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

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

  1. Avatar for Ellen Hall
    FPNU
    May 23, 2016 #

    I am a international student, who owns NY license and registered my vehicle in NY itself. But as of now I am in PA for my job and may move back to NY. Even I told this to my agent and got PA insurance. Will it be any problem with NY DMV or PA DMV??

    • Avatar for Ellen Hall
      Sara Border
      July 1, 2016 #

      Hi there,

      Complications can arise when you reside in a state other than the one you work. We suggest that you contact both DMVs and your insurance agent for the best options on how to handle the situation.

      Thanks for reading.

  2. Avatar for Ellen Hall
    SJF
    May 24, 2016 #

    I am a divorced parent who lives in Florida and my son lives in Illinois. How do I insure his vehicle?

    • Avatar for Ellen Hall
      Sara Border
      July 1, 2016 #

      Hi there,

      You would want to have a policy written with both you and your son for the state his car is driven. This will reduce the possibility of complications with the DMV and the insurance coverage if a loss occurs.

      Thanks for reading.

  3. Avatar for Ellen Hall
    Amanda
    May 24, 2016 #

    Hi I was reading the article and was wondering based on my situation what would be best.

    I lived in PA with my parents my whole life and they still live at the current address. I just recently moved to NJ. They own the car I use daily to get back and forth to work here in NJ. They they it titled and insured under their names in PA. I still have a PA drivers license. I contacted PA motor vehicle before moving and they said as long as it's in their name I can still use it as long I update my drivers license within 60days of moving.

    I read online this morning that it's 30days and not 60days. I also saw that it's insurance fraud if I keep everything PA and I live in NJ while using the vehicle. I'm not sure which is correct and when the proper deadlines are for this. What happens if I get pulled over right now in NJ and everythings documented as PA?

    • Avatar for Ellen Hall
      Sara Border
      July 1, 2016 #

      Hi Amanda,

      We cannot speak to the DMV’s requirements for when you transfer your insurance over. However, we always suggest that your car be registered and insured for the state it’s driven the majority of the year. Each state has different laws for insurance requirements and you would want to make sure that you are properly covered for your area. We hope this helps!

      Thanks for reading.

  4. Avatar for Ellen Hall
    Flora
    May 31, 2016 #

    I moved to Florida on Feb 29 and have transferred my vehicle's insurance to Florida but haven't come up with the $$ yet to register my tags in Florida. I still have MD plates. Will this be an issue? I'm working on getting the money together but just didn't expect it to be so expensive!

    • Avatar for Ellen Hall
      Sara Border
      July 1, 2016 #

      Hi Flora,

      The state of Florida and MD typically require your insurance to match registration. We would suggest contacting the MVA in MD to discuss your options.

      Thanks for reading.

  5. Avatar for Ellen Hall
    Michelle
    June 2, 2016 #

    my brother is stationed in England for the next four years but his car is here with me. can i get it insured in my home state of NC even though I am not on the loan or title?

    • Avatar for Ellen Hall
      Sara Border
      July 1, 2016 #

      Hi Michelle,

      You may be able to add the car to your policy. However, you would also want to add your brother to the policy as he is the registered owner of the vehicle. We would suggest speaking to your insurance agent directly for policy specifics.

      Thanks for reading!

  6. Avatar for Ellen Hall
    Anon Writer
    June 8, 2016 #

    I was sold an insurance policy by a California company for a car I own in CA as well as a car I own in New York. Unbeknownst to me, New York didn't accept this policy for the car that is registered in New York, and is now fining me for a lapse of coverage. The insurance company is not helping me out and is also charging me a cancellation fee. I want to sue the company in small claims court to recover these costs. Do I have legal grounds and what are the laws?

    • Avatar for Ellen Hall
      Sara Border
      July 1, 2016 #

      Hi there,

      That is a tough situation. In general, your car would need to be registered and insured for the state it’s driven. Your best option would be to make sure to register the other vehicle on a New York policy. Regarding legal advice, you would be best served speaking to an attorney. Best of luck to you!

      Thanks for reading.

