Do Car Insurance and Registration Address Need to Match?
Last Updated on November 20, 2020
You submit your address when completing car insurance paperwork. But does your car insurance address need to match your vehicle registration address?
Yes, your auto insurance address and registration address need to match. In most situations, you need to register your vehicle to the same address you use for auto insurance. For most drivers, this address is the same as your physical address or place of residence.
Today, we’re explaining everything you need to know about car insurance and registration addresses, including why it’s important for car insurance and registration addresses to match.
Yes, Car Insurance and Registration Addresses Should Match
For most drivers in most situations, your car registration address should match your insurance address.
The DMV (or the equivalent agency in your state) needs to know the address of your vehicle. This is the registered address. It’s the address to which your vehicle is registered.
Your insurance company needs to know the address where your vehicle is parked most nights. This is your insurance address.
Generally, these two addresses are the same. If you live at 123 Main Street, then your car is parked at 123 Main Street most nights. Your physical address, vehicle registration address, and insurance address will all be 123 Main Street.
The only exception to this rule is if you have non-owner vehicle insurance or if the vehicle is not registered in your name. Someone else might own the vehicle you drive every day. Or, you might drive a work vehicle. Outside of these situations, however, your vehicle registration address and insurance address need to match in most states.
What Happens If Car Insurance and Registration Addresses Don’t Match?
If your car insurance address is different from your home address, then it could lead to various issues.
The biggest and most likely issue will occur when you are pulled over by a police officer.
Let’s say you are caught speeding. The police officer pulls you over and requests your license, registration, and proof of insurance.
If your vehicle registration information does not match your driver’s license or insurance documentation, then it’s a red flag to the police officer. It could suggest you are driving the vehicle illegally. Or, it could suggest you have insured the vehicle to a different address to avoid higher insurance premiums.
If you recently moved, then you could have a grace period. Most states have a 14 to 30 day grace period during which you can change your registered address. If you don’t change your address within that grace period and are caught, then you could face further penalties.
Your Physical Address Needs to Match your Registration and Insurance Address
Your registration address and insurance address should match. However, both of these addresses should also match your physical address, which is the place where you live.
Your insurance company needs to know your physical address because it uses that address to calculate premiums.
Certain ZIP codes have higher rates of hit-and-runs, vandalism, theft, accidents, and natural disasters than others. Based on the risk in your ZIP code, your insurance company will charge higher or lower rates.
Your addresses need to match because some people try to avoid the higher costs of certain ZIP codes. If you recently moved from the safe suburbs to a rougher neighborhood downtown, for example, then your car insurance premiums may double. Some drivers try to avoid this issue by using their old address (or, say, their parents’ address). This could save you money today – but it could lead to denied claims, penalties, and other issues in the future.
Mailing Address vs. Physical Address
In some cases, your mailing address and physical address are two different things. It’s possible you have a post office box, for example, at which you receive mail.
Or, some people use a different mailing address than their physical address for other reasons.
In this situation, your insurance company will ask for two addresses, including your mailing address and your physical address:
- Mailing Address: Your insurance company needs to know your mailing address to send paperwork. Your insurance company could mail bills, insurance policy documentation, and other paperwork to this address. Your mailing address will not impact your rates, and you can use any address in any state as your mailing address.
- Physical Address: Your insurance company needs to know your physical address to calculate insurance premiums. This is the address where your vehicle is parked most nights of the week. Your insurance company will use this address to calculate your insurance rates.
How Your Address Impacts Car Insurance Rates
Insurance companies aren’t being nosy: they use your address to calculate insurance premiums. Different ZIP codes can have vastly different risk – even within the same metro area.
Here are some of the ways your address can impact car insurance rates:
- Accident Rates: Some ZIP codes have higher risks of collisions and other traffic accidents than others. If you live in a ZIP code filled with traffic, complicated intersections, and traffic hazards, then you’ll pay more for car insurance.
- Population Density: ZIP codes with denser populations (like urban areas) tend to have higher insurance prices than ZIP codes with less dense populations (like rural areas). Population density often increases crime, accident risk, pedestrian collisions, and other incidents that impact risk.
- Theft, Vandalism, Break-ins, and Other Crime: Some ZIP codes have higher rates of crime than others. If you regularly park your car in a ZIP code with high rates of break-ins and theft, then you’ll pay higher car insurance rates than someone who parks a car in a ZIP code with low rates of break-ins and theft.
- Natural Disasters and Other Environmental Risks: Some ZIP codes are located in flood zones. Other ZIP codes have a high risk of forest fires. Insurance covers the cost of repairing or replacing your vehicle after a natural disaster. If your ZIP code has a higher risk of natural disasters, then you’ll pay more for car insurance than someone in a ZIP code with a low risk of natural disasters.
For all of these reasons, your car insurance company needs to know your specific address. It’s important for calculating specific car insurance prices.
Why Vehicle Registration Address Matters
Your vehicle registration address is your official address with the DMV. This is your official address in your state.
If you want to be a resident of a state, then you need to provide documentation proving you live in that state, including your specific location in that state.
To obtain a state-issued government ID, you need to provide proof of that address. This is the address that appears on your vehicle registration, driver’s license, and other documentation.
Vehicle registration addresses are important. When a vehicle is registered to a specific person or business, that person or business takes ownership of the vehicle and its liabilities. If the vehicle is in an accident or causes damage, then the person or business is liable.
Penalties for Driving Without Insurance
If your addresses do not match, then you might be accused of driving without car insurance – even though you technically have coverage.
Let’s say you buy liability insurance. You have valid car insurance for your address at 123 Main Street. A few months into your policy, you move to a new home at 456 1st Ave. You fail to update your vehicle registration or car insurance with your new address. A police officer pulls you over and asks where you are driving. You claim to be driving home to 456 1st Ave. Your vehicle registration and insurance, meanwhile, show your home as 123 Main Street. Because of this discrepancy, you could face fines or penalties, depending on your jurisdiction.
Similarly, if you need to make a claim with an incorrect address on your policy, then your insurer could deny your claim. Your insurer could claim you did not provide complete details and they were unable to assess risk, leading them to deny your claim.
Final Word on Car Insurance and Registration Address
Your car insurance and vehicle registration addresses need to match. If your addresses do not match, then you could face various penalties.
In most states, the named insured on your policy must match the name on your car insurance policy. Unless you have non-owner car insurance or a business auto insurance policy, your insurance address needs to match your registration address.
If you recently changed your address, contact your insurance company and the DMV to adjust your address as soon as possible. Failing to update your address could lead to serious consequences.