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

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

  1. Avatar for Ellen Hall
    July 21, 2015 #

    I was hit by a permanent Illinois resident with out of state insurance. No one knows how she got this coverage, but the fact of the matter is that she does have this coverage. She has the minimum liability insurance on her out of state policy (wisconsin) and the accident happened in Illinois. Is her insurance required to pay out according to the Illinois state law?

    • Avatar for Ellen Hall
      Rachael Heller
      July 24, 2015 #

      Hi Anthony,

      This is usually decided on a case-by-case basis. It would depend on many factors. If the insurance claim is denied, you may be able to seek recovery via small claims court. We suggest speaking to the adjusters of both companies.

      Thanks for reading.

  2. Avatar for Ellen Hall
    Carl D'Agostino
    July 22, 2015 #

    My license, registration and insurance are at florida address. I am taking care of my 91 year old father here north carolina 6 months already. I need medical insurance, medicare here in north carolina to go to doctor so use nc address for that. I don't know how long I will live here dependent on fathers health or demise. Do I need a NC driver license? If i go back to florida i will have to change soc sec, medicare, health ins supplement and get a new first time fla license? If I fail nc driver license test do they keep my license? I am 66 and this situation is stressing me out. My insurance rates in fl are more than twice what they are in florida so i am not trying to cheat on lower car insurance and my name on deed of house to avoid probate but no homestead deduction claimed.

    • Avatar for Ellen Hall
      Rachael Heller
      July 24, 2015 #

      Hi Carl,

      As far as the auto insurance goes, generally, your vehicle needs to be insured and registered to the state where it’s primarily driven. This will avoid possible issues if a claim occurs. Regarding the medical insurance, we suggest speaking to your health insurance provider to go over your options.

      Thanks for reading.

  3. Avatar for Ellen Hall
    July 23, 2015 #

    I own a car and sit on a garage I have no insurance for it since is in the garage but I got involve in to a car accident with my sister car we when to the doctor and everything but now the insurance dont want to pay my hospital bill because my car the one that I have in the garage is not insure. Since there is a law in new jersey that you most have your vehicle insurance at all time even if it sits on a garage. What you guys think that I should do ??

    • Avatar for Ellen Hall
      Rachael Heller
      July 24, 2015 #

      Hi Randy,

      In this type of situation, we would suggest seeking legal advice.

      Thanks for reading.

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