When you move to a new state, there are time limits on how long you can wait before you switch your registration to the new state. Each state has different laws. For example, in Virginia, you have 60 days to change over a personal driver’s license. In Massachusetts, the opposite is true. There is no grace period and you are expected to change your registration and license as soon as you move.
Even though some states like Virginia allow you sixty days, it’s unlikely your insurance company will keep covering you after you move. When you change your vehicle’s garage location, (the place where it is parked at night) you must report it to your insurance company. This will trigger a cancellation of the policy with varying amounts of time for you to get a new registration. If you have an insurance company that writes nationally, you might get a discount for staying with the same company. Be sure to ask.
It’s really best not to wait until after your move to get your insurance switch started. Some states do not accept another state’s insurance card as proof of insurance. Massachusetts drivers often run into problems while driving in other states because they are not required to carry insurance cards at all. Just the fact the car is registered proves the car is insured because the Registry of Motor Vehicles and insurance companies keep each other informed. You cannot register a car until you have insurance. If you cancel your registration, your insurance automatically is cancelled too. But good luck getting the police officer in New York to believe that.
The State of New York (and Arizona too) will not accept out-of-state insurance documents as proof of insurance. Insurance coverage from another state is never valid for a New York or Arizona resident.
So when have you actually moved? At what point are you considered a resident in your new state? Most states consider you a resident if you become employed, buy a home, open a bank account or pay a utility bill in your new state.
Rather than risk problems with your old insurance in a new state, it’s best to get started on the switch before you move. Inform your insurance company in advance of the move date. Get quotes and a binder on a new policy before you move. That way, you only need to run to the Department of Motor Vehicles to change your registration and call your agent to activate the new policy. Be sure to send in a written cancellation request to your old insurance company. Many insurance companies are prohibited by law from cancelling a policy mid-term without your written consent.
You can get quotes on car insurance in your new state right now just by entering your new zip code in the box at the top of this page. You’ll be directed to insurance companies that are licensed in your state where you can get several quotes and choose the best one ahead of time.