If I Move to the City, Can I Keep My Parents’ Address in the Suburbs for My Car Insurance?

Last Updated on May 2, 2023

Drivers in the suburbs often pay cheaper rates for car insurance than drivers in big cities.

However, all car insurance companies require you to list your current address on your policy at all times.

Car insurance is about risk. Moving to a new address changes your risk, and car insurance companies may need to adjust rates. If your insurer discovers your car is parked at a new address when you listed an old address, your insurer could deny your claim.

Keep reading to find out everything you need to know about car insurance and address changes.

Your Insurer Needs to Know the Address Where You Currently Reside

Where is your car parked most nights of the week? Your car insurance company needs to know the answer to that question. If you fail to answer that question correctly, your insurer could deny your claim.

Whether you’re moving down the street or to a new state, your insurance company needs the address where you currently reside.

Car insurance premiums change when moving to a new address. Insurers consider your ZIP code, state insurance laws, local crime and accident rates, and other factors when calculating rates. If you use an old address in a safe neighborhood, then you could be paying inaccurate rates for car insurance, and your insurer may deny any future claims.

Yes, even if your parents still live at their old address in the suburbs and spend every weekend at their place, you cannot continue to use their old address after you move to the city. Your insurer could deny your claim. Or you could be charged with insurance fraud.

How Moving to the City Impacts Premiums

Moving to the city from the suburbs can impact car insurance premiums. In fact, moving down the street can impact car insurance premiums.

Location is one of the hundreds of factors insurers consider when calculating rates. Some of the reasons moving to the city from the suburbs may impact premiums include:

  • Cities may have higher traffic density than smaller towns and suburbs, leading to higher accident rates
  • Some cities have higher rates of vehicle theft, vandalism, and other crime, which could increase insurance premiums
  • You may need to park your car on the street in the city instead of a covered garage in the suburbs, increasing the risk of damage to your vehicle
  • Some suburbs are in different states than the city center; Overland Park, Kansas, for example, is in a different state than Kansas City, Missouri, despite being in the same metro area

Location-Specific Factors Insurers Consider When Calculating Rates

Why does moving to the city impact insurance premiums? Why can’t you just keep your old address? Is it really a big deal?

Yes, it’s a big deal. Your insurer needs to know your current address to accurately calculate rates. Depending on your location, your insurance could be as little as $500 per year or as much as $3,000 per year – even if the car and driver remain the same.

Some of the location-specific factors insurers consider include:

Local Crime Rates: If you have full coverage car insurance, then your insurer covers the cost of vandalism and the cost of replacing your vehicle after theft. That’s why insurers consider local crime rates. Many urban areas have higher crime rates than rural areas.

Local Accident Rates: Higher population density leads to greater traffic density, which means higher accident rates. People tend to drive into cities during the day and back into the suburbs at night, which can put added strain on roads. Insurers consider local accident rates because they must cover the cost of repairing or replacing your vehicle after an accident