September 22, 2009

State-to-state Coverage: How Long Can You Go Without Switching?

Insurance laws can vary from state to state. If you have auto insurance coverage in one state and then move to another, there are vital steps you'll need to take in order keep your vehicle covered and to keep driving legally. Most of the time you don't have a very long window of opportunity for changing your auto insurance coverage when you change states. This is especially true if your coverage provider isn't licensed to insure in your current state – leaving your vehicle's insurance completely invalid. Familiarizing yourself with state requirements and the coverage you need will be highly beneficial to you as a driver.

Each state has different auto insurance requirements. Even if your insurance provider is licensed to cover you in the state that you have moved to, your auto insurance may have too little coverage to meet your new state's laws. Typically, most states require you to register, title and insure your vehicle within their state as soon as you claim residency. Having the auto insurance coverage you need as required by law will be necessary to get through this legal process.

Some states accept out-of-state insurance policies, but you'd be hard pressed to find an auto insurance provider that would be willing to cover your vehicle in another state. Before you move, check if your car insurance agency provides coverage in the state you're moving to. If they do, you'll need to work with an insurance agent to customize your auto insurance coverage to fit your new home state's laws. If the agency is not willing to provide coverage where you're moving, you'll need to give them ample warning that you will soon be canceling your policy with them. Most insurance companies will be sympathetic to your situation, as long as you give them fair warning. If you don't give them this, it may affect your credit score negatively.

Failing to pay your insurance bill is not the correct way to inform an auto insurance company of your cancellation. Along with your tardy payment, you will also receive a tacked on fine. This is fair practice by auto insurance companies because it makes it easier for each state to keep track of who's properly insured within their state. Many states understand enough to allow you a short period of time to get your affairs together before enforcing changes over your auto insurance providers. However, if you delay too long, you just might end up with a fine.

For the most part, it's just a good idea to check with your local Department of Motor Vehicles about the rules that apply within your new home state. This will ensure you and your vehicle are covered wherever you go.