Moving is a time of exciting new beginnings, but if you’re preparing to move or have recently relocated, the stress of uprooting and settling is fresh in your mind. So when your to-do list starts building up, you have to prioritize the most important things.
Sometime shortly after you move, you’ll need to update your car insurance. You don’t have to do it the day of your move, but it’s one of those tasks that has to be done.
We’ll explain the easiest way to update your car insurance when you’re moving your car out of state, within the state, and even just across town. We’ll also share what could happen if you fail to update your insurer about your move. And finally, we’ll help you save as much money as possible on your insurance coverage.
How to Update Your Car Insurance Coverage When Moving
The process of updating your coverage will depend on where you move. We’ll examine three scenarios next.
Updating Car Insurance When Moving In-State
If a company sells insurance on the east side of the state, it can also sell policies on the west side. So, you can probably stick with your current agency if you want to.
All you’ll have to do is give them a call and tell them you moved. That updated information may cause a change in your rates. Since one factor that goes into your premium calculation is where you live, you’ll probably observe a difference in your bill.
Updating Car Insurance When Moving Across Town
If you’re only moving a couple of miles away, you might think you don’t need to worry about letting your car insurance provider know about it. You need to tell them, though, because they need to know where you live to provide an accurate risk analysis.
You might also be surprised that simply changing ZIP codes can affect your insurance rates. For example, some ZIP codes are associated with a higher risk of being in an accident thanks to more traffic or a greater risk of car thefts because of crime. Also, they’ll need to mail you bills and new insurance cards, but if you don’t give them your new address, you may never see the mail.
Updating Car Insurance When Moving Out of State
Not all insurance companies are licensed in all states. In fact, not many of them are. So, whether you’re moving to one of the top 10 cities in the U.S. or somewhere more rural, you should let your insurer know before you leave the area to find out if they offer coverage in your new state. If they do, you can compare it with other policies to decide if you want to stick with them. However, if they don’t provide coverage in your new state, you’ll need to know ahead of time to find a new provider.
Ramifications of Not Notifying Your Car Insurer of a Move
When you lie to insurance companies about where you live, you’re committing fraud. Forgetting to tell your insurer that you moved for a week won’t be classified as fraud. However, if you don’t notify them within a timely manner, you could face some ramifications.
If you moved to a higher-risk area and didn’t update your address, and then someone steals your car, the insurance company may deny your claim because they’re insuring you according to your initial agreement where you lived before.
It’s not common to be dropped immediately after moving if you haven’t notified your insurer. Most companies offer a grace period. When you consider that they insure you when you go on vacation out of state, it makes sense that they would also insure you for a while after you move, even if they don’t know you moved. But don’t test how long you can go without letting them know. If you’re reading this and you’ve just moved, or you’re anticipating a move, call your insurance provider right now.
If it appears you’ve been hiding your move from your insurer, they can drop your coverage, and that won’t look good on your insurance history. Some regions have such high insurance rates that many people commit insurance fraud and say they live elsewhere to avoid high insurance rates. If you’ve moved to New York City or another of the most expensive cities for insurance, don’t be tempted to put your address as somewhere in New Jersey.
If you do and your insurer finds out, your claims will be denied, and they’ll cancel your policy.
Saving Money on Car Insurance
Moving is the perfect time to evaluate your car insurance options. Sometimes you need a little nudge to see what’s available. Further, a significant change in life is the ideal push to compare insurance quotes.
Compare Car Insurance Quotes
An easy way to get started is to use a quote comparison website to save time. But your comparison search won’t provide information from every insurance company, so you may have to get individual quotes from specific insurers you’re interested in adding to your list.
Once you narrow your search to four or five of the best potentials. You’ll want to check out their customer satisfaction information and financial stability. Even though the premiums are an essential part of your decision, they shouldn’t be the only thing you consider.
Seek Car Insurance Discounts
As life goes on, you might become eligible for discounts you weren’t before, and if you switch insurers, they may have discounts that your previous provider didn’t offer. Review all the available discounts and make sure you have the eligible ones applied to your policy.
The following are some of the most popular discounts:
- Bundling home and auto insurance
- Good driving
- Usage-based insurance
You could save 35% or more on your premiums when you apply discounts. It’s worth a periodic review to see how much more you could save.
Adjust Your Car Insurance Coverage
Perhaps you don’t need as much coverage as you once did. Unfortunately, your insurance company isn’t going to suggest reduced coverage because that would lower their income. So it’s up to you to decide when to drop full coverage. If you have a loan, your lender will require full coverage, but you can make your own decision if you own your vehicle outright. Generally, if your car is over 10 years old and the annual cost for full coverage is 10% or more of your vehicle’s value, it’s good to drop the coverage.
Another strategy to save money is to increase your car insurance deductible. You’ll need to remember that you have to pay for the deductible amount if you file a claim, so be sure to keep it at a level you’re willing to pay out-of-pocket.
Moving can be stressful, but if you take it a step at a time and one day at a time, things will fall into place, and it won’t be long before you’re settled into your new home.
Melanie Musson writes and researches for the car insurance site, CarInsuranceComparison.com. She’s passionate about helping people understand their insurance needs and how appropriate coverage protects financial stability.
Based in New York, Stephen Freeman is a Senior Editor at Trending Insurance News. Previously he has worked for Forbes and The Huffington Post. Steven is a graduate of Risk Management at the University of New York.