Out-of-State Car Insurance: Everything You Need to Know

In Part One of our FAQs series, we provide expert answers your questions about out-of-state car insurance.

Car keys sitting on a map.

One of our goals at Esurance is to help demystify the often-complicated world of insurance. But, some topics are trickier (and generate more questions) than others.

That’s okay, though, because at Esurance we have experts. Lots of ‘em.

So when our out-of-state insurance post received a lot of questions, Nicole D., one of our many experts, provided answers to some of the most common inquiries.

(Please note: these are general guidelines. Regulations vary widely across the country, so you should always confirm your local insurance requirements with your state.)

Out-of-state car insurance: frequently asked questions

I bought a car for my brother who lives in another state. It’s registered in his state but insured in mine. The DMV didn’t have a problem with this — is it an issue?

It might become one. Some form of insurance is generally required in order to register your car, and while some states may allow you to register without immediate proof of in-state insurance, you’ll usually be expected to provide it within a specified time.

Also, most insurers require that your insurance policy be issued in the state where your car is located, and your policy status may be affected if your insurer finds that the vehicle is garaged in another state.

So, if your brother’s state doesn’t receive regular documentation of coverage for the car, he could eventually face fines or suspension from his state’s DMV.

I’m in the military and am currently stationed in one state, but my home of record is in another state. Can I insure my policy with my home address? Or do I use the address of where I’m stationed?

Typically, military personnel are allowed to have a declared state of residence. With Esurance, active-duty military can have a policy set up in any state they want — regardless of where they’re currently stationed.

But, keep in mind that the state where the vehicle is registered may want the insurance to be specific for that state.

I’m currently in college out of state, but my truck is still registered at my parent’s address. Can I keep my home-state insurance?

Most states require your car to be insured in the state where it’s registered, and registrations typically need to match the driver’s current address. But, it’s worth checking with your insurer to see if they have special options for students attending school out of state.

At Esurance, if a student starts out listed on a policy and will be temporarily attending school at another address, we allow them to remain on the original policy as long as their vehicle is still registered at the original address.

I’m temporarily working in another state (for a year or less). My car is still registered in my home state, but I have insurance in the state where I’m working. Is that a problem?

Even if you eventually plan to return to your home state, you’re usually considered a resident of your current state if you’re gainfully employed, renting or buying a home or apartment, and/or living there for more than a few months.

Depending on the state, you must register your vehicle within a certain period of time (anywhere from immediately to 90 days) after establishing residency. Some states, such as New York, also require you to be insured in that state before registering.

Because regulations vary from state to state, you should check with the DMV’s requirements wherever you’re working.

My daughter is moving to a new state soon. She’s currently on my insurance. How do we update her car’s title, registration, and insurance in her new state if I’m the primary owner of the car?

If the vehicle is currently registered to you, there are a few different ways this may work out.

1. Since you’re the title holder, the new state may allow the vehicle to remain registered solely to you, even though you don’t reside in that state. In this case, you’d likely be considered the primary driver on her insurance and she’d be a listed driver.

2. The new state may allow the vehicle registration to be transferred via gift or sale so your daughter becomes the sole registered owner. In this scenario, your daughter could buy her own insurance and act as the policyholder.

3. The new state may allow the vehicle to be registered to both you and your daughter, where you are still the primary registered owner. Similar to the first scenario, you’d be considered the primary driver on the insurance policy and your daughter would be the secondary driver.

4. The new state may allow the vehicle to be registered to both you and your daughter, where she is the new primary registered owner. If you choose this option, your daughter would be the primary driver on her insurance, but you’d still need to be listed as a driver as well.

If there’s no compelling reason for you to stay on the registration, the second option is generally the simplest option. But, if you need to be on the registration because you’re on the vehicle loan or lease, you’ll need to check with your daughter’s new state to see what options they have available.

Have more questions about out-of-state insurance?

Ask away in the comment section below and we’ll get you an answer ASAP.

And if you’re moving and need new insurance (or are just shopping for a better rate), you can get a free online quote from us right now!

Related posts

Driving out of state: Does your car insurance travel with you?
SR-22 explained: what is it and when do you need one?
Excluded drivers: our expert answers your questions

386 Responses to “Out-of-State Car Insurance: Everything You Need to Know”

  1. Avatar for Ellen Hall
    Anne R
    January 4, 2016 #

    My ex husband lives in Ohio and I live in North Carolina. My son has a car registered in his name in Ohio. He has a North Carolina drivers license. He goes to school here in NC but his father has him on his policy in Ohio. Do we need to have the insurance changed? He will be going back to Ohio during the summer to work? Please advise. Thank you.

