Rachel Bodine graduated from college with a BA in English. She has since worked as a Feature Writer in the insurance industry and gained a deep knowledge of state and countrywide insurance laws and rates. Her research and writing focus on helping readers understand their insurance coverage and how to find savings. Her expert advice on insurance has been featured on sites like PhotoEnforced, All...

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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: Sep 30, 2021

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Just the Basics

  • Insuring your car in another state than the one in which it’s registered may be considered insurance fraud
  • Your existing car insurance coverage is sufficient if you’re road-tripping or on vacation
  • Active-duty members of the military are an exception and may have their vehicle registered and insured in their home state rather than where they’re currently living

If you’re getting ready to move, are in the military, have homes in more than one state, are planning a vacation, or any other related scenario, you probably have questions about handling car insurance.

What car safety and laws apply? Is it bad to insure your car in another state? Can you have car insurance in two different states?

You may also be asking yourself, can I be on my parents’ car insurance if I live in another state? Or, will my car insurance cover me in another state? What happens if I live in more than one state?

Read this article to find the answers to these and other questions about registering your vehicle in one state and insuring it in another.

Before we get started on discussing whether it’s bad to insure your vehicle in another state, why not use your ZIP code in the tool on this page to get a free quote on car insurance right now?

Can your car be registered in one state and insured in another?

Typically, you won’t be able to have your vehicle registered in one state and insured in another (which means you probably won’t be able to have insurance policies in two states at the same time).

It is a bad idea to try insuring your car in a different state because it can be considered insurance fraud, particularly given the widely varying differences in rates between states.

Take a look at this table of average rates for full coverage insurance by state to see what we mean.

Average Monthly and Annual Cost of Full Coverage by State
StateAverage Cost of Full Coverage Insurance per MonthAverage Cost of Full Coverage Insurance per Year
District of Columbia$110.89$1,330.73
New Hampshire$68.23$818.75
New Jersey$115.23$1,382.79
New Mexico$78.13$937.59
New York$113.39$1,360.66
North Carolina$65.76$789.09
North Dakota$64.44$773.30
Rhode Island$108.63$1,303.50
South Carolina$81.09$973.10
South Dakota$63.91$766.91
West Virginia$85.48$1,025.78
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If you’re the vehicle owner, but the individual driving your vehicle is in another state, you’ll most likely need to register the vehicle in the state in which you’re driving it. This will also mean you’ll probably need to buy a new policy for that vehicle.

When do you need to register your vehicle if you move?

Most states require you to register your vehicle in the state within 10 and 30 days of establishing residency. Other states, like Michigan, require that new residents register their vehicle(s) in the state “immediately.”

In general, you’ll need to provide proof of insurance when registering your vehicle, and that proof of insurance will need to reflect the state in which you’re completing the registration.

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What happens if you’re driving through or vacationing in another state?

If you’re on a road trip or a vacation, your existing car insurance coverage should be sufficient.

However, if you have a vacation home in a different state where you spend a significant portion of your time, you may need to re-register your vehicle in that state and buy appropriate coverage for the time you’ll be there. When you return, you’ll then need to switch insurance and registration back.

Be sure to speak with your insurance company to find out what they recommend and familiarize yourself with the insurance and vehicle registration laws in both your home and vacation states.

Another option is to keep a vehicle at your vacation home that is both registered and insured in that state, so you don’t have to continually change registrations and insurance coverage as you go back and forth.

Are there exceptions to insuring and registering your vehicle in the same state?

Most car insurance companies and state laws make exceptions for military personnel when it comes to registering and insuring vehicles in the same state.

In general, active-duty military personnel are permitted to keep their vehicle(s) registered in their home state without changing the registration or their insurance coverage.

Another limited exception is college students. You’ll need to work with your insurance company, but most permit you to keep your out-of-state college student on your insurance policy.

Is it bad to insure your car in another state? The Bottom Line

Insuring your vehicle in another state while it’s registered in a different one is a bad idea and is often considered insurance fraud. Exceptions to this include if you’re active duty military or a college student.

If you’re going on vacation, your existing coverage should suffice. Still, if you have a vacation home at which you spend more than 30 consecutive days, you may need to re-register your vehicle in the vacation state and buy coverage there as well.

While you typically shouldn’t insure your car in another state, it’s always a good idea to shop around to ensure you’re getting the best rates. Enter your ZIP code in our tool to get your first free quote and compare today.