In 2021, 21.7 million Americans moved, according to U.S. Census data. And with inflation hitting a 40-year high, those looking to save a few bucks should pay close attention to anything that could bump up the cost of living in your new stomping grounds.

So when you uproot, how does that impact your car insurance? Let's take a look at the many factors that can affect the cost of your car insurance when moving to another state.

How much will my car insurance cost change if I move?

Will my insurance go up if I move?
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In short, it largely depends. There's really no set number across the board. Bear in mind that the average cost of owning and operating a car in 2021 was $9,666, or $805.50 a month, according to AAA.

Depending on where you're moving to, the cost of your car insurance policy might increase or decrease. And in many states, the costs of car insurance are going up, according to the Insurance Information Institute.

Other location-specific factors that can impact the cost of car insurance when moving states include weather patterns in that area, the cost of medical bills and car repairs and the frequency and cost of lawsuits (due to tort vs. no-fault laws). Finally, the ubiquity of auto insurance fraud also can affect the cost of car insurance when you move out of state.

You can also figure out how much your car insurance premium will change by using Carinsurance.com's moving tool. To use this tool, enter the ZIP code you are moving from and the ZIP code you are moving to. Next, enter the cost of your current car insurance premium.

How does your address affect car insurance?

If you're asking yourself whether your ZIP code affects how much you pay for car insurance, you’re onto something – it certainly can. Insurers take into account the frequency, severity or cost of claims based on a ZIP code and assign a risk level based on one's address.

However, residents of the Golden State are immune to ZIP code problems. Currently, the only state that currently doesn't allow the use of ZIP codes to factor in car insurance rates is California.

Here are some other location-specific factors that can drive up the cost of car insurance:

  • Number of vehicles stolen
  • Claims for property theft out of a car
  • Reports of vandalism
  • Fraudulent injury claims

As we previously discussed, moving can cause your car insurance rates to go up or down. And while there's no set number that is true for every situation and across all regions, there are a few general rules:

Car insurance rates in large, bustling metropolitan areas do tend to be higher than those in rural parts. Why's that? The basic principle applies that the more dense an area, the greater number of cars and busier highways mean a greater likelihood of getting into a fender-bender. Furthermore, there tend to be higher rates of car theft and vandalism in urban areas.

Car insurance checklist when moving

If you're gearing up for a big move, here's what you should have on your to-do list for car insurance when uprooting to a new abode:

Reach out to your current car insurance company

Let them know ahead of time that you'll soon have a change of address. If you're moving to a different state and your current car insurance company offers policies in that state, ask for a quote.

Make sure you know your new state's car insurance requirements

If you're moving to a new state, find out what the minimum insurance requirements are. This information can be found on the state's DMV website. Note that each state has different minimum requirements for car insurance, so your rate might be affected accordingly. That being said, you’re better off purchasing an auto policy with higher liability limits than the state minimum so you’re financially protected in the event of a crash.

Get quotes

It's typically a good idea to get quotes from at least several insurance companies. That way, you can compare them side-by-side. Just make sure the quotes are for the same coverage limits. To get the most accurate quote, be sure to provide the VIN and year, make and model of your cars, number of cars you want to insure and an estimate of how many miles you put on your vehicle each year.

Look for discounts

To keep the costs down — especially if you're moving to a place where your car insurance will go up — see what sorts of discounts might be available. You might be able to lower your car insurance cost for bundling your policy with other policies like homeowners or renters, getting a policy for multiple cars under one roof, having a clean driving record and enrolling in autopay.

Read reviews

If you're mulling over the possibility of going with a new insurance company, check the NAIC website for consumer complaints and A.M. Best for its financial stability rating. You can also get the scoop on a company's track record by reading up on insurance company reviews such as the J.D. Power Auto Insurance Satisfaction Study.

Register your car in your new state

After getting new car insurance or updating your policy, you'll need to register your car in your new state at the DMV. Make an appointment at the DMV if you can, and make sure you have all the required documents prior to arriving at the DMV.