    • Avatar for Ellen Hall
      Rachael Heller
      January 11, 2016 #

      Hello Anne,

      Great question. As long as your son is a student, this arrangement, as complex as it is, should not be a problem.

      Thanks for reading.

  2. Avatar for Ellen Hall
    melissa
    January 4, 2016 #

    I recently leased a car in california my mother in law being the primary and me being the secondary in the agreement. The registration and plates are from California since she lives in California. However, I will be the one driving the car and I live in Arizona. Is there a problem on having the car registered in california and insuranse in AZ. ?

    • Avatar for Ellen Hall
      Rachael Heller
      January 11, 2016 #

      Hello Melissa,

      This would cause an issue with the state of CA when it comes time to renew the registration. AZ would be notified of the insurance coverage, but CA would not.

      Thanks for reading.

  3. Avatar for Ellen Hall
    carla
    January 6, 2016 #

    We just moved from PA to FL. Our daughter is still in PA as she is a full time college student there. (she has an apartment and plans to move to another apartment in the Fall- not a real permanent address). We left one car with her for her to use. At the moment, it is still registered in PA at our old address. I am getting conflicting info from both PA and FL insurance agents. What do we do about the car registration, her insurance, and her drivers license? Do I have to bring the car to FL to register it and then send it back up to PA for her to use?

    • Avatar for Ellen Hall
      Rachael Heller
      January 11, 2016 #

      Hello Carla,

      That is one option. The other option is to have your daughter get her own policy and re-register the vehicle in PA in her name.

      Thanks for reading.

  4. Avatar for Ellen Hall
    Tammy
    January 6, 2016 #

    My son is a college student in NC and I reside in TN, thanks to a job relocation. I just bought a vehicle for my sons usage to get to and from college and work. The vehicle is registered to me, and the loan is in my name based here in TN. I got insurance, but then a few weeks later got a letter about 'reinsurance' at a 300% higher premium. I listed myself and him on the insurance policy, with the garaged address in NC, what is reinsurance and how can I avoid this??

    • Avatar for Ellen Hall
      Rachael Heller
      January 11, 2016 #

      Hello Tammy,

      You may want to consider insuring the vehicle in TN in order to match the registration and the rest of the paperwork. As long as your son is a college student, the garaging location should not be an issue.

      Thanks for reading.

  5. Avatar for Ellen Hall
    Dave Jones
    January 7, 2016 #

    We live in Wyoming. Our car is registered, titled, and insured there. We plan to snowbird to Florida for 4 months next winter. Florida statues require non residents to obtain Florida insurance after car is present 90 days in the state. Do Florida insurance companies issue short term insurance on out of state cars with out of state registrations ? Thanks

    • Avatar for Ellen Hall
      Rachael Heller
      January 11, 2016 #

      Hello Dave,

      You may want to double check with the DMV on this. As an insurance company, if you are only going to FL for 4 months out of the year, we would not require you to repurchase a FL policy.

      Thanks for reading.

  6. Avatar for Ellen Hall
    mike
    January 8, 2016 #

    Can i register and insure a car in new york state with a flordia driver license and be owned by my daughter? I have 2 residential homes.

    • Avatar for Ellen Hall
      Rachael Heller
      January 11, 2016 #

      Hello Mike,

      If the vehicle is going to be kept in NY for the majority of the time and you have a residence there, this should not be a problem.

      Thanks for reading.

  7. Avatar for Ellen Hall
    jayjay
    January 9, 2016 #

    hey, question live here. have car here but changing insurance to there but keeping license plate here just with insurance from over there..is that possible ???

    • Avatar for Ellen Hall
      Rachael Heller
      January 11, 2016 #

      Hello Jay Jay,

      We would need to know where “here” and “there” are and the time-frames involved in order to accurately answer your question. Feel free to give our licensed agent team a call at 1-800-ESURANCE (1-800-378-7262) for help with your specific situation.

      Thanks for reading.

  8. Avatar for Ellen Hall
    Diane Bullock
    January 10, 2016 #

    I just bought a car in Michigan and I'm only going to be here for 2 yrs I currently have insurance with Pennsylvania insurance can I keep it registered and insured with Pennsylvania's insurance

    • Avatar for Ellen Hall
      Rachael Heller
      January 11, 2016 #

      Hello Diane,

      If you are going to be in MI for 2 years, you are going to want to register and insure the car in MI. The only exception would be if you are a full time college student.

