Moving to a new state? Here's how to update your vehicle information
Last updated: March 2023
Moving to a different state can be an exciting time in your life. But, while you're getting ready to explore all that your new state has to offer, don't forget that there are some important tasks you need to take care of to help ensure the entire transition goes smoothly. Some of those tasks are car-related and include updating your driver's license and vehicle registration to your new home state. Not sure where to start? This moving checklist for your car can help:
1. Update your auto insurance policy
First, start thinking about securing an auto insurance policy in your new state. While each state's deadline for completing this task varies, you should try to complete it as soon as possible. It may be helpful to start looking into this prior to your move, so you're aware of any potential deadlines or implications relating to the switch.
A good place to start may be with your current insurance provider. You should alert your insurance provider of your move and consider asking if they are licensed to sell insurance in your new state. If they are, and you decide to remain with that company, they should be able to help update your policy. If your insurance provider is not licensed in your new state, you may want to start requesting and comparing auto insurance quotes from other companies. You should aim to have a new policy prior to canceling your existing one to help you avoid a potential lapse in coverage.
Whether you need to update your current policy or find a new insurance provider, get prepared by gathering some documents, such as your current policy's declaration page and driver's licenses for those within your household that drive the vehicle. This may help the process go more smoothly.
2. Get a new driver's license
The process and deadline for acquiring a new driver's license varies by state, so first and foremost, be sure to check your state's requirements. Some may require you to obtain a new driver's license immediately upon establishing residency in the state, while others may offer a grace period. For example, Michigan's Department of State says new residents are required to update their driver's license immediately after moving into the state. On the other hand, Tennessee's Department of Safety and Homeland Security states that new residents have a 30-day window to complete the process.
When you're ready to update your license, you'll need to bring some identification and documents to your local department of motor vehicles (DMV):
- A form of identification: This may include your current driver's license or a state-issued ID.
- Proof of state residency: A copy of a lease or mortgage agreement, current pay stub or utility bill all qualify in Tennessee, for example, as long as it lists the resident's home address in the state.
- Social Security number: Bringing a physical copy of your Social Security card may be a good idea.
Keep in mind that your new state may require other documents to get a new license. They may also require that you to retake a written or vision test, or even a driving test, to obtain your new license. It'd be a good idea to confirm this process, along with any needed documents, with your local DMV.
3. Transfer your car's title
Some states might require you to update your vehicle's title with your state's transportation authority. After getting a new driver's license, you'll need to visit a titling office to update your car's title, which proves ownership of the vehicle, notes The Balance.
When you're ready to transfer the title, verify the paperwork needed to do so. Some states, such as Ohio, may also require that your car passes an emissions test prior to titling and registering your vehicle, according to the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency. While requirements vary by state, Georgia's Department of Revenue states the following documents are needed to transfer a car's title:
- Driver's license: It needs to be issued in your new state, so be sure to update your license first.
- Current vehicle title: Or, if your car is not paid off, information for the lienholder may suffice.
- Vehicle registration certificate: Bring a copy of your vehicle's registration from your old state. You will likely need this for the next step as well (updating your vehicle's registration).
4. Complete license plate registration
Lastly, you'll likely need to get a new license plate for your vehicle. Be sure to check with your new state on their specific process and fees to complete the vehicle registration task. For example, Illinois gives new residents 30 days to apply for a new vehicle title and registration, according to CyberDriveIllinois.com. You may also want to confirm local disposal rules for old license plates, as you may be required to return them.
Researching and planning ahead for these car-related tasks may help alleviate some stress that comes with a big move. Be sure to check your state-specific requirements before completing these tasks to help ensure you have everything you need for a smooth vehicle transition.