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.

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

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

  1. ja
    November 1, 2014 #

    Hi,
    I'm in graduate school in one state and there 9 months of the year. But my license, tag, car registration is in another state. Do I get car insurance in my home state, or my graduate school state?

    Also, I do not want to change my license, tag, etc to the graduate school state, I'd like to keep my home state residency.

  2. H. Donaldson
    November 2, 2014 #

    I just moved from MD. TO MA. how long do I have before I have to change lic. And reg. And ins.

  3. Spirit
    November 6, 2014 #

    My question is similar to one above but I'm still having no luck. My car is registered in NY under my dads name and I have the car in another state (TN). He is the owner on the loan and they will not transfer it to my name or allow me to be a second name on the loan. I would like to register or at least insure the car in the state that the car and I are in. I have spoke to numerous insurance agencies, DMV in both states and the car dealership and nobody had any answers. My dad could say that he lives part time in my state…? We are willing to do anything because I have been driving with NY plates and with overdue NY inspection sticker. Any help would be appreciated! I am willing to change to any insurance company that knows how to do it.

    • Jennifer Wood
      November 7, 2014 #

      Hi!

      While it sounds like you've talked to a few experts already, I highly recommending giving our awesome customer service reps a call at 1-800-ESURANCE (1-800-378-7262). They're standing by 24/7, ready to help you with all your insurance questions.

      Thanks!

  4. Mary Sue Ramey
    November 10, 2014 #

    My daughter is associated with Harvard University in Boston and is working as a resident there. Her permanent address is still her home address in Virginia. She recently took her car to Boston but it is still registered in Virginia and on my family policy (I confirmed with her insurance carrier that this was approved by them). An interesting question surfaces: will she be able to get the car inspected in Boston, MA, if it is still registered and insured in Virginia (her home state)?

    • Jennifer Wood
      November 10, 2014 #

      Hi Mary Sue!
      Stuff like that can be tricky and changes based on state and insurance company. My recommendation would be to have your daughter give her insurance company a call just to make sure she's got the appropriate coverage.

      Thanks for reading.

  5. DORSEY
    November 20, 2014 #

    I will be borrowing my brother-in-laws car while being in Tennessee for Christmas. I am insured with Allstate in Florida. Will my insurance cover me driving his car in Tennessee?

  6. Sekou Diane
    December 5, 2014 #

    does Michigan law require their residents to have in state auto insurance only?

    • Jennifer Wood
      December 8, 2014 #

      Hi!
      We'd love to help with your Michigan insurance question. Please give our insurance experts a call at 1-800-ESURANCE (1-800-378-7262).

      Thanks for reading.

  7. Sekou Diane
    December 5, 2014 #

    are there any auto insurance companies that allows for out of state or out of country auto insurance policies?

    • Rachael Heller
      January 9, 2015 #

      Hi Sekou,

      Thanks for reading! Since things vary so much from company to company, we reccomend that you ask your insurance provider specifically.

  8. Ed Anderson
    December 9, 2014 #

    We are getting ready to move to Texas from Virginia. We will be moving 2 of our cars to Texas but leaving one behind for our son to use at college in Virginia. The car will not go to Texas so I would not be able to get Texas plates so I imagine they need to stay as Virginia plates. I am not sure how to handle the Insurance. My son does not have a job but is over 18. Can you offer ideas?

    • Jennifer Wood
      December 15, 2014 #

      Hi Ed,
      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. Have you contacted you insurance provider yet? They'll be able to help decide whether or not you'll need to make changes to your insurance policy. If you'd like, feel free to give our experts a call at 1-800-ESURANCE (1-800-378-7262).

  9. Jne Anderson
    December 22, 2014 #

    I moved out of state and currently looking into buying a new vehicle but I still want to remain on my moms car insurance which is in another state.
    is that possible?

    • Jennifer Wood
      December 23, 2014 #

      Hi!

      You'll need to contact your mom's insurance company, as well as your local DMV in order to see what the requirements are for your new vehicle. If you have more specific information, please feel free to give us a call at 1-800-ESURANCE (1-800-378-7262). Our insurance experts are standing by 24/7 to help with any questions you might have!

      Thanks for reading.

  10. diane gygi
    January 3, 2015 #

    I am staying with my cousin in California right now.my daughter and I came here in aug.after retretired. She passed away in Nov I want to get insurance gor my Florida registered car but don't want to drive back to Fl.in bad winter weather what should I do?

    • Rachael Heller
      January 9, 2015 #

      Hi Diane, we are sorry to hear that.

      Please feel free to give us a call at 1-800-ESURANCE (1-800-378-7262). Our insurance experts are standing by 24/7 to help with any questions you might have!

      Thanks for reading.

  11. Mason Pajunas
    January 5, 2015 #

    I rent an apartment in NY, however I am not a NYS resident and do not have a NYS license. Instead I am licensed in NJ where I am a permanent resident. I just purchased a scooter and my question is, can i register the scooter(which is considered a motorcycle by engine size) in NJ by providing proof that I have motorcycle insurance in NY?

    • Rachael Heller
      January 9, 2015 #

      Hi Mason,

      Rules and regulations vary from state to state. Please feel free to give us a call at 1-800-ESURANCE (1-800-378-7262). Our insurance experts are standing by 24/7 to help with any questions you might have!

      Thanks for reading.