      Thanks for reading.

  9. Avatar for Ellen Hall
    Chad R
    January 13, 2016 #

    Hi everyone, I have a pretty loaded question here. So I have my truck registered in colorado along with my car insurance and drivers licenses all in colorado. I may be moving out of state in the next year. So do I need to change everything up to the new state or can I get away with leaving it registered at my parents house where I currently live? Is it a problem if I do get into an accident and everything is in Colorado? I may only live there for a year or so but that is not for sure.

    • Avatar for Ellen Hall
      Rachael Heller
      January 20, 2016 #

      Hello Chad,

      We’re glad you asked,. To avoid issues with a claim, you would want to ensure your vehicle is insured for the state it’s driven 10/12 months of the year. Your registration would also need to match. If you’re living in a different state than your vehicle is driven, it can cause issues with a claim being covered.

      Thanks for reading.

  10. Avatar for Ellen Hall
    Sally
    January 14, 2016 #

    Leased a car for 2 yrs in NYS while our house was on the market to be sold. The house sold and we are now residents of NH but have a piece of land still back in NY. Were told we couldn't get out of the lease early so we left it there to be used as an extra car when we go back for a day or two once a month. It's registered and insured in NY at a high premium ($845) and since we use it so infrequently to putter around town, I would like to find a more reasonable insurance rate to cover us for the next 10 months. Is there such a rating tier for for an infrequently/minimum miles arrangement? Thanks.

    • Avatar for Ellen Hall
      Rachael Heller
      January 20, 2016 #

      Hello Sally,

      Thanks for asking. You may be able to look into a storage policy through a local agency. They might be cheaper as you’re not insuring the vehicle to be driven daily, only to ensure it’s protected while being stored.

      Thanks for reading.

  11. Avatar for Ellen Hall
    Jake
    January 15, 2016 #

    Hi Rachel, I'm from the UK and going to be buying a car in Florida and driving it around the states, ending in Alaska. I know I need to register the car in Florida, but the address I will be using for insurance will be in California. I will get insurance from a nationwide firm that insures me to drive in all states. As the registration address and insurance address wont match, will this cause an issue when registering the car in my name at the DMV in Florida? Thanks in advance!

    • Avatar for Ellen Hall
      Rachael Heller
      January 20, 2016 #

      Hello,

      Thank you for checking, Jake. In general, Esurance requires the vehicle to be insured for the state the vehicle is driven 10 months out of the year. The best advice we can provide would be to run a few quotes with companies you trust. Explain your traveling situation and see if they have a product that would fit your needs. Regarding registration, you would want to speak directly to the DMV.

      Thanks for reading.

  12. Avatar for Ellen Hall
    Debbie Buller
    January 18, 2016 #

    If my daughter recently moved to Delaware, purchased a car, registered to her only, but she haven't changed the insurance from pa to de yet…is there a specified amt of time to do this?

    • Avatar for Ellen Hall
      Rachael Heller
      January 20, 2016 #

      Hello Debbie,

      Every state is different in their requirements for switching the insurance and registration over. We typically suggest changing the state the vehicle is covered as soon as you’ve moved.

      Thanks for reading.

  13. Avatar for Ellen Hall
    JD
    January 18, 2016 #

    We're moving from New York to Texas, but buying the car in New York right before we move (within a week). Since we're moving to Texas almost at the same time as we're buying the car, we'd like to have Texas insurance. Is it possible for us to get insurance from Texas before we're actually physically there?

    • Avatar for Ellen Hall
      Rachael Heller
      January 20, 2016 #

      Hello JD,

      We would generally require the vehicle to be insured for the state it is driven the majority of the year. We would not be able to write a TX policy until you’re finished moving.

      Thanks for reading.

  14. Avatar for Ellen Hall
    Rick
    January 20, 2016 #

    My girlfriend is moving from MI to Wa. She has a car, but it is currently uninsured in her state. She also needs to update her registry. Is she able to register and insure it in the state she's relocating to? Or would she have to register it in her current state, and the re-register and re-insure once she gets here? Just trying to avoid extra steps and money if she can lol

    Thanks!

    • Avatar for Ellen Hall
      Rachael Heller
      January 26, 2016 #

      Hello Rick,

      This is going to be a matter of timing. If the registration is already expired, and she isn’t moving for several weeks, she’s going to want to renew in MI or there could be issues driving cross country. If she is already in the process of moving and has an address in WA, she should be fine to update the registration and insurance to WA now.

