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Wondering if your license has to match your vehicle registration? It’s often difficult to navigate staying legal on the road if you decide to move states. We’ll discuss the most common license and registration requirements around the country, including whether the addresses on each must match.

When you’re ready to search for insurance coverage, make sure to check out our review of the best car insurance companies to get the best rates. If you’re ready to compare quotes, enter your zip code below. Or, for an even easier process, call our team at (844) 246-8209.

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Do Your License And Registration Have To Match?

A common question from many drivers is, “Does your driver’s license have to match your vehicle registration?” The simple answer is yes, most of the time. Most states across the country require that you get a driver’s license and register your vehicle in the same state where you reside. This means that your license and vehicle registration should match with the same home address.

Note that you should never use an invalid address or zip code on your auto insurance policy to try to get better rates. This type of insurance fraud could result in severe consequences. If you want to save money on car insurance, speak with a local agent about qualifying for discounts or explore coverage from cheap auto insurance providers.

Moving To A New State And Registration Grace Periods

When you do make a permanent move, you should definitely update your insurer and the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). In most states, if you move to a state and plan to remain there permanently, it’s required that you get a new driver’s license and registration for your vehicle.

In eight select states, the DMV does not require the license and registration to match. In Delaware, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Mississippi, New York, North Dakota, and Pennsylvania, drivers must prove their residency in the state where the vehicle is registered.

When you move to a new state, many local DMVs will give you a grace period to register your car, which is often around 30 days. Check with your local office to see how much time you have to register your vehicle in a new state.

What Are License And Registration Requirements?

License and registration requirements will vary by state and county. To get the most accurate account of what you will need to bring with you to the DMV, check your local office’s website.

For now, here are some of the most common documents and information you should bring when you’re applying for a new license and vehicle registration:

  • Valid driver’s license
  • Proof of residency
  • Certificate of title or bill of sale
  • Current odometer reading
  • Emissions or safety inspection scores
  • Proof of state-required minimum liability auto insurance
  • Payment for any applicable fees

In most states, the owner of the vehicle must have the vehicle insured in their name. However, there are some exceptions to this. For instance, if the owner of the car is not the primary driver, some insurers will be able to work out a policy for the primary driver. No matter your situation, it is important to be upfront with your auto insurance agency and local DMV to make sure you’re remaining compliant with all laws.

Does your car need to be registered in the same state as your license?

In most states, it is required for a vehicle to be registered in the state where the owner or primary driver permanently resides. Those with special circumstances or temporary residency can contact the local DMV to discuss options.

For instance, if you move to a different state temporarily (like for a short-term job or school), you may not need to re-register your car for that new state. You may qualify for a non-resident permit, which allows you to drive legally in that state for as little as a few months and still maintain a valid driver’s license in your home state. Make sure to research your local DMV’s requirements for non-resident registration.

Does Your Insurance Need To Match Your Registration?

Another common question about staying legal on the road is, “Does car insurance have to match the registration?” The easiest and simplest answer is yes. Most often, car insurance companies want the name insured on a policy to be the owner of the vehicle. So, the insurance policy should match the name and address on the driver’s license and vehicle registration.

There may be some special cases where the vehicle is owned by and insured by a different person or at different addresses. If something like this impacts you, it’s best to discuss your personal situation with an auto insurance agent to determine your best course of action.

You Must Prove Insurable Interest

Car insurance companies need to see that a driver has an insurable interest in a vehicle. That means they will be financially impacted and responsible for damages to the vehicle. Without this verified responsibility, there may be instances of reckless driving and an inability to cover losses in the event of an accident.

However, there are some exceptions to this rule, like borrowing and driving a friend or family member’s car. In these cases, obtaining a non-owner insurance policy can protect you on the road.

How Does Your Address Affect Insurance Rates?

Many factors impact your insurance rates, like your age, gender, driving history, credit score, and more. The area where you live also plays a key role in determining your car insurance rates. That’s why it’s important to provide accurate information about your home address and where your vehicle is permanently garaged.

Your car insurance company wants to know where you live, so its agents can get a feel for the potential risk for getting into an accident or needing to file a claim. For example, drivers who live in urban areas will often pay more for insurance than those in rural locations.

Here are some other factors that may increase your neighborhood’s car insurance rates:

  • Dense population with heavy traffic
  • Frequent accidents
  • High crime rates
  • Severe weather conditions like snow, hail, and heavy rain
  • Roads that have not been well-maintained or have frequent potholes

Discuss your rates with a local insurance agent. They may be able to walk you through the factors in your city that impact insurance rates. Then, compare those rates with some of the cheapest full coverage car insurance options.

Our Recommendations For Car Insurance

When you’re looking for a new car insurance policy, it’s a great idea to shop around for multiple quotes. You can compare rates to see which provider offers the most value.

We reviewed some of the best auto insurers in the nation to give you our honest opinion of customer service, cost, coverage, discounts, and more. State Farm and USAA are two of our top picks.

#1 State Farm: Best For Students

State Farm, one of the largest insurers in the country, provides standard auto insurance coverage options, as well as coverage you can add on like roadside assistance and rental car reimbursement. State Farm has helpful local agents in every state who are knowledgeable about driving laws in your area. You can qualify for discounts for bundling multiple policies, driving safe, and going accident-free.

Read more in our State Farm insurance review.

#2 USAA: Best For Military

USAA auto insurance is available in all 50 states with great rates for active military members, veterans, and their families. It offers standard insurance coverage with optional coverage like rideshare insurance and accident forgiveness. Members enjoy USAA’s already low rates, but they’re also saving money by accessing discounts like those for good students, defensive driving, and low annual mileage.

Read more in our USAA insurance review.

We recommend getting quotes from several providers to find the best deal. Enter your zip code below or call (844) 246-8209 to start comparing.

Compare auto insurance rates
Enter your zip code to shop for the best rates in your area:


In an effort to provide accurate and unbiased information to consumers, our expert review team collects data from dozens of auto insurance providers to formulate rankings of the best insurers. Companies receive a score in each of the following categories, as well as an overall weighted score out of 5.0 stars.

  • Industry Standing: Insurers with strong financial ratings and customer-first business practices receive the highest scores in this category.
  • Availability: We consider availability by state as well as exclusions for specific groups of drivers.
  • Coverage: This rating is based on types of insurance available, maximum coverage limits, and add-on policies.
  • Cost and Discounts: Our research team reviews sample quotes for a variety of drivers in every state. Companies with lower prices and many car insurance discount opportunities receive the best scores.
  • Customer Service: We comb through customer reviews and consumer feedback studies from experts like J.D. Power.
  • Technology: Auto insurers with mobile apps, advanced online services and telematics are more likely to meet consumer needs.