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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Written by Rachael Brennan
Licensed Insurance Agent Rachael Brennan

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 Jeffrey Johnson

UPDATED: Jun 29, 2022

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In a nutshell...

  • When you move, it’s your responsibility to update your auto insurance within a reasonable amount of time
  • If you’re moving somewhere within the state, you can call your agent and provide your new garaging address
  • When you’re moving out of state, you need to either transfer your insurance or shop for a new policy in the state
  • If you’ve already moved out of state, update your mailing address until you’ve had time to transfer your coverage
  • You can’t technically transfer your insurance to another state until you’ve registered the vehicle in that state

You never think that a move is going to change how much you pay for auto insurance. After all, you’re still the same driver with the same habits driving the same vehicle.

See how much you could save by comparing auto insurance rates right here today.

While it’s a reasonable assumption to make, expecting your rates to remain the same would be ignoring the fact that your address is actually one of the factors that are used to determine your personal rates.

Your car insurance rates don’t go up just because you moved. If you were to rent a home in the same zip code where you once rented an apartment, it’d have no effect on your premiums.

It’s the change in your zip code and your scenery that will have an effect. Here’s how a move could create the need for a larger insurance budget:

Your Address is a Rating Factor


Insurance companies look at more than just your driving record and vehicle information when they are setting your personal rates.

While these are the two main factors, there’s a long list of other factors that can all reduce or increase your likelihood of filing an insurance claim.

One of the more indirect factors that are used as a determinant is your garaging address. The term garaging address can be a bit misleading if you’re parking your vehicle somewhere other than a garage.

In the industry, garaging address refers to the zip code where your vehicle is predominantly parked when it’s not being used.

This address is typically your home address but it could also be a parking garage or storage facility.

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Why does your address affect your car insurance rates?

Every zip code is given a different territory rating. Even zip codes that border one another can have a different rating which will lead to a different premium. Many people don’t see the correlation between an address and auto claims risk, insurance companies do.

To fully understand why zip codes matter so much it’s important to look at it from your carrier’s point of view. Imagine moving from a zip code with a small population of drivers and a small property crime rate to a metropolitan area.

When you’re in the city, you’ll be exposed to more potential losses when you drive and even when you park. The carrier must consider how risky living in the new territory will be.

Policyholders who remain a resident in their current state can easily update their rating after a move without putting much effort in.

All you have to do is make a change to your policy to update your garaging address and your mailing address. You can update it by:

  • Calling your agent
  • Contacting customer service
  • Logging onto your policy online

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Other Changes to Consider When You Update Your Policy

Endorsing your policy after a move can involve a lot more than just changing your address. That may be the primary purpose of your contact, but a move can change the entire way you use your vehicle.

If you don’t consider how your lifestyle changes after a move, you could be paying the wrong rate. Here are some other changes you may have to make when you’re updating your address:

  • Update your vehicle usage if you’re no longer commuting or you start commuting after your move
  • Update the distance of your commute if you live further from or closer to your work
  • Take a pleasure rating if you start working from home or carpooling with neighboring coworkers
  • Raise or lower your annual mileage estimates on each car if you’re driving more or less to work and other activities
  • Take advantage of a homeowner or condo owner credit if you go from renting to becoming a homeowner

What happens if you’re moving out of state?

You have to do more than just endorse your existing insurance if you’re going to enter a new state entirely. When you’re planning an out-of-state move, there’s so much to consider.

You need to focus on moving insurance, health insurance, changing employers and more. You’ll also have to worry about transferring your registration and driver’s license soon after you touch down.

If you were to just change your address on your current insurance policy, the coverage that you were paying for under your original policy wouldn’t be acceptable to the new state motor vehicle agency.

By law, you have to satisfy the state’s insurance laws by purchasing auto insurance from a carrier in the state.

As soon as you become a resident in another state, you will have to buy insurance in the state. You can either transfer your insurance to an agent’s office through the same carrier or you could buy a new policy altogether.

Either way, you’ll have a new policy number and a new term when you bind the new policy.

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It’s All About the Timing


There is such a thing as transferring your insurance too soon. If you wanted to prepare for your move and get things done in advance, you could be doing yourself a disservice by transferring your insurance before you transfer your tags.

You must keep insurance on your car to comply with your state’s insurance requirements. If you cancel your original insurance, you will look like you’re not complying with the law even though you do have insurance on the vehicle.

Your new insurance in the new state won’t satisfy your old state’s requirements. Don’t buy insurance in the new state until you’ve visited the DMV.

It’s not abnormal for your car insurance to go up after you move. It’s best that you get quotes for insurance in your new zip code before moving so that you know what to expect.

To get quotes in advance, use our online comparison shopping tool and you can see which territories are priced higher.