      Thanks for reading.

  15. Avatar for Ellen Hall
    Lois
    January 20, 2016 #

    We have recently changed our residency from Pennsylvania to Florida but still will keep our home in PA to use during the summer months. My husband wants to buy a new car to keep at the PA house, but the dealer will not allow him to register a car in PA without a PA drivers license (which requires turning over his Florida license, so is obviously something he can't do.) The car has to be licensed and insured in Florida. We are afraid if we have an accident we will not be covered because the car will never actually be in Florida. How can we avoid this catch-22 so we have proper coverage?

    • Avatar for Ellen Hall
      Rachael Heller
      January 26, 2016 #

      Hello Lois,

      The dealership does not make the determination of what is allowed when it comes to license requirements for registering a vehicle. As long as you have permanent addresses in both states, there should be no issue with having one vehicle registered and insured in PA while maintaining your new FL DL.

      Thanks for reading.

  16. Avatar for Ellen Hall
    Ann
    January 25, 2016 #

    My husband leased (lease in husbands name) vehicle in NJ for son's use at College in upstate NY. Son has NJ licence, vehicle NJ insurance, registered NJ. We now selling house to move overseas. Son staying in NY he is student on F1 visa, no social security number. He will be student two more years. What do we do about lease, insurance and registration and his license as we will in effect have no USA physical address. (But means to pay of course)

    • Avatar for Ellen Hall
      Rachael Heller
      January 26, 2016 #

      Hello Ann,

      Since there will not be a permanent address in NJ any longer, your son is going to want to get a NY license as well as registration and insurance in NY. He should be able to use his school address. Your husband should still be able to be on the policy as a listed driver to satisfy the terms of the lease.

      Thanks for reading.

  17. Avatar for Ellen Hall
    Howard
    January 27, 2016 #

    Hi, I live in CA primarily, but also live in Michigan off and on to help out my ageing mother. My living arrangements are about 50/50. I have brought a car here for my use and will leave it here. I also work in Michigan at times doing odd jobs with my truck and tools. I have read that I could possibly get a "rider" to my CA insurance to cover me in Michigan? What other options do i have so I'm covered? I do not want to get a Michigan Licence to register my car here, but it seems that's the only way I can get coverage Michigan?

    • Avatar for Ellen Hall
      Rachael Heller
      January 28, 2016 #

      Hello Howard,

      Esurance would only be able to insure you for the state where you spend 10 to 12 months of the year. However, there may be local agents who can provide you with a policy that would provide you a broad policy territory.

      Thanks for reading.

  18. Avatar for Ellen Hall
    Pavi
    January 27, 2016 #

    Does having an out of state driver's license matter when getting car insurance?

    • Avatar for Ellen Hall
      Rachael Heller
      January 28, 2016 #

      Hello Pavi,

      As long as your vehicle is registered and insured for the state where you drive, the insurance company (generally) won’t have an issue with that. However, the state may require you to have your license match your insurance and registration.

      Thanks for reading.

  19. Avatar for Ellen Hall
    EA
    January 27, 2016 #

    The car that I drive is not my car. It is my parents car because I owe them money.

    I moved to another state. My parents rule: until I am done paying off the car the my license, license plate, insurance and registration has to stay under my name, under my old state, until THEIR car is finally paid off.

    I am employed in the new state and living in the new state paying rent under my boyfriends name but not mine. I have been working now for 1 year. Living here for 1+ year. What should I do?

    • Avatar for Ellen Hall
      Rachael Heller
      January 28, 2016 #

      Hello EA,

      You would generally want to make sure that your vehicle is registered and insured in the state where you spend 10 to 12 months of the year.

      Thanks for reading.

  20. Avatar for Ellen Hall
    Pat
    January 28, 2016 #

    I live in California but keep a car at my moms in Oregon. It is registered in my name at her house. I am having trouble getting insurance at her residence because I live in a different state. Is there any way for me to get insurance? Also I am thinking of driving my car from Oregon home to California, if I add the Oregon registered car to my current policy in Ca with California insurance does this cover me in Oregon and Ca for the drive home to Ca, even though car has Oregon registration.

    • Avatar for Ellen Hall
      Rachael Heller
      February 2, 2016 #

      Hello Pat,

      You may want to check with a local Oregon agent to see if they have a product for your situation. Esurance would require your insurance to be in the state in which you reside. If you add the Oregon vehicle to your current California policy, you will be covered for the drive from OR to CA.

      Thanks for reading.

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