Few things are quite as exciting as buying a car. Sadly, a fresh set of wheels usually comes with a fresh set of extra expenses — license plates, titles, Carstaches® (and grooming kit), and of course car insurance.

Thing is, after shelling out big bucks to get the car itself, many drivers, especially younger ones, probably aren’t too excited about paying for insurance. In fact, a frequent question we receive from our loyal Facebook community involves one particular method of cutting costs: having parents or relatives who live in another state insure it under their policy.

Is insuring a car with out-of-state insurance even possible? We checked in with our customer service reps to get to the bottom of this issue.

The experts weigh in on out-of-state car insurance

When you own a car in one state, you typically cannot have Mom, Dad, Uncle Bert, or Grandma Betty insure it under their policy if they live in another. The main reason is because each state decides its own car insurance requirements individually.

So, for instance, while your state might ask drivers to have $25,000 in property damage liability insurance, your parents’ state might only require $10,000. If you got pulled over and didn’t have the right amount of insurance, you could wind up with a hefty fine. In most cases, your local DMV won’t even hand over license plates, a registration, or any other must-have documents unless you have car insurance from the state you’re living in.

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In the rare case that your relatives’ policy does allow them to insure vehicles in multiple states and your DMV has no objections, make sure you’re listed as a covered driver and you have enough protection to satisfy state law … and your own peace of mind.

Temporary state changes

One possible exception to the “no out-of-state insurance” guideline is if you’re temporarily living in a different state (not as a permanent resident) and you brought the car with you.

For instance, if you take the family van across state lines for college, you parents can often still insure it. Or, if you take your car to a new state for a 3-month job assignment you might be fine keeping your home state’s coverage. In any case, you should always run the idea of using an out-of-state policy past your insurer to make sure it’s allowed and that you have enough protection for where you’re headed.

Still curious about out-of-state car insurance?

Have more questions about your car insurance possibilities? Ask away on our Facebook page. You can also check out our myth-busting center where we break down all kinds of coverage conundrums so you can drive (and enter trivia nights) with confidence.

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about Alex

As copywriter for Esurance, Alex had professional experience in everything from film to literature to (thanklessly!) correcting the grammar in friends' emails. As a fervent Minnesota sports fan, he spends most of his non-writing time gently weeping into cereal bowls.