Driving in Your New State

By: Nadia Ibanez July 13, 2012
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Moving to a new state can be both exciting and daunting. Amidst all of the immediate tasks of contacting utility companies and unloading boxes, it's easy to lose sight of addressing car-related tasks.

Transfer Your Driver's License and Registration

You'll need to update your driver's license or learner's permit sooner than later. Many states have strict timelines. California, for example, gives you 10 days after establishing residency, while New York has a more generous 30-day window.

All states require visiting your local DMV in person. In most cases you will be required to pass an onsite vision test. If your driver's license is expired, you may also be asked to pass the other two licensing tests –  written and road. Study your new state's driver manual and take a few driver's license practice tests. These will prepare you for any written license tests and update you on traffic laws in your new state.

Depending on your state, you may have to visit a different office to apply for new license plates and register your vehicle.

Update Your Car Insurance Policy

Notify your auto insurance provider of your move and new address. If your current provider is licensed in your new state, find out whether you need to update your policy to meet your new state's minimum requirements. The importance of this cannot be emphasized enough. If your old coverage does not meet your new state's coverage requirements, you won't gain sympathy from law enforcement by claiming ignorance.

If your current provider isn't licensed in your new state, start shopping for new coverage.

Learn Your State's Driving Laws

As a new resident, you'll want to read up on your new state’s driving rules and regulations. Signs and traffic light rules will remain the same, but there may be a few different rules when it comes to issues like cell phones, child safety seats and safety belts. Check out our guides on safety laws.

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