Do Car Insurance and Registration Address Have to Match?

The short and simple answer is yes, most states and insurers insist on seeing the same address on both vehicle registration and insurance documents. States want to make sure that the address given for registration is where the auto is kept and this is extra important for insurance because the premiums are based on zip code. Even separate addresses are accepted, motorists must explain why they need to be different and it still can cause problems.

Naturally, motorists use their permanent home address for their Driver License, Vehicle Registration at DMV and Insurance as this is what is expected and normal. So, people may have to explain each time why they have different locations if they insist on it and manage to have it. For example, it would raise a red flag when they are pulled over and a police officer sees them not matching.

DMV usually ask for proof of address before they can register a car on that address in your name. In a way, these documents serve as an extra proof of address for both states and insurers and any discrepancies arouse suspicions.

In some cases, it may actually be the honest thing to do to tell your automobile insurance company that the car is currently staying at an address different from your legal address. For example, college students may have taken the car with them and it may be insured in the school address while their vehicle registration and driver license can remain as their parents’ address in their hometown.

This may be the case for snowbirds and military personnel, whose permanent residence can be different and even in a different state. In such cases, auto insurers would make adjustments to coverage to meet the requirements of the temporary state (and/or location). They would also recalculate the premium to reflect the true picture.

People must also inform DMV and their carriers when they move to keep the records up to date. Companies usually recalculate the premium based on the new zip code which shows how important it is in pricing the risks. This should be done in a timely manner and there are time limits to updating your records after a change of residence.

One of the main concerns for auto insurance is prevention of fraud. Knowingly giving an address other than where you normally live and keep the car in order to get lower car insurance rates is a fraud and criminal offence, which can lead to serious problems like below;

  • At best, the insurance company would insist that you pay the premium differences once they find out you got low rates unfairly.
  • They may refuse to renew the policy once the term expires.
  • They may cancel the policy once they find out.
  • They may even deny a claim because the coverage was based on false information.
  • They may also report insurance fraud to authorities, who may charge you with a crime.

Companies try their best to make sure they collect the right premiums for the risks they are facing and zip codes are a key factor. So, even if your state may allow you to have different addresses or don’t check, most auto insurers would insist that the address you give is your legal residence and where the vehicle is normally kept. Generally, motorists cannot use a location they occasionally visit like their parents’ home when they live somewhere else.

In short, it is usually a requirement that motorists use their main residence on all the documents to avoid suspicion and questioning at times. This is also the standard practice automatically followed by nearly all motorists. There are only several exceptions to this rule. Otherwise, your motives would be questioned by authorities and insurers.