Cancel your old policy

After you've purchased a new insurance policy, be sure to cancel your old one. Otherwise, you might be paying unnecessarily for double coverage. Make sure there isn’t a gap in coverage so triple-check the policy start and end times and dates.

When do I inform my car insurance company about my move?

You'll want to loop your car insurance company as soon as possible. Once you have your new address and move date, reach out to your carrier to let them know. Even if you’re on a tight deadline, this is your first step – they can give you a quote and will let you know about rate adjustments. While moving is a good time to get quotes for car insurance, you can switch your car insurance at any time. So don't feel rushed to hop on a policy with a new carrier until you've done your due diligence.

How do you update your address if you're moving?

Updating your address is easy. Simply contact your car insurance company and let them know when you'll be moving and your new address. While some insurance companies require you to make the change over the phone, others give you the option to update your address online or through an app.

Do you have to change car insurance companies when you move between states?

If your current car insurance company doesn't offer coverage in the state you're moving to, then you'll need to change car insurance carriers. Otherwise, you’ll just work with your insurer to update your existing coverage.

Do your homework to understand exactly what coverage you need. Most states have minimum limits for property damage and liability and bodily injury liability limits. And beyond that, some states require uninsured motorist insurance and personal injury protection insurance.

The only states that don't require car insurance are New Hampshire and Virginia. While you don't technically need insurance in these states, you will need proof that you have enough assets to foot the bill to cover property damages and medical bills via financial responsibility laws.

When should you switch your car insurance while moving?

If you're moving, ideally you should switch your car insurance before the change of address – the sooner, the better – so you'll have plenty of time to do your homework for different rates and get quotes from a handful of car insurance companies. Plus, it'll give you peace of mind during the move, which can be a stressful time.

Do you need new insurance to register your car in a new state?

Yes. Most states require proof of insurance before you can register your vehicle. Each state DMV has different rules and regulations, so you'll want to see what the rules are in your state.

How do you switch your car insurance after moving?

If you've already uprooted and have yet to switch your car insurance, be sure to do so as soon as you can. Depending on the state you're in, you might not be able to register your car and get your tags. To switch your car insurance after moving, reach out to the car insurance company and request a quote for your new address. After you've bought a new policy, you'll need to cancel the old one.

Final thoughts: Car insurance when you move

Moving can certainly affect how much you'll be paying for car insurance. A handful of factors – such as crime rates, the likelihood of getting into a car accident and the frequency and cost of claims – can all bump your rate either up or down.

Resources & Methodology

Sources

  1. American Automotive Association."Your Fact Sheet: 2021."Accessed July 2022.
  2. Insurance Information Institute. "Facts & Statistics - Auto insurance."Accessed July 2022.
  3. Insurance Information Institute. "Is it legal to drive without insurance?"Accessed July 2022.
  4. Insurance Information Institute. "What determines the price of an auto insurance policy?" Accessed July 2022.
  5. Insurance Information Institute. "Why did my auto insurance costs go up even when I didn't file a claim?" Accessed July 2022.
  6. Kelley Blue Book. "Can you register a car without insurance?" Accessed July 2022.
  7. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. "TED: The Economics Daily. Consumer prices up 9.1 percent over the year ended June 2022, largest increase in over 40 years."Accessed July 2022.
  8. U.S. Census Bureau. "Census Bureau Releases 2021 CPS ASEC Geographic Mobility Data." Accessed July 2022.

Methodology

CarInsurance.com commissioned Quadrant Information Services to provide a report of average auto insurance rates for a 2016 Honda Accord for every ZIP code in the United States. We calculated rates using data for six large carriers (Allstate, Farmers, GEICO, Nationwide, Progressive and State Farm).

Averages are based on insurance for a single 40-year-old male with policy limits of 100/300/100 ($100,000 for injury liability for one person, $300,000 for all injuries and $100,000 for property damage in an accident) and a $500 deductible on collision and comprehensive coverage. This hypothetical driver has a clean record and good credit.

The rate includes uninsured motorist coverage. Average rates are for comparative purposes. Your own rate will depend on your personal factors and vehicle.