Can You Have Car Insurance in a Different State Than Your Registration?

Posted: April 30, 2024

2 cars in an accident together

Are you planning to move to New York? According to the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles, you can bring just about everything with you, except for your out-of-state car insurance coverage.

Out-of-state insurance is not accepted when you relocate to New York State, so it’s recommended that you change your car insurance and vehicle registration as soon as you arrive.

In general, it’s best to have your car registered and insured in your state of permanent residence. Here’s why:

  • Insurance companies typically require the insured vehicle to be registered in the state where the policy was issued. If your car is registered in a different state than your insurance, it could cause issues with coverage.
  • If you get into an accident, having mismatched registration and insurance could complicate the claims process. The insurance company may question why the vehicle isn’t registered in the state where it’s primarily driven.
  • In the event of a total loss, the payout from insurance is based on the vehicle’s registered location. If your car is totaled but registered in a different state than where you reside and the accident occurred, it could reduce your payout.

New York State Insurance Requirements

In order to register your vehicle in New York State, you must have New York auto liability insurance coverage. And you must maintain it. If you fail to maintain your liability coverage, the DMV can suspend your vehicle registration and your driver’s license.

The minimum liability coverage limits in New York are:

  • $10,000 for property damage per accident
  • $25,000 for bodily injury and $50,000 for death for a person per accident
  • $50,000 for bodily injury and $100,000 for death for two or more people per accident

Your liability coverage must remain in effect as long as your registration is valid, whether or not you are using your vehicle. New York law also requires that you have New York State insurance coverage, issued by a company licensed by the NY State Department of Financial Services and certified by NY State DMV. Out-of-state insurance is never acceptable. The auto insurance must also be in the name of the vehicle registrant.

Update Your Insurance and Registration

While relocating to a new state can be stressful, it’s important to remember to comply with the New York Vehicle and Traffic Law.

However, changing your car insurance policy is normally fairly easy, and could be as easy as simply calling your current insurance provider and notifying them that you’ve moved, as long as the car insurance company is authorized to transact the business of insurance in New York.

It might be worthwhile to shop around for a new insurance policy depending on available rates. You may even get a lower rate from another insurance agent.

Updating your insurance and registration requires a few more steps and likely a trip to the DMV, but can be easily accomplished if you take the required steps.

College Students and Determining “Residency”

According to Vehicle and Traffic Law Section 250 (5), the term “resident” means “one who lives in this state with the intention of making it a fixed and permanent abode. It shall be presumptive evidence that a person who maintains a place of abode in this state for a period of at least ninety days is a resident of this state.” 

According to the New York DMV, students from other states or countries who attend school in New York are not normally considered residents. The question of residency when it comes to motor vehicles and car insurance, however, is very fact-specific and it is sometimes difficult to generalize.

What to Do If You Get into an Accident Out-of-State

Even if your vehicle is properly registered and insured in your home state, getting into an accident while driving out-of-state can add complexity to an already stressful situation. Here are some tips on what to do:

  • Always call 911 if there are any injuries, significant property damage, or you suspect the other driver may be under the influence. Getting an official police report is critical.
  • Exchange insurance and contact information with the other driver(s) involved. Take pictures of damage, vehicle plate numbers, the accident scene, and any visible injuries.
  • Contact your insurance company as soon as possible to initiate the claims process. They will likely work with the other driver’s insurer to determine fault and coverage.
  • Keep records of any medical treatment you receive as a result of the accident. You may need to see doctors in the state where the collision occurred.
  • Obtain a copy of the police report filed with the local law enforcement agency. Your insurance company will likely need this to process the claim.

Importantly, even though the accident happened outside your home state, you would still turn to your regular insurance company first. They can advise you on the next steps and work with the local representatives and authorities in the state where the accident occurred.

What If the Accident Happens in New York?

New York is a “no-fault” car insurance state. This means that if you get into an accident, you typically make a claim with your own insurance company first to cover medical expenses and lost earnings from injuries, regardless of who was at fault.

However, New York law also allows accident victims to step outside the no-fault system and pursue a liability claim or lawsuit against the at-fault party if the crash resulted in serious injury as defined by the state’s legal threshold. Claims for vehicle damage can also be made against the at-fault driver’s insurance.

Additionally, New York requires uninsured motorist coverage as part of auto policies. So if you’re in an accident caused by a driver without insurance or sufficient coverage, you can turn to your own UM policy.

Navigating insurance claims, medical bills, liability, and the potential for a lawsuit after a serious crash can be extremely challenging, especially if it happens out of state. This is where having an experienced New York car accident attorney can make all the difference.

Do I Need a Lawyer if I’ve Been Injured in a New York Car Accident?

If you’ve been in a car accident in New York, consulting with an experienced car accident lawyer can be extremely beneficial. Here are some of the key ways an attorney can help:

Communicating with insurance companies

A lawyer can handle all communications and negotiations with the auto insurance companies involved. They can help ensure your rights are protected and you aren’t taken advantage of by insurers trying to minimize or deny your claim.

Investigating the accident and gathering evidence

An attorney can thoroughly investigate the crash, gather police reports, interview witnesses, and even hire expert accident reconstructionists, if needed, to help prove liability.

Assessing the full value of your damages

A lawyer can help determine the true extent of your damages, including current and future medical expenses, lost wages, reduced earning capacity, pain and suffering, and other losses. This is key to pursuing maximum compensation.

Advising you of your legal options

Depending on the severity of your injuries and the circumstances of the accident, you may be able to pursue a liability claim or personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault party. An attorney can explain your options and recommend the best path forward.

Representing you in court

If your case does proceed to a lawsuit, having a skilled litigator on your side is critical. An experienced car accident trial lawyer can zealously argue your case in front of a judge and jury.

Handling the complex paperwork and procedures

From drafting demand letters to insurance companies to filing legal complaints to dealing with discovery and court appearances, an attorney can handle all the complicated paperwork and procedures involved so you can focus on healing.

Providing peace of mind

Knowing you have a knowledgeable legal advocate in your corner, fighting to protect your rights and secure a fair recovery, can provide tremendous peace of mind during a stressful and traumatic time.

Involved in an Accident? Call William Mattar

The legal team at William Matter Law Offices has a deep understanding of car accident cases across New York State. We can deal with the insurance companies, help gather evidence to prove liability, ensure your rights are protected, and fight for the maximum compensation you deserve.

If you’ve been injured in a vehicle collision in New York, contact the dedicated car accident lawyers at William Matter Law Offices for a free consultation. We’re here to handle the legal process so you can focus on recovery and getting your life back on track.

At William Mattar P.C., we focus on helping people who sustained personal injuries after motor vehicle accidents. With more than 25 years of experience representing thousands of injured victims like you, we know auto accident law.

If you were injured in a car accident involving a motorist with out-of-state insurance, we’re happy to take a look at your case to see if we can help!

Call our office any time at 844-noswap444-4444, or fill out a contact form or chat with us directly.

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