Managing Your Car Insurance During a Move
You have a lot to consider when you move. Besides packing, moving, and then unpacking all of your belongings, you need to update your address and telephone number with any number of companies such as banks, credit card companies, and utility providers.
Your responsibilities do not end there. Whether or not you keep the same vehicle and have the same drivers on your policy, you need to be sure that you manage your car insurance properly when you are moving.
Deciding if You Need to Change Your Coverage
As soon as you know that you will be moving and where you will be moving to, inform your auto insurance company about the move. When you speak to your agent:
- Ask whether your company does business in your new location.
- Find out whether you need to change your car insurance coverage.
- Some states require liability insurance, while others are known as no-fault states.
- Let your agent know if you’ll be adding or removing any drivers from your policy.
Complying with State Insurance Requirements
Different states have different levels of required coverage, and you may need to increase your car insurance coverage limits if you are moving out of state.
If your new state has lower required car insurance coverage limits, you might be able to lower your premium if you feel comfortable reducing your coverage level; however, understand that lowering your limits increases your risk.
Factors That Can Affect Your New Premium
When determining rates, car insurance companies look at factors that can affect your risk of filing a claim. For example, your new neighborhood may have more or less crime than your previous one, and this could affect your rates.
Locations with the following characteristics can actually help decrease your risk and, in turn, lower your rates:
- Less traffic.
- Lower crime rates.
- Lower risk for natural disasters (e.g., flooding and hailstorms).
If you are moving to a location with higher crime rates or a higher risk for natural disasters, you may face higher rates. Also, you might need to consider purchasing comprehensive coverage if you don’t currently have it. This type of car insurance coverage pays for:
- Other damages unrelated to collisions.
Many people move because of a major life event, several of which can affect car insurance rates. In addition, moving can also affect your driving habits.
Be sure to update your car insurer on any change that can affect your premiums and coverage. These are some examples.
- Changes in your mileage.
- Changes in the drivers on your policy, such as new roommate.
- The purchase of a new home.
- The purchase of a new car.
- Getting married.
Avoiding a Coverage Gap
Driving without insurance is illegal. If you need to switch car insurance companies, make sure you don't have a lapse in your coverage.
Never cancel your previous policy without lining up your new policy. Make sure you:
- Confirm the effective start date of your new policy as well as the end date of your current policy.
- Confirm with your auto insurance provider that you policy has been canceled.
- Print your new insurance ID cards from your new car insurance company.
Keeping Your Car Covered During and After the Move
Contact your car insurance company to find out whether your car is covered during the move, or whether you need to purchase additional insurance.
Also, if you are changing states, ask about the deadlines for getting insurance and registering your vehicle in your new state. Remember that you will need to show proof of insurance when you go to register your car.
Finally, don’t forget to change your address with your insurer.
Comparing Car Insurance Quotes
If you find you need to change your car insurance coverage with your current company or switch companies, get at least three car insurance quotes before making your decision.
Even if you are able to stay with your current company, you might want to use your move as an opportunity to comparison-shop for cheaper car insurance rates or better coverage.