Timeframe To Register Your Vehicle In A New State
Your car should not be registered in one state and insured in another. Insuring your car in a state where you don’t reside is fraud. Insurance fraud carries heavy penalties, the least of which is that your claims will be denied.
Your driver’s license, registration, and car insurance need to match. In many states, you can’t even register your car until you’ve provided proof of insurance. Even states that allow you to register a car without proof of insurance require you to provide proof of insurance within a certain timeframe.
If you move to a different state, you’re required to register your vehicle with that state’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). The timeframe in which you must do so varies by state. If you are visiting a state temporarily, you do not need to register your vehicle. All states allow you to drive an out-of-state car for a certain number of consecutive days (usually around a month).
Here’s how long each state allows drivers to register vehicles after moving.
After you establish residency in a new state, changing your license, registration, and auto insurance should be among your first priorities.
Changing your insurance policy is usually very easy. Simply contact your auto insurance carrier and explain that you’ve moved.
Many providers let you change your policy online in a matter of minutes. Insurance requirements and discounts vary by state, so you may be able to get lower insurance rates with your new provider.
There are two states where car insurance is not mandatory: Virginia and New Hampshire. These states have their own special rules for insurance, but they do both require you to register your vehicle.
The process for obtaining a new license is different in each state. Contact your local DMV for details. In some cases, it is simply a matter of paperwork if you already have a license in another state.
In some states, the requirements are more burdensome. You might need to pass a written test. If you do need to take such a test, it is strongly advised that you spend some time studying first.
The test may ask about obscure rules of which you are unaware. For example, do you know how old you need to be to ride in the back of a pickup truck in North Carolina?
Most state DMVs will provide free review materials online or at local offices.
Vehicle registration is also different between states but is usually just a matter of paperwork and a fee. Most states require that you have in-state insurance and an in-state driver’s license before you can register your car and get a license plate, so you should take care of those things.
What If I Split My Time Between States?
Can your car be registered in one state and insured in another if you split your time between states?
You may be a snowbird and spend your winters in one place and summers in another. You may commute between states for work. You may live in Kansas City.
In these cases, having your car registered in one state and insured in another may not be as much of an issue.
If you’re frequently driving in multiple states or have a vacation home you frequently visit, discuss the particulars with your insurer. The best thing you can do is accurately inform your car insurance agent of your situation and work out a personalized solution.
Failing to inform your auto insurance carrier of your multi-state status is a bad idea. It may save money in the short term, but when it comes time to file a claim, the truth will come out.
You don’t want to pay into an insurance policy for years only to have your claim denied when you need it most.
Noteworthy Exceptions When Insuring Your Car In A Different State
In general, your car cannot be registered in one state and insured in another, but there are some exceptions to that rule.
If you are a member of the military, the rules are a little different for you. Service people declare residency in the state to which they intend to return after deployment. Laws differ in each state, but almost all states make registration exceptions for active-duty military.
As long as your vehicle registration is current in your declared home state, you do not usually need to register in the state in which you are stationed.
For temporary moves, you may not have to change your registration, depending on the length of your stay (see table above).
If you are working in your temporary state, be aware that most states consider employment a means of establishing residency and will likely require you to change your car insurance and registration.
If you are a college student attending school out of state, you will probably need to register any vehicle you bring with you.
Speak with your auto insurance provider directly to find the best solution. If you need to leave your car behind but need to keep it insured, there are options for reducing fees, like low-mileage discounts and parked car insurance.
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