Taking Care of Your Car Before and After a Move

Moving doesn’t just involve packing up and buying a new home. It also means that you have to transfer many of your legally-owned assets to your new location. Making sure you do so under the law often requires consideration and oversight. Among the assets you often have to transfer to your new home is your vehicle.

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You often need to consider moving the car separately from the rest of your belongings. If you don’t follow the rules, you could face penalties because of the risks associated with the vehicle.

Before You Move

As you get ready to move, don’t forget to take care of your car in the meantime.

First, gather important paperwork associated with your ownership of the vehicle. Locate your auto insurance policy, vehicle title and financial information related to the car. Also gather your documentation of maintenance and vehicle registration. If you have a lien on the vehicle, notify the vehicle’s lienholders. You may have to update certain information on the vehicle’s lien when you complete your move.

Consider having the vehicle serviced before (or immediately after) you move. You will likely be on the road a lot during a move. Even short moves across town may require a lot of driving. Having your oil changed, engine inspected and tires rotated can help keep your car in good working order.

When You Move: Take Stock of Your New Surroundings

Moving means you will expose your vehicle to unique risks associated with your new home. Take some time to familiarize yourself with your new surroundings. Having an idea about the new risks you face may help you update your car insurance when the time comes to do so.

For example, your new home may be near a crowded area with a lot of traffic. This may put you at greater risks of accidents when you drive. You may want to increase your liability coverage limits. Higher limits may help you in case of severe car accidents or injuries you cause to others.

Or, perhaps, your new neighborhood has a higher risk of auto theft because it is not a gated community. This is a good time to make sure you are aware of the deductibles on your policy. 

After Moving: Update Your Driving Qualifications

After you move, you live in a new jurisdiction, even if you just move down the street. You likely have to change your address with the post office to keep receiving mail. Likewise, you probably have to update your driver’s qualifications.

You may need to update the address on your registration, driver’s license, title, insurance policy and other documents related to your vehicle. Usually, your state will mandate a time limit during which you must make these changes.

But, moving your vehicle might mean you have to do more than simply change your address. Different types of moves might cause different driving updates.

Moving out of state means you must update your driver’s license to one from your new state. You also need to update your vehicle registration and plates. You might also be able to choose to update your title, based on your ownership status. Each state has specific guidelines to help new drivers transfer their vehicle.

As a precaution, some states need drivers to get inspections when moving into the state. Therefore, new residents should anticipate certain fees and tests in order to drive.

Update Your Insurance

Whether you move in- or out-of-state, you have to take steps to update your auto insurance policy. Every location poses unique vehicle risks. Therefore, drivers should augment their policies to reflect their risks.  Indeed, many auto insurers use an area’s local risks to determine coverage and policy rates. Updating a policy helps drivers ensure they get the best cost for their coverage.

Often, drivers have a legal rule from their state to carry auto insurance. Most states require all drivers to carry minimum levels of liability coverage. They may also require other forms of coverage. However, these requirements vary. Drivers need to get car insurance that meets the minimum requirements of their state. Yet, drivers should not only carry the minimum levels. They should also increase their coverage to better cover the risks related to their specific operations.

Working with an independent insurance agent can help new residents get the right levels of auto insurance. Independent agents work with a variety of different insurance companies. For this reason, they can often compare the auto policies of various insurers, and this can help drivers get the coverage they need at an affordable price.


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Kristie Pauly is the Vice President of Personal Lines at Bouchard Insurance. Kristie's team is focuses on personal insurance including homeowners and auto. | Connect on Linked In