Can I use a different address for car insurance?
The cost of auto insurance can vary greatly depending on what ZIP code you live in. If you're in a high-risk ZIP code, can you legally use a different address for car insurance? Usually, you can't, but there are some exceptions.
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UPDATED: May 6, 2022
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- Your agent will ask you for your address when you’re getting quotes and when you’re applying for coverage
- One of the addresses that you provide is strictly for mailing and the other address is where you physically live
- If you regularly park your car away from your residence, you will give the address to the location where it’s parked
- You can legally use a different address for your car insurance if that is where the vehicle is garaged
There are many different factors affecting auto insurance rates, and some might surprise you. Did you know where you live can affect your rates? So, can you use a different address for car insurance? No, getting car insurance at a different address is considered fraud.
It’s amazing what a difference an address can make when you’re buying car insurance. While you are technically insuring your vehicle and not a physical address, where the car is located can have a major impact on risk, so if your car insurance has a different address than your license, read on.
In some states with high-risk regions, it’s shocking to discover that you could pay thousands more for living in the city. Car insurance companies check your address, so as tempting as using another address for car insurance might be, that can be risky.
One great, legal way to save money on your car insurance rates is to find the lowest quote and go with that company. Enter your ZIP to get the cheapest quotes for your address.
Using a Different Address for Car Insurance: Your Address and Risk
You’d be shocked at some of the factors that are used to determine your car insurance rates. One of the factors that make the list is your car insurance address.
For the average consumer, it might seem silly to change a customer’s rate based on address but to the insurance company, it makes complete sense.
There are a few different ways that your address can affect your likelihood of filing a claim.
As always, the state that you live in is going to have an impact on your standard rate, but it’s the specific zip code in that state that’s going to have a major impact.
Here are a few ways that your zip code can make you a riskier policyholder to the insurer:
- The average value of vehicles in the zip code (in areas with more expensive vehicles, the rates for Property Damage are higher)
- The amount the average liability claim is settled for in the zip code
- The property crime rates for vehicle thefts and vandalism can affect your physical damage rates
- The average rate of car accidents in the area based on the population could affect your physical damage and liability rates
Let’s look at car insurance rates in Miami, Florida for example.
Even in one city, rates can fluctuate almost $500 based on your zip code. That is a lot of difference in just one city.
Using a Different Address for Car Insurance if You’re in a High-risk ZIP Code
Most of the time, moving from one zip code to another isn’t going to dramatically change your rates. You might notice a small difference in your monthly rate, but it’s not going to break the bank.
When it comes to car insurance, address risk is a real thing. There are, however, exceptions to every rule. Here are some examples of the worst zip codes when you’re buying insurance:
- Detroit (48227) – $5,109
- Brooklyn (11226) – $3,877
- Philadelphia (19132) – $2,760
- Providence (02903) – $2,749
- New Orleans (70117) – $2,542
- Los Angeles (90029) – $2,416
- Woodbridge (06525) – $2,291
- Baltimore (21216) – $2,256
- Miami (33142) – $2,248
- Royalton (41464)– $2,104
If you’re moving to a high-risk zip code, the difference in car insurance rates could be thousands.
You might the tempted to get car insurance at a different address when you sign up for car insurance to keep your rates lower. Companies consider that fraud. This video goes into more detail about what insurance fraud looks like.
The money that you might save on your car insurance is not worth the possible legal trouble you’ll get into.
Why are there two addresses on a policy?
When does car insurance show two different addresses? You’re not just going to see one address on your car insurance declarations page, you’re going to see two different places where you’ll find car insurance address information.
That’s because one of the addresses, the one that’s on the top of the page, is strictly where your documents are mailed. The other address is the garaging address.
When you’re concerned with your rates, it’s only the garaging address that’s used to classify you.
If you sent your mail to a high-risk zip code but you live in a low-risk zip code, the mailing address won’t have a bearing on your rates. You should still be sure that the mailing address and the garaging address are always accurate on your more recent policy documents.
Can you use a different address for car insurance if you are insuring multiple cars at different addresses?
Can you get multiple addresses car insurance? Policyholders who own multiple vehicles may still be able to insure all of those vehicles on the same policy when they are parked at different addresses.
It all depends on the rules set by the insurer, but as long as each car is registered in the same name and in the same state, it shouldn’t be a problem. In this case, auto insurance with a different address is legal.
How do you determine which address to use for car insurance? To ensure that each car on the policy is rated correctly, the company will list the zip codes where each car is primarily parked. The rates will be dependent on this zip code.
If your affordable car is parked in a high-risk zip code and your luxury car is kept at home where claims rates are low, you could pay more to insure the less expensive car. Where your car insurance home address is matters. Take this into account when signing up for multiple addresses car insurance.
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Car Insurance Risk Profile
When you’re buying insurance, you’re going to be placed in a box. It might seem unfair to you, but you have to be assigned a risk classification or there’d be no way for the insurer to set your rates.
That’s why the agent collects information for your risk profile. The risk profile is basic information about your history, your vehicle, your address, and your driving habits. A company could never efficiently price an insurance product without having a risk profile.
Why is your risk profile so important?
It might seem like it would be much easier for the company to just set fixed rates that all drivers pay in the state but that wouldn’t work in the insurance industry.
This practice might save the company money in operations and underwriting, but it could cost the company loads of money because some drivers are much riskier than others.
In the insurance industry, providers have to consider how a person drives and what type of property they are insuring. The only way to do this is to look at the following:
- Driver’s history
- Their vehicle type
- Other information that could affect the likelihood that the driver will have a claim
The risk profile is essentially the one thing the insurer can reference to assess risk and then set a rate so that they charge the client enough money. Companies will continually look at these factors like checking your driving record when your policy renews.
Using a Different Address for Car Insurance: Don’t Lie
It’s very tempting to use the wrong garaging address to save a pretty penny. You think it’s harmless, but if you try getting car insurance with a different address, insurance companies see that misrepresentation as insurance fraud.
The FBI estimates insurance fraud costs the average family between -$400-$700 a year. The Insurance Information Institute says fraud includes filing incorrect accident reports, or staging accidents, or lying when you obtain car insurance.
To combat fraud, companies now use a verification technology that determines where cars are often spotted based on their plate number. Auto insurance companies check your address and if you’re caught lying, you could lose your insurance.
Can you use a different address for car insurance? The Bottom Line
You are always free to make a change of address for car insurance. If the address change is out of state, you need to be ready to transfer your policy instead of making a basic change.
Before you transfer your insurance, make sure you price the market in the new state. The best way to find the cheapest car insurance is to compare quotes from different companies.
If your car insurance address is different to your driving license, fix that. Then enter your ZIP and find the best deal in minutes for your address.