  7. Avatar for Ellen Hall
    Jason
    June 8, 2016 #

    I have a Florida dl but my car is registered in tn can I get tn insurance with a Florida driver's license

    • Avatar for Ellen Hall
      Sara Border
      July 1, 2016 #

      Hi Jason,

      This would be best answered by your local DMV in TN. However, we always suggest that your car be registered and insured for the state it’s driven in. We hope this helps, Jason!

      Thanks for reading.

  8. Avatar for Ellen Hall
    Kaylee
    June 12, 2016 #

    My boyfriend and I recently purchased a vehicle together. However he is the only one listed on the title. We bought the vehicle in WI but plan to move to MD in two months temporarily for my boyfriend to attend graduate school. Because this move is temporary and we want to move back to WI we want to keep the car registered here. I have been told this is acceptable because the car is only titled to him and he is a student. However, would our rates increase upon moving to MD? And how would the insurance work if I, who will be working and not attending school, also drive the car? Would I be covered in an accident in MD if the car is not registered there and I am not a student?

    • Avatar for Ellen Hall
      Sara Border
      July 1, 2016 #

      Hi Kaylee,

      The best advice we can provide would be to make sure that everyone who needs to drive the vehicle is listed on the policy. You would generally want to insure your car for the state it’s driven in, as each state has different insurance laws. We would suggest calling both DMVs and also contact us for a quote and we would be able to go into more specifics.

      Thanks for reading.

  9. Avatar for Ellen Hall
    Anthony
    June 13, 2016 #

    My wife and I will be moving from NYC to Ohio, where I recently got a job. We're looking at buying a used car (in Connecticut, from a friend of my in-laws) and in August will drive to Ohio, where, I assume, we'll have to register and insure it. Is there a way to streamline this process and avoid paperwork and fees in two states by, say, registering with the Ohio DMV (and getting Ohio state insurance) before we move there? We won't be driving the car in NYC in June or July. We should have a permanent address in Ohio soon. Any advice or suggestions are welcome.

    • Avatar for Ellen Hall
      Sara Border
      July 1, 2016 #

      Hi Anthony,

      Unfortunately, the New York DMV is very strict on insurance and registration. Additionally, you wouldn’t want to register and insure your vehicle for a state you’re not living. We would suggest speaking with the NY DMV to see what options they offer.

      Thanks for reading.

  10. Avatar for Ellen Hall
    Luis Arroyo
    June 13, 2016 #

    How does having out of state homeowners insurance work?

    • Avatar for Ellen Hall
      Sara Border
      July 1, 2016 #

      Hi Luis,

      There are a lot of factors that go into homeowner’s coverage. We would suggest calling and speaking to an agent directly to get more specifics on the situation at hand.

      Thanks for reading.

  11. Avatar for Ellen Hall
    Rick
    June 20, 2016 #

    I am purchasing a car for my retired mother in my name. She will be living most of the year in Florida and part of the year in NH with me. Due to some past issues, it needs to be owned by me, not her. How can I have it insured and registered for her without it needing to be owned in her name?

    • Avatar for Ellen Hall
      Sara Border
      July 1, 2016 #

      Hi Rick,

      Your best option would be to insure the vehicle for the state she’s residing. When she moves, you would need to re-insure the vehicle for that state. Regarding insurance/registration, you should simply be able to purchase the policy in your name and list her as an additional insured. We hope this helps, Rick!

      Thanks for reading.

  12. Avatar for Ellen Hall
    Dan Czarnecki
    June 23, 2016 #

    Hello,

    I have recently graduated from college in Minnesota and have been employed for a month now as of today. I'm currently subletting an apartment for the summer and I've just recently applied for an apartment that I will be moving into in mid-August.

    Since I'm originally from Wisconsin, my new car that I got still has a Wisconsin title and plates on it. Once I get into that new apartment in August (which will be the point that I'll officially declare myself a Minnesota resident), one of the 1st things I know I'll have to do is get a MN title for it of course.

    I am still insured under my family's policy and my insurance card has both my name and my dad's name on it. Will that be sufficient proof of insurance to provide to the MN DVS (Driver and Vehicle Services) or will I have to let my insurance company know once I declare residency in Minnesota so they can mail me a new MN insurance card?

    • Avatar for Ellen Hall
      Sara Border
      July 1, 2016 #

      Hello Dan,

      Great question and congratulations on your new job! In general, you always want to make sure your vehicle is covered for the state you drive. We would suggest speaking to the DMV directly to get Minnesota-specific answers to your concerns.

