Moving Out of State: 7 Things You Need To Do Before You Pack

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Before moving out of state, it can be helpful to create a budget, take a trip to your new home in advance and take inventory of what you need to take with you. Your insurance rates and the types of coverage you need could also change when you move to a new location, so it’s important to consider whether you will need to switch insurance when moving out of state.

Keep reading for tips on how to move out of state and how to prepare for the associated moving expenses.

Key Takeaways

  • You will need to update your homeowners and health insurance when you are moving out of state and may need to update your car insurance as well.
  • Creating a budget, visiting your new home, updating important information and getting rid of unnecessary belongings can help the moving process go more smoothly.
  • Your insurance rates may change when you move out of state based on the characteristics of your new home and your state’s auto insurance requirements.
  • Professional movers are required by law to offer you moving insurance when you’re moving out of state.

What Do I Need To Do When I’m Moving Out of State?

The most important thing to do before moving out of state is to make sure you have found a new house and have a job lined up. Once these are in place, you can take the following seven steps to prepare for your move.

1. Create a Budget

Creating a moving budget is a necessary step that can help you determine the details of your move. For example, if you’re looking to save on cash, you could rent a moving truck and do all the packing, loading and unloading yourself. Conversely, if you have money to spare for moving costs, you might opt to hire professional movers instead.

Keep in mind that, if you are moving out of state, professional movers are required by law to offer you moving insurance. You can pay extra for full value protection that insures your belongings at their replacement cost value or receive released value protection that insures them at 60 cents per pound for free.[1] As a result, going the professional route could save you money on moving costs in the long run if you are worried about your property getting damaged during a cross-country move.

You should also take note of any changes you may need to make to your everyday budget upon moving to a different state. For example, you will likely see an increase in the cost of living and the amount of money you have to pay in taxes if you move from Oregon to California.

2. Visit Your Future Neighborhood and Surrounding Areas

Taking a trip to your new neighborhood prior to the move can provide you with a good deal of useful information. For example, you may want to learn where nearby restaurants and grocery stores are, how long your commute to work will be and what the school your children will attend is like. Settling into a new home can be a long and arduous process, so the more knowledge you have about your new community before you move, the better off you’ll be once you arrive.

3. Buy New Homeowners Insurance

You will have to buy a new homeowners insurance policy when you move since your new home will have different risks than your old home and may be more or less expensive to insure as a result. However, you may simply be able to purchase a new policy from the same company if your insurance provider operates in the state you are moving to.

It’s important that you don’t cancel your old home insurance prematurely. If you do, you may experience a lapse in coverage that could lead to higher home insurance premiums later on. As a result, you should make sure your old home insurance policy ends on the same day that your new home insurance policy begins.

4. Check Your Auto Insurance

Although your auto insurance should cover you no matter what state you’re driving in, you may need to purchase a new policy when you move your primary residence to a different state. Each state has its own mandatory coverage requirements for car insurance, meaning your current insurance policy may not be sufficient if you move out of state. In addition, your current insurance company may not operate in the state you are moving to.

For example, if you move from California to Nevada, you could not stay on a Wawanesa Insurance plan since Wawanesa is only licensed to offer insurance in California and Oregon. You would also need to buy a more expensive policy if you only met the minimum requirements in California because Nevada requires higher liability coverage limits than California.

Conversely, if you bought your car insurance from Nationwide, you may be able to keep your policy when you move from Georgia to Indiana. This is because the two states have the same minimum coverage requirements and Nationwide offers insurance to drivers in both states.[2] However, your premiums may still change due to other factors, such as local accident and crime rates.

5. Change Your Health Insurance

You are not allowed to keep your current health insurance plan when you move to a different state, so you’ll need to file an application with your new state’s health insurance marketplace as quickly as possible to ensure you don’t experience a break in coverage.[3]

Moving to a new home is a qualifying event that triggers a special enrollment period. As a result, you won’t need to wait for the next open enrollment period to buy a new plan. Before you enroll in a new plan, you may want to research doctors and pharmacies in the area you’ll be moving to that you might want to have in your network.

