There’s a ton to think about when you’re moving. It can be a stressful situation. Packing up your stuff, unpacking, forwarding your mail, updating your bank accounts, credit cards, driver’s license, new utilities, etc. To top it all off, you may also need to consider changing your car insurance.
If you are changing insurance, avoid the coverage gap. With the exception of New Hampshire, it’s illegal to drive without car insurance. If you do switch companies, make sure to avoid any gaps in coverage by confirming the effective date of your new policy along with the cancellation date of your previous policy. It’s also a good idea to have your new insurance information printed and accessible.
If you’re moving out of state, prior to your move, you’ll want to research the specifics of your new state regarding insurance requirements as your new state will likely need you to provide proof of auto insurance when registering your vehicle. Some states will allow you to register your vehicle as long as you have an insurance and will provide you with a form to complete when you have switched to insurance with in-state coverage.
You’ll want to register your vehicle in your new state as soon as possible. Most states require this be done within a specific amount of time, some allow for up to 90 days while others require it be done within 30 days. In any case, it’s important not to let this time period lapse, so be sure to check with your new state’s Department of Motor Vehicles prior to your move. If an accident happens past the deadline for state registration, then your insurance company may refuse coverages.
Depending on your move, whether it’s to a new state, city, or town, your current carrier may provide coverage in that area and it could be as simple as updating your current carrier with your new address. However, staying with the same carrier doesn’t mean your rates will stay the same. It’s important to remember that there are various factors when carriers set their rates, such as a change in residence and lifestyle. Furthermore, your carrier may not be the cheapest insurer in your new location. While we realize there are a million things happening in the midst of moving, it’s also an opportune time to consider changing your auto insurance and potentially saving some cash.
What Factors Into Geographic Location?
While the premium you pay is based on several different factors, including your driving history as well as the type of vehicle that you own and your age, other criteria is factored in, including the area that you live.
One way that geographic location can increase your auto insurance premium is if your location is prone to natural disasters. For example, due to the many hurricanes, including Katrina, Louisiana has some of the highest auto insurance premiums in the nation.
Likewise, Oklahoma has been hit over the past several years with numerous tornados that have caused property damage, including damages to vehicles. Therefore, Oklahoma also has some of the higher auto insurance premiums in the United States.
History of Claims
An area with a history of car-related lawsuits can influence the premiums that are charged to current auto insurance policy holders. For example, the latest figures released by the National Association of Insurance Carriers show that Michigan residents pay the third highest auto insurance rates in the country. A Detroit Free Press investigation found that first party lawsuits in auto accidents have nearly quadrupled since 2004. The Free Press states that “runaway medical bills, disability benefits payouts, and lawsuits under Michigan’s one-of-a-kind, no-fault insurance system plays a key role in driving up costs.”
Theft/High Crime Rate
Areas that are known for having a higher rate of crime or theft will also increase auto insurance policy premiums. Typically, those who live in larger cities are more at risk for crime or theft than those who reside in smaller rural towns.
Traffic density can influence auto insurance rates. For instance, the state of Maine is ranked as having a very slow rural pace which keeps auto insurance rates down. There is typically no morning or afternoon rush in comparison to metropolitan areas like New York City. Because of this, there are also fewer accidents–and therefore, fewer insurance claims.
Another reason that rates are higher or lower in a given area has nothing to do with conditions in the area or with the drivers themselves, but rather the amount of carrier competition. In other words, the more insurance carriers competing for business in a particular area, the lower auto insurance rates are likely to be.
Some states, such as Ohio, Illinois, and Texas, have more than 650 insurers that are competing for business. This competition, along with the way that insurers are regulated in certain states, tends to keep premiums both stable and affordable for consumers.
Consider Bundling Your Insurance
Since you’re moving and likely changing your homeowners insurance and renters insurance policies, consider bundling them with your auto insurance. According to Consumer Reports, linking auto insurance with your renters or homeowners insurance can produce an average of $235 in savings. However, consider that some carriers may be very competitive in auto insurance rates while high priced in homeowners or renters, and vice-versa. In some cases, it may be better from a financial standpoint to go with two separate companies.
Your new residence may entail a shorter commute or public transportation, and if you’re driving less miles, you’re less likely to have an accident and may be eligible for a low-mileage discount (typically between 5,000–7,500 miles per year).
Whether you’re moving because of a marriage, civil union, or divorce, it may affect your auto insurance rates.
In your new home, do you need to add new drivers to your policy? Conversely, are there drivers that need to be removed from your policy because of your move? Both circumstances may result in a change of premium.
The Bottom Line
When shopping for car insurance, remember that many factors influence the amount of premium that you will pay. While some of these criteria are in your control, such as your driving record and the type of vehicle that you own, many others are not.
To find the best rate possible, it may be necessary to shop several different carriers in order to locate the policy and the premium that works with your particular situation, budget, and coverage needs. Here are some tips on how to cancel or change your policy when moving.