Rachael Brennan has been working in the insurance industry since 2006 when she began working as a licensed insurance representative for 21st Century Insurance, during which time she earned her Property and Casualty license in all 50 states. After several years she expanded her insurance expertise, earning her license in Health and AD&D insurance as well. She has worked for small health in...

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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Reviewed by Jeffrey Johnson
Insurance Lawyer

UPDATED: Jul 14, 2021

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In a nutshell...

  • Using a PO Box is generally acceptable as a mailing address, but not a permanent address
  • Insured persons must provide accurate information about their residence to the insurance company at all times
  • Not providing accurate information to the insurance company could void a policy or, worse, be a criminal act

Purchasing insurance requires providing a company with basic personally identifying information including:

  • A name
  • An address
  • A phone number
  • A driver’s license number
  • A social security number

All of these requests are rather straight forward except for the part about an address. What if someone wants to use a PO Box as an official address on an insurance policy?

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The Permanent Resident

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In order to register a car and purchase liability and additional insurance in a state, a person needs a residential address.

A PO Box is not acceptable as an address of residence. Anyone who wants to buy insurance in a particular state is going to be required to provide the address of where he or she lives along with clear and unambiguous detailed about where the vehicle is commonly located.

Where the policyholder lives, as determined by the zip code, allows the insurance provider to set the rates on the policy. Hence, the insurance company cannot accept a PO Box as the sole address.

A residential location such as a home or apartment address must be presented.

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The Mailing Address Option

Designating a PO Box number for the mailing address of an insurance policy should not be a problem. A mailing address is simply a physical location in which any mail pertaining to a policy is directed to be sent.

A PO Box would not be the permanent residence address for the policyholder for the obvious reason. The PO Box is a mailbox located at a local post office.

Those who never previously rented a PO Box might not see the necessity is paying the nominal fee for one. The benefits of a PO Box should not be overlooked by those who want a very smooth relationship with an insurance provider.

The odds of mail being lost or stolen, when delivered to a PO Box, are very low. Even if the mail was misplaced at the actual post office, tracking it down may not prove to be very difficult.

Correspondence from a car insurance company is definitely important to receive. A disastrous hassle could be created by the loss or improper delivery of any item such as:

  • A past due notice
  • A claim check
  • A policy revision

Again, such mishaps are decreased when such things are sent to a PO Box.

The PMB Option

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In addition to using a post office box as a mailing address, the option exists to have mail and other correspondence sent to a private mailbox (PMB).

A private mailbox is not very much different than a PO Box, but there is one major difference. The entity renting a PMB is not a government entity. Rather, PMBs are managed by private businesses.

A few added benefits exist when paying the more costly fee for a PMB. These benefits include:

  • PMBs can accept mail from a private courier whereas PO Boxes do not. PMB businesses may package and forward mail as directed or requested.
  • In some cases, mail can be opened at the behest of the customer, scanned, and emailed. For people who travel, this would be an enormous assistance.
  • Last, PMB businesses provide a tremendous amount of added customer service. Box holders can call up and ask if any mail has arrived. This would not be possible when renting from the local post office.

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Do Not Attempt to Mislead the Insurance Company

Some may opt to use a PO Box for a mailing address and then use any old address for the permanent address.

The individual who gives a random address may not be attempting to deceive anyone. The person might move around a lot or could be taking advantage of low-cost temporary residences.

He/she may just give the address of a friend or relative to the insurance company and claim it is his/her permanent address.

Doing so can be very problematic. In certain states, intentional misrepresentation on an insurance application is a misdemeanor.

Even if the insurance company chooses not to file any criminal charges, misstatements on an insurance application are more than enough to void a policy and deny claims.

Imagine being involved in a serious accident and in dire need of an insurance policy’s protections. All that could be lost by not providing the insurance company with the correct address.

One of the worst errors a driver could make would be to claim a residence in a state one does not reside. Doing so opens up a proverbial Pandora’s box of potential fraud allegations.

To repeat, only provide truthful statements to insurers, the DMV, and other official entities. Otherwise, a lot of dire consequences may result.

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Always Relay Information to the Insurance Company

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Under all circumstances, anyone who changes a physical address should contact the insurance company and provide that address. Mail can still go to a PO Box or a PMB address.

The policyholder may even request no paper mailings and opt for email or online-only correspondence.

Even those who have a temporary address should relay such information to the insurance provider. The mailing address does not need to change when someone moves to a new residence.

Unless the insured changes it, any and all correspondence is going to be sent to the mailing address.

No matter how short the duration of the move might be, alert the insurance company about what is occurring. A slight change to the rates on the policy may be required due to the move. Regardless of how temporary the move is, the fact remains the insured has moved.

The Sojourner Situation

One of the stranger cases an insurance company may deal with is the person who no real address at all. A person may be traveling across the country or internationally.

Literally, the person has no residence address and uses a PMB for a driver’s license address.

The person could very well spend the next 90 days onboard a freight cruise ship or be traveling by way of a rented RV.

As always, contact the insurance company and relay the information. One insurance company may be willing to revise the policy based on where a vehicle is physically stored and accept the PMB. Another insurance company could decline to provide coverage.

The bottom line here is the insured must always contact the insurance company and provide accurate updates.

Ultimately, the insurance company will have the final word regarding how to address any major address change situation.

Generally, accepting a PO Box for a mailing address shouldn’t be too much of a problem. Other issues may slightly more complex.

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