Does Your Car Insurance Travel With You?

Family reunions, weekend getaways, business conferences… Road trips are a quintessential part of American culture. Unfortunately, traffic jams, detours, fender benders, and accidents are a common part of driving long distances. Here’s what you need to know about your car insurance when you travel out of state.

Does My Car Insurance Protect Me When I Travel Out of State?

The simple answer – Yes.

If you meet the minimum coverage requirements within your home state then your policy will cover you across the entire United States. Here’s an example of how this works.

Scenario:

You and your friends all live in Tennessee and decide to go hiking in the Appalachian mountains for fall break. You leave from the Smokey Mountains National Park in Tennessee and drive the Blue Ridge Parkway through North Carolina and Virginia. Halfway through North Carolina, a deer jumps across the road and causes a head-on collision with opposing traffic.

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Thankfully, no one is injured and the police are on their way, but now what? Your car insurance policy meets the minimum coverage requirements in your home state of Tennessee, but it does not meet North Carolina’s minimum limits… North Carolina requires drivers to have bodily injury liability coverage of $30K per person and $60K per accident. Tennessee only requires $25K per person and $50K per accident.

Good news – “In most cases, your auto insurance will actually rise to meet the minimum limits of the state you are currently in (if that state’s minimum limits are higher).” – DMV.org

What this means:

If you have car insurance in Tennessee, even though the minimum requirement is $50K, your policy will rise to meet North Carolina’s minimum of $60K at no extra cost. However, if another state’s minimum requirements are less than your state’s, your coverage remains unchanged – it will not lower to meet the limits of a state with lesser requirements.

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If the state requires a certain type of coverage that is not required in your home state, many insurance companies extend that coverage temporarily for the specific incident.

What if I’m driving out of the country?

Some policies may cover traveling north through Canada, but most do not cover driving through Mexico. Consult your agent if you’re considering driving out of the country.

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What if I’m moving to another state?

If you are permanently moving out of state, then your car insurance may temporarily cover you during the initial move. However, once you’ve finished moving, you will need to update your policy in your new home state.

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If you have questions about car insurance coverage, contact McInturff, Milligan & Brooks via the form below or at (423) 639-5171. We can help you figure out what is best for you.

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