How Moving Can Affect Your Car Insurance Rate
A new state or ZIP code might change your premiums
Whether you're moving across town or across the country, you need to find out the impact your move will have on your car insurance costs. Moving out of state will require a whole new car insurance policy. But what if you’re simply moving across town—do you still need to take car insurance rates into consideration? The answer is yes, because your rate may go up or down based on your new address.
New Variables Affect Your Rate
Insurance rates are affected by many variables, including your ZIP code. Moving to an area with heavier traffic or more deer can trigger rate increases. So can moving farther from your job, because that means you'll be driving more each day.
But your rate might go down, too. If you move to an area with lower crime rates, or if you move out of a state with high-priced auto insurance, you may see big savings.
You typically have between 30 and 90 days to update your insurance when you move, so don't forget to change it after you've settled in. Don't cancel your current policy before you have the new one lined up, or you risk a lapse in your insurance coverage.
Insurance Rates Vary by State
If you are staying in the same state, you can call your current insurance carrier and request a quote for your new address. It's a good (and easy) way to find out whether you can expect your rates to change when you've moved.
However, car insurance rates, policies, and coverage requirements vary from state to state—sometimes significantly. So if you're moving to another state, you might need a new insurance carrier altogether. Start getting quotes from insurance providers in your new state. You'll want to see what you can expect to pay, and how much your coverage might change.
For example, North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa, and Idaho regularly have the lowest car insurance rates in the U.S., so moving to another state will likely mean an increase in your premiums. On the other hand, if you're leaving Louisiana or Michigan—two states that are consistently some of the most expensive—you may see a rate reduction instead.
It may be possible to simply transfer your insurance, especially if you're just moving down the street. You can update your address with your carrier, sometimes even online.
Since you'll need a whole new policy if you change states, it's worth a call to your agent. If you're leaving the state and you’re insured by a large national company, ask your insurance agent whether they are able to do business in your new state. You may be able to keep your agent.
If not, they may be able to recommend another agent who can represent you in your new state. You can also call customer service and ask to switch agents. Either way, it's helpful to know whether you can keep any accumulated safe driver, loyalty, or accident-free discounts you’ve earned over the years.
Other Reasons for a Rate Increase
Of course, there's a chance that a rate increase on your new policy isn't due to your move, but rather some other cause. The fastest way to find out is to call your agent. A few common reasons for rate increases include:
- Traffic violations
- Filing a claim
- Across-the-board increases for all policyholders
- An increase in state fees
- Adding a driver
- Increasing coverage
- Aging drivers
If Your Rate Does Increase
If your rate does increase, you can look for discounts and other ways to save.
Insurance agents can help you find discounts you didn't know were available, so if you have an agent, ask them for help.
Ways to cut down your insurance costs:
- Review Your Discounts: Discounts can become available or may have been overlooked in the past. It never hurts to double-check your eligibility.
- Evaluate Your Coverage: Aging cars should be reviewed for possible changes in coverage. You may also consider a change if you no longer have teen drivers in your household, or if your emergency fund can allow for decreased insurance coverage.
- Raise Your Deductibles: Higher deductibles can lower the cost of car insurance.
- Shop For Quotes: Moving is a great time to shop for lower car insurance rates. Get three or more quotes to compare. It is important to quote coverage as similarly as possible in order to see which policy costs the least.
Moving brings with it a lot of upheaval, so make sure your car insurance remains up-to-date while you settle into your new home.