Can I use a different address for car insurance?

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In a nutshell...
  • 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

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.

In some states with high-risk regions, it’s shocking to discover that you could pay thousands more for living in the city. As tempting as it might be to use a different address, that can be risky.

One great, legal way to save money on your car insurance premiums is to find the lowest quote and go with that company. Enter your zip code into our free comparison tool below to begin!

What is a car insurance risk profile?

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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 basically 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.

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What does your address have to do with risk?

If you looked at all of the risk factors that are included in your risk profile, you’d be shocked at some of the things that are used to classify you. One of the factors that make the list is your 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 premiums
  • The average rate of car accidents in the area based on the population could affect your physical damage and liability premiums

Are you in a high-risk zip code?

Most of the time, moving from one zip code to another isn’t going to dramatically change your premiums. You might notice a small difference in your monthly rate, but it’s not going to break the bank.

There are, however, exceptions to every rule. If you’re moving to a high-risk zip code, the difference in premiums could be thousands. 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

Why are there two addresses on a policy?

You’re not just going to see one address on your auto insurance declarations page, you’re going to see two different places where you’ll find 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 premiums, 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 have different addresses for each car on the policy?

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.

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.

Don’t Lie about Your Address

It’s very tempting to use the wrong garaging address to save a pretty penny. You think it’s harmless but insurance companies see that misrepresentation as fraud.

To combat fraud, companies now use a verification technology that determines where cars are often spotted based on their plate number. If you’re caught lying, you could lose your insurance.

You are always free to change your address on your 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. Use our online rate comparison tool for quotes and find the best deal in minutes.

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