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Wednesday, March 3, 2021

Moving Out of State? Here's What You Need to Know About Auto Insurance.

 By Catherine Powell

Moving from one state to another is always an adventure.  There’s so much to do and so much to learn when you move out of state.  You’ll not only have to adapt to unfamiliar geography, but you may also have to deal with a new climate.  I know I did when I moved to Florida from the northeast twenty-three years ago.  Not that I miss slip-sliding through snow and ice.  But the long, hot Florida summers took some getting used to.  When it comes to settling in after an interstate move, don’t forget you only have a limited amount of time to register your vehicles and get new license plates.  You’ll also need to let your insurance company know about the move as well.  Here are a few things you’ll also need to know that can affect your auto insurance coverage.

Are you still covered when you move out of state?

As long as you pay your premiums, you’re still covered up to and including the renewal date of your policy.  That’s the good news.  The bad news is you don’t want to wait until the last minute to tell your insurance agent about your move.  In the first place, not all insurance companies provide coverage in every state.  The last thing you want to find out is that you’ll need to scramble to find comparable coverage from another insurer to stay legal. 

How long do I have to register my vehicle in my new location?

Speaking of staying legal, in Florida, a motor vehicle is required by law to be registered within ten days of the owner either becoming employed, placing children in public school, or establishing residency. Another requirement to obtaining a Florida license plate is to have proof of a valid Florida insurance policy.  If you can’t present one you won’t receive the other.  You may also be required to take an eye exam, a written test, or even a driving test to legally become licensed in Florida.  Last but not least, you’ll need to present a copy of the vehicle’s title.  If you own the vehicle outright this shouldn’t pose a problem.  However, if your car is leased or financed, it could take weeks or months to receive a copy of the title from the lienholder.  This means you should think about getting the ball rolling even before you’ve made the move. If you get ticketed for a moving violation after you’ve been living in Florida for more than ten days, you could be subject to other penalties.  The penalty for driving with an expired driver’s license and/or license plate is a second-degree misdemeanor, with a $500 fine along with up to 60 days of jail time.  

How much will it cost to insure my vehicle in another state?

That depends on your driving record, your insurance record, your credit rating, your new address, the desired insurance coverage and the state to which you’re moving.  If you’re moving from New York to Maine you could be in for a pleasant surprise since the average cost for auto insurance, there is $312 per year for minimum coverage and $831 for full coverage in 2021.  Ohio also offers lower rates than many other states, with the average minimum cost of $320 and the average cost of full coverage being $998.  However, if you’re moving from Maine to Florida you could be in for sticker shock since the average cost for minimum coverage there is $948 and the average cost for full coverage is $2,587 according to coverage.com.  This is another reason to talk to your insurance agent in advance of your move, so you won’t be blindsided by a big rate change.

 Top-10 Auto Insurance Tips for Out-of-State Moves:

1.      Talk to your current insurance agent before you move to your new address.  Depending on the agency, he or she may need to refer you to another agent since most agents are only licensed in the state in which they live.

2.      Contact the new agency to get the ball rolling.  Depending on your insurer, you may only need to have your policy transferred from one agency to the next.  However, if your current insurance company isn’t licensed to operate in the state to which you’re moving, you may be required to seek another insurer.  If this is the case, don’t cancel your current coverage until the new policy is in place. 

3.      Whether you move your policy from one insurance carrier to another or not, it wouldn’t hurt to have the new agent shop your policy around to find the best rates in the new state.

4.      Stay in touch with your current agent since you’ll need to coordinate the handoff from one insurer to the next to ensure your coverage doesn’t lapse.  You could also be entitled to a refund from your current insurance carrier.  You’ll also need to give your current agent your new address, so any correspondence or refund check gets to you once you move.

5.      Do an Internet search to find out how long you have to get your vehicle registered in the state you intend to relocate.  You’ll also need to bone up on their registration requirements and fees.

6.      If you lease or finance your vehicle you need to request a copy of your title be sent to you before you move.

7.      Make sure you have everything you need to get your vehicle registered once you move.

8.      Have your new insurance agent activate your new policy as soon as you arrive at your new address.

9.      Head down to the DMV within 1-week of moving to your new address to complete the registration of your vehicle and get your new license plate. 

10.  Contact your former insurance agent to cancel your old policy. You’ll also need to mail in your old license plate if you currently live in Alaska, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Vermont, Wyoming, or Washington D.C.  Residents of other states don't have to surrender their plate, but they should take steps to render it useless.

Catherine Powell is the owner of A Plus All Florida, Insurance in Orange Park, Florida.  To find out more about saving money on all your insurance needs, check out her website at http://aplusallfloridainsuranceinc.com/

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