Does My Car Insurance Cover Me if I Travel Out of State?

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Does My Car Insurance Cover Me if I Travel Out of State?
Nicholas Wilson · Nov 17, 2020
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    Maybe you’re finally taking a cross-country road trip after saving up for a long time, or you’re just going out of state for the holidays. Whatever the reason, an important question to ask is whether or not your car insurance will cover you when traveling out of state. Since this will make a huge difference in your decision to take your car on a driving trip, it is important to know how to prepare and what coverage you will have.

    How to stay covered during out of state travel

    The short is answer is: yes, your car insurance will cover you when you travel out of state. As with any insurance, however, there are a number of important facts to keep in mind.
    The first is that you will only be covered on the same basis if you are in fact traveling and not moving. That is, if you are taking a vacation or staying out of state temporarily, then you are still covered.
    If, on the other hand, you are actually changing permanent residences, then you will need to notify you car insurance of the change immediately so that they can make the necessary adjustments to your insurance information and your rate. Failure to do this can result in denial of claims.
    Additionally, the legal requirements for car insurance often varies significantly between states, so it is quite likely that your current insurance is no longer acceptable in a new location.

    How out of state accidents are covered

    Since car insurance companies do cover you when you are traveling to another state, a possible source of worry for you might still be what does insurance actually cover in another state.
    Each state has its own unique laws surround insurance and the minimum amount of coverage necessary for residents. So, if each state differs, how does this affect what your insurance will cover in an accident? The laws of the state in which the accident occurs, rather than the state in which you have your policy, apply.
    This means that if you have an accident in a state whose minimum liability coverage is $10,000 more than your home state, your coverage will change to meet the requirements of that state. In the event of an accident, then, you will be covered according to the laws of that state, and you certainly will not be on the hook for $10,000.
    This also holds true for no-fault states, where Personal Injury Protection (PIP) is required. Your plan will automatically cover you as specified in the PIP policies of that state.
    Of course, if you cause the accident, then all the usual penalties apply as defined in the state, but you aren’t at a disadvantage simply because you happened to be driving through with an out of state policy.
    The good news here is that, while your coverage will automatically increase to meet another state’s minimum requirements, your coverage will not decrease in another state whose minimum is lower than your home state. This means that you keep your better coverage from your home state when traveling just as your insurance would automatically provide your better coverage if the reverse were true.
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