  12. E Moreno
    January 10, 2015 #

    I retired in May 2014 in California, but have been traveling n changed my mailing address to Texas. I brought my 2 vehicles to Tx. Can I insure my vehicles in Texas although they are registered in Ca and I still have a Ca DL?

    • Rachael Heller
      January 13, 2015 #

      Hello,

      I'd recommend giving our customer service reps a call at 1-800-ESURANCE (1-800-378-7262). They're standing by 24/7, ready to help you with all your insurance questions.

      Thanks for reading!

  13. Kathy Hudson
    January 23, 2015 #

    I am an over-the-road, truck driver, I am employed by a company out of South Dakota, my CDL is from Arizona. I purchased a car to have in South Dakota, I don't plan on moving there, but need a car there. How can I insure this car? I just had the title transferred, but am running up against a brick wall for insurance. Thanks for any advice.

    • Rachael Heller
      February 12, 2015 #

      Hi Kathy,

      In order to provide a South Dakota policy, we would require that the vehicle was registered in South Dakota and for you to maintain a residence in South Dakota. If you still have questions, please feel to call our insurance experts at 1-800-ESURANCE (1-800-378-7262). They're available 24/7 to get you the help you need.

      Thanks for reading!

  14. Jim M
    January 26, 2015 #

    I have an issue, my home is in FL & vehicle tag/title/registration also in FL, however I am and have been working out-of-state on a temporary contract in MD. I have no temporary/permanent residence in MD (staying in hotels). FL requires in-state insurance for tags/reg but insurance company requires insurance for state vehicle is located. I need dual state policy, does this exist? I have no intention of changing everything to MD only to change it all back to FL once work assignment is over. MD requires title, reg/tags/insurance all in MD but I am not a resident of MD so I cannot register in MD.

    • Rachael Heller
      February 12, 2015 #

      Hi Jim,

      We do not offer dual-state policies for FL/MD. However, if you are still temporarily working in MD but maintain a permanent address in FL (including vehicle registration, Drivers License #, and home address) then you should probably keep a FL policy since you do not reside in MD.

      You're always welcome to give us a call at 1-800-ESURANCE (1-800-378-7262) to speak with our expert customer service reps anytime. Thanks for reading!

  15. anthony bales
    February 2, 2015 #

    i bought my daughter a car and its tagged an registered in Virginia , she has a ky temp lic permit and was wondering how to put her on insurance ,

    • Rachael Heller
      February 3, 2015 #

      Hi Anthony,

      We're happy to help with your Virginia insurance question. Please give our insurance experts a call at 1-800-ESURANCE (1-800-378-7262).

      Thanks for reading.

  16. Greg
    February 6, 2015 #

    My parents want to loan me a car to use for 4 months. It's registered in their name in Illinois, but I'll be driving it in Massachusetts where I reside. Can I just be listed under their insurance, and the car remain registered/insured in Illinois? Or do I need to register and insure it in Massachusetts, even though I don't own it?

    • Rachael Heller
      February 9, 2015 #

      Hello,

      I'd recommend giving our customer service reps a call at 1-800-ESURANCE (1-800-378-7262). They're standing by 24/7, ready to help you with all your insurance questions.

      Thanks for reading!

  17. Audrey
    February 11, 2015 #

    My daughter is going to college in Michigan and has established residency there to save on tuition. She has a permanent address and a Michigan driver's license. The vehicle she drives is owned by her Dad who lives in Wisconsin. He now states that he is unable to keep her on his auto insurance because the car is kept in Michigan ten months of the year. Is this correct?

    • Rachael Heller
      February 12, 2015 #

      Hi Audrey,

      Rules and regulations vary from state to state. Please feel free to give us a call at 1-800-ESURANCE (1-800-378-7262). Our insurance experts are standing by 24/7 to help with any questions you might have!

      Thanks for reading.

  18. Lasha
    February 17, 2015 #

    I'm about to buy this car, the only thing is the car is in Texas and I'm in Kentucky. I'm wanting to drive the car back to Kentucky… The car has a Kentucky tag on it the thing is its expired sticker what do I need to do!!!!

    • Rachael Heller
      February 23, 2015 #

      Hi Lasha,

      Rules and regulations vary from state to state. Please feel free to give us a call at 1-800-ESURANCE (1-800-378-7262). Our insurance experts are standing by 24/7 to help with any questions you might have!

      Thanks for reading.

  19. David
    February 18, 2015 #

    I was wondering if I am on my parents insurance and the car I driven is in my father's name can I get a Florida drivers license and still stay on his Pennsylvania insurance?

    • Rachael Heller
      February 23, 2015 #

      Hi David,

      Thanks for reading! Since things vary so much from company to company, we recommend that you ask your insurance provider specifically.

  20. Raja
    February 24, 2015 #

    Hi,

    I have a car registered in Illinois state(currently on Lien status) and insured with the same state.
    My wife is a added driver and I'm the primary, Recently I have moved to Florida and bought another car for local commutation, driver license has changed and got a new policy with a different carrier. In this scenario I have two questions

    1. Can my wife use the Illinois car for commutation with the same policy ? Is it legal ?
    2. Can some one keep two cars registered in two different states ? Is this legal ?

    • Rachael Heller
      February 26, 2015 #

      Hi Raja,

      Great questions! Rules and regulations vary from state to state. Please feel free to give us a call at 1-800-ESURANCE (1-800-378-7262). Our insurance experts are standing by 24/7 and can help you get this figured out.

      Thanks for reading.

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