.

Business Insurance

Whenever there's a change in your business, whether it be new hires or if you change premises, you're exposing your business to new risks and must therefore report these changes. The size of the new premises makes a big difference and may affect your general liability insurance and your property insurance. Make sure you have enough coverage for new hires by updating your workers' compensation insurance. Update your errors and omissions insurance too, if you're working with a new product or service. This is an important one because you're covered in case of financial damage or personal injury. This type of protection covers you in case of a lawsuit. If your current insurance company will not or could not cover your business in the new state you're moving to, we can help you find the right insurance agent to handle your business.

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