America is on the move. With many employers required or volunteered to offer their employees to work from home and with the telecom availability, people are leaving their more expensive cities and houses, and moving out to cheaper places. In San Francisco, for instance, the exodus is so big, it’s a major news headline every other day with a special vacancy / rent reduction coverage once a week on all media outlets.
Moving can come with a lot of stress. Not only do you have to figure out moving costs, pack and orchestrate the movers, but you also have to update your address across all relevant forms. Two important things to pay special attention to during this time are your auto insurance and home insurance.
No one wants to spend hours getting new insurance quotes or transferring over insurance information, but doing so will protect you, your home, and your vehicle during and after your move. Here, we’ve answered the most common auto and home insurance questions to help cover your bases during your upcoming move.
How Moving Affects Your Auto Insurance
Will my auto insurance rate change when I move? Even if you’re a great driver, you still could have an uptick in your insurance premium when you move. This has nothing to do with you as a driver, and everything to do with your vehicle being in a new environment with a new set of risks. Your car insurance company will consider changes in traffic patterns, weather patterns, and assess the risks of where the car is parked/kept. And if your new home leads to a longer commute, that could also increase your rate.
For example, if you move from Winston-Salem, North Carolina to Los Angeles, you can expect a higher rate, since you’ll be driving in higher-traffic areas and parked in higher-risk areas. But, if you move from a large city to a small town with reasonable weather, you can expect your rates to drop.
Even if you are moving within your current state, your rate could be different. It all depends on the risk factors for your new location.
How Do I Change My Car Insurance When I Move to a Different City Within My State?
If you only have an auto policy with your insurance company, you’ll just need to update your address. You can give your insurance company a call, or depending on your insurer, make the change online. Make sure you know your new zip code and your place of employment’s zip code, if it is different.
Will My Insurance Coverage Change If I Move to a New State?
Yes, and it is important to know what your new insurance policy will cover. Even if you stay with the same insurance company, do not assume that your coverage will stay the same. Different states have different auto insurance laws and minimums.
For example, personal injury protection (a.k.a. no-fault insurance) is required in 12 states and Puerto Rico, optional in five states plus District of Columbia, and not available in others. If you move from California, a fault or tort state, to Kentucky, a no-fault state, you’ll have to pay more for personal injury protection coverage.
How Do I Change My Car Insurance When I Move to a New State?
First things first, prevent gaps in your auto insurance. Do not cancel your current car insurance policy until you have a new one in place.
A gap in car insurance can result in costly issues. Not only might you have to pay for all damage if an accident occurs, but you might also incur fines or jail time for driving without insurance.
You can avoid gaps by not canceling your current policy until your new one is in place.
Once you’ve officially moved, it’s crucial that you register your vehicle in your new state and update your insurance within the state’s time frame. You may be able to stay with the same insurance company if the company offers coverage in your new location. However, you will need to go through a full re-write of your policy.
When and How Do I Register My Vehicle in My New State?
Each state has different requirements, but it’s best to change your registration and insurance within the first 30 days of moving. Note that if you are moving to California, you must register your vehicle within 20 days of established residency.
Some states even allow you to pre-register plates, which can save a lot of time and headache at the DMV. You can check online to find out what’s required of you before you can register your vehicle. Most likely, you will need:
- The title of your car in your name
- Proof of insurance at your new address
- Proof that the vehicle has passed an emissions test or smog check.
- Proof that the vehicle has passed a vehicle safety inspection.
When Can I Cancel My Old Auto Insurance Policy?
Each state operates differently, so familiarize yourself with the different laws. For example, In New York, you cannot cancel your policy until you turn in your plates. In other states, your old policy may be canceled immediately once you register your car in a new state. Don’t hesitate to call and ask your insurance company when it will be safe to cancel your old policy.
I’m a Snowbird. Do I Need to Change My Insurance?
Like to travel to warmer weather for several months out of the year? We don’t blame you. Before leaving for your extended vacation, however, make sure you have the necessary insurance coverage. Your coverage needs will vary depending on your answers to several questions, including:
- Will you take your vehicle with you?
- How long will you be staying in a different state?
- Which state will be your second home?
Explain your situation to your current agent or carrier to determine whether extra coverage is needed. You might be able to purchase temporary coverage, or you might not need any additional coverage at all. It all depends on each state’s requirements.
How Moving Affects Your Home Insurance
Will my home insurance rate change when I move? Home insurance premiums vary by state and the characteristics of your actual dwelling. Depending on the area and the cost of your home, your new home insurance rate might be more or less than what you are currently paying. Don’t automatically assume that moving to a safer neighborhood qualifies you for a better home insurance rate. Rates are determined by zip code, not neighborhood.
Will My Coverage Be the Same If I Move to a Different State?
Check with your current insurer to determine whether you can transfer policies or will need to find a new insurance company. Standard home insurance is similar across most states, although pricing varies widely. Some states are more prone to natural disasters, and if you’re moving to such a state, additional coverage should be purchased. For example, Oregon is considered an earthquake state, and additional coverage is recommended.
What Do I Need to Tell My Insurance Company?
When you call for a new quote, the agent will walk you through a detailed questionnaire to determine an accurate rate. Here are a few questions the insurance company will likely ask.
- What is your new zip code?
- Is your home inside or outside city limits?
- How far is your home from the nearest fire hydrant?
- How far is your home from the nearest fire station?
- What is the name of the fire protection provider?
- Is your home located within 2,000 feet of a shoreline?
- Does the home have dead bolts? Smoke detectors? A sprinkler system? An active security system monitored by an alarm company?
- Does your new home have a pool? A trampoline?
- Do you need to change your personal property coverage?
- What is the closing date and move-in date?
- You may also have to provide details of the home’s construction and features.
Are Your Possessions Covered While Moving?
This depends on your coverage. Many policies will cover your possessions in your home, a moving truck, or the back of your minivan. Call your current provider to determine what and how much is covered.
If your possessions are not covered, you might be able to purchase coverage through your moving company. Pay attention to how much will be covered and purchase additional protection if necessary.
How Do I Prevent Gaps in My Home Insurance?
You don’t want any gaps in your home insurance, especially if you are relying on that insurance to cover your personal belongings when you move. Your insurance agent can help you time the cancellation of your old policy to make sure there are no gaps. Plan for delays in the home buying and selling processes, and speak to your insurer about what you should do if your old house ends up sitting on the market.
Do I Still Need Home Insurance If I Am Not Moving Into a Home?
Moving Into a Condo/Rental Home/Apartment/Assisted Living Facility? You will not need home insurance, but you will need condo insurance, renters insurance, or assisted living resident insurance. Remember that even if you no longer need to protect your dwelling itself (as is the case when you move into a rental or assisted living facility), you do still need to protect your personal property from damage and yourself from liability.
If you move into a condo, be sure you understand the details of your agreement with the condo association so that you can discuss your insurance needs and purchase the right coverage from your insurance company.
Although your moving to-do list might be a mile long, don’t put off insurance changes until the last minute.
Final tip: Start thinking about your auto and home insurance policies at least a couple months prior to moving. The last thing you want is to have a gap in your coverage or miss a major registration deadline.