6. Update Your Information and Paperwork

Alongside your insurance, there are several other things you may need to set up or update before or shortly after your move. Examples include:

  • License and registration: You will need to visit the Department of Motor Vehicles to get a new driver’s license and vehicle registration within a certain time frame after you move, which depends on the state. For example, you will have 60 days to get your new driver’s license and registration after moving to North Carolina.[4]
  • Voter registration: You can usually register to vote online or over the phone as long as you have your driver’s license number and Social Security number. In addition, you can submit a form provided by the federal government to register by mail in every state except for New Hampshire, North Dakota and Wyoming.[5]
  • Credit cards: Your credit card company needs to know your new address so that your billing statements and replacement cards will be sent to the correct location. You also want to make sure your credit card company is aware of your move so that the company doesn’t flag purchases in a new state as suspicious and lock your account.
  • Utilities: Setting up the electricity, water, wi-fi and more in your new home beforehand ensures you don’t have to worry about doing so after a long and potentially burdensome trip.
  • Mail forwarding: You can submit a permanent change-of-address request to the United States Postal Services to ensure you keep receiving mail even before you tell all of your loved ones your updated address.

7. Pack Accordingly

Moving out of state presents the perfect opportunity for you to go through your belongings and get rid of things you no longer need. Not only could this make the packing and traveling process go smoother, but it could also help you save money on your homeowners insurance.

If you throw out a significant amount of your belongings, then you could purchase a policy with lower personal property coverage limits for your new home. This could result in you paying a lower premium since your insurance company wouldn’t have to pay as much if a covered peril like fire or theft caused you to lose all of your personal property.

Will My Insurance Rates Increase When I Move Out of State?

It is possible that your insurance rates could increase when you move out of state, depending on several factors. For example, if you move from a rural town to an urban area, then you will likely have to pay higher car insurance premiums since it is more likely that you will get into an accident and need to file a claim on your auto insurance.

Of course, it’s also possible that your insurance rates could decrease after moving out of state. For example, your homeowners insurance might go down if your new address is in a city with lower crime rates because it is less likely that you will have to file a claim related to theft or vandalism.

You can use an insurance marketplace like SmartFinancial to shop around and see which insurers in your new city can provide the best rates for you.

Moving out of state also presents you with a good opportunity to save money on insurance overall. Since it is possible that you will need new home and auto insurance when you move to a different state, you could purchase two policies from the same company in order to bundle them together and receive discounted rates.

Can I Keep the Same Coverage When I’m Moving Out of State?

You may not have enough coverage to justify keeping your car insurance policy or getting a similar home insurance policy when you move to a different state. For example, you may need to purchase earthquake or flood insurance for your home if you are moving to a region that is more prone to those natural disasters than where you previously lived.

Likewise, the state you are moving to may have more stringent auto insurance requirements. For example, if you move from California to Kansas, you will have to add uninsured motorist coverage, underinsured motorist coverage and personal injury protection to your policy, along with paying for higher liability coverage limits.[6]


Do I need to return my old plates if I move out of state?

If you move out of state, you will need to return your old license plate to your former state’s DMV after you have received a new license plate. You can usually return your license plate by mail.

Can I keep my old home insurance policy when I move?

You cannot keep your old home insurance policy when you move since insurance companies evaluate the risk of insuring each individual property and your new home will naturally have some differences that will require a unique insurance policy.

Do I need insurance to move out of state?

Your home insurance policy’s off-premises personal property coverage should cover your belongings if they are damaged by a named peril while you are moving, but not if they are damaged due to neglect on your part. For example, you may be reimbursed if your moving truck crashes and catches on fire, but not if some of your fragile items break because you failed to carefully pack them into the moving truck. If you are hiring professional movers, they are required to offer you moving insurance.[1]


  1. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. “Liability & Protection.” Accessed March 23, 2023.
  2. Minimum limits were obtained from individual state Departments of Insurance, Motor Vehicles, etc.
  3. “How To Report a Move to the Marketplace.” Accessed March 23, 2023.
  4. North Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles. “Moving to North Carolina.” Accessed March 23, 2023.
  5. USAGov. “Change Your Voter Registration.” Accessed March 23, 2023.
  6. Kansas Insurance Department. “Auto Insurance.” Accessed March 23, 2023.

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