A Quick Guide to Out-Of-State Car Insurance

Your car needs to be registered and insured in the same state. The rules are complex for residents of multiple states, college students, and military members.
Written by Hillary Kobayashi
Edited by Amy Bobinger
Typically, your vehicle’s
car insurance
and registration need to be in the same state, as attempting to insure a car in a state where it isn’t registered could be considered insurance fraud. Some complicated circumstances arise, though—like if you live in more than one state, attend college, or are a military member.

Residents of more than one state

If you live in more than one state and have a car in each state, you should be able to purchase a car insurance policy in each respective state. Each car will need to be insured in the same state as its
vehicle registration
For instance, if you have a vehicle with a garaging address at your vacation home in
, it will need a policy in Florida. And if you drive a different vehicle in
New York
, it will need current insurance in New York. Make sure you always have your
proof of insurance
with you when you drive.
State laws vary widely, so make sure to contact your local Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to make sure you are handling everything above board. 

Snowbird exception

Now, if you happen to be a snowbird who brings your car with you when you migrate from one state to another, some car insurance companies will allow you to keep one insurance policy at a time. This is known as the snowbird exception. 
Under the snowbird exception, while you are in
, you’ll have a Massachusetts policy. When you take a road trip to stay in
for six months, you can cancel your Massachusetts policy and get a new car policy in Nevada. Just make sure that your new policy starts on the same day your old one ends so you won’t have a gap in your coverage.

College students

College students who attend a school out of state might need to purchase a new policy in their new state. This will depend on state law and other factors, like whether the student brought a car with them to college. 
For example, if a student is attending the University of Georgia without a car in tow, they will likely be able to drive their family car back in their home state of
under their parent’s auto insurance policy. In fact, there is even a special student away at school discount for this exact scenario. 
If a student brings a car with them to an out-of-state university, they’ll likely need to register and insure their car in the state where they attend school. 
Either way, make sure to check in with your insurance provider to ensure that you aren’t breaking any insurance laws and are meeting any necessary insurance requirements in both states.  

Members of the military

Members of the military who are stationed in another state or country will usually maintain their insurance coverage at their permanent address in their home state. However, this will depend on how long they are stationed in a particular location.
The details will also depend on state law, so make sure to always contact your car insurance company and speak to an insurance agent when you move. 
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Do I have to get a new driver’s license when I move to a different state?

If you move to a new state, you’ll need to head to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) as soon as possible to update your driver’s license. 

Will my US car insurance policy cover me in Canada and Mexico? 

Most US car insurance companies don’t cover you in Mexico. You might be able to buy car insurance for Mexico from one of your car insurance company’s partners, though. Most US car insurance companies will cover you in Canada, but make sure to double-check with them before you drive to the border. 

Meet our experts

Hillary Kobayashi
Hillary Kobayashi is an insurance writer and editor specializing in insurance and finance topics. Hillary’s mission is to use her knowledge and love of education to help car owners better understand how they can save time and money on car ownership. The articles Hillary has published for Jerry span topics from state-specific bill of sale requirements to SR-22 insurance information.
Prior to joining Jerry, Hillary spent over ten years in education at Pacific University and the University of Oregon.
Amy Bobinger
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Licensed Insurance Agent — Expert Insurance Editor
Expert insurance writer and editor Amy Bobinger specializes in car repair, car maintenance, and car insurance. Amy is passionate about creating content that helps consumers navigate challenges related to car ownership and achieve financial success in areas relating to cars.
Amy has over 10 years of writing and editing experience. After several years as a freelance writer, Amy spent four years as an editing fellow at WikiHow, where she co-authored over 600 articles on topics including car maintenance and home ownership. Since joining Jerry’s editorial team in 2022, Amy has edited over 2,500 articles on car insurance, state driving laws, and car repair and maintenance.

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