      Thanks for reading.

  13. Avatar for Ellen Hall
    Dan D'Astugues
    June 26, 2016 #

    Hi,
    I live full time in NJ. I am on my wife's NJ Manufacturers policy, but we are divorcing and she will be removing me from her policy. I am currently living in FL for the next 3-4 months and am having my truck shipped here. I will need to buy a new policy that will cover me here in FL and then also when I return to NJ. What is the best way to proceed?

    • Avatar for Ellen Hall
      Sara Border
      July 1, 2016 #

      Hello Dan,

      In general, we would require your vehicle to be insured for the state it’s driven most of the time. Your best option would be to start coverage for Florida and then repurchase once you move to your new state. This will ensure you’re properly covered for the time you’re living there.

      Thanks for reading.

  14. Avatar for Ellen Hall
    Mina
    July 2, 2016 #

    Hello, I used to live in Florida, but I moved to Minnesota. I still have my license from Florida. I'm about to buy a car in MN. Changing over my license to MN isn't an option right now. Is it illegal to have a FL driver's license but have a car registered and insured in MN? Thank you.

    • Avatar for Ellen Hall
      Sara Border
      July 14, 2016 #

      Hi Mina,

      You would want to speak to the DMV of FL directly. You may have issues with not carrying FL insurance if your car is not registered there. However, since you live in Minnesota, you do need to carry Minnesota insurance to avoid issues with claims being denied or covered if something were to happen.

      Thank you for reading.

  15. Avatar for Ellen Hall
    Shannon Fitzgerald
    July 6, 2016 #

    My retired mother is now splitting her time between Idaho and NY. She has brought an ID registered car to NY and intends to leave it in NY. She must now register and insure the vehicle in NY, right? Can she do that with her ID driver's license?

    • Avatar for Ellen Hall
      Sara Border
      July 14, 2016 #

      Hi Shannon,

      Regarding the insurance coverage specifically, we suggest that the car is covered for the state it’s driven for the majority of the year. Please contact your local agent for more policy specific answers to this question.

      Thank you for reading.

  16. Avatar for Ellen Hall
    Tina
    July 8, 2016 #

    Hello,
    I'm trying to get a definitive answer about my Californian son driving a car registered to his Californian grandfather while he's attending college in Colorado. Does he need anything specific in terms of insurance verification? The car is insured under his grandfather's name in California.

    • Avatar for Ellen Hall
      Sara Border
      July 14, 2016 #

      Hi Tina,

      To best answer this question, his grandfather would want to talk to the DMV and the insurance company agent directly.

      Thank you for reading.

  17. Avatar for Ellen Hall
    Claire
    July 13, 2016 #

    Purchased a car in Florida and it is registered there– have NYS insurance and NYS drivers license. Only am in Florida for 3 months a year– do I need to switch my insurance over? Or do I have to transfer everything to match my NY insurance and license?

    • Avatar for Ellen Hall
      Sara Border
      July 14, 2016 #

      Hi Claire,

      Great question! In general, you would want to make sure that your vehicle is registered and insured for the state you’re currently driving. Your local DMV will be able to provide more details.

      Thanks for reading!

  18. Avatar for Ellen Hall
    Jill
    July 13, 2016 #

    I currently have a NY driver's license (lived in NY for past 3 years) but am originally from Massachusetts. I plan on taking a job in the next month in California. I want to buy a car in Massachusetts and drive cross country. Can I insure the car in Massachusetts with a NY driver's license? I will change the insurance once I am situated in California but do I need to get a CA driver's license in order to get insurance in CA?

    • Avatar for Ellen Hall
      Sara Border
      July 14, 2016 #

      Hi Jill,

      This question would be best directed to your local DMVs.

      Thank you for reading!

  19. Avatar for Ellen Hall
    Amy
    July 13, 2016 #

    I am managing a fleet of vehicles. Can I have a company vehicle registered in one state and insured in another state?

    • Avatar for Ellen Hall
      Sara Border
      July 14, 2016 #

      Hi Amy,

      Thanks for asking. Esurance does not provide commercial insurance. In general, your insurance should be written for the state you do the most driving. Your registration should match that as well.

      Thanks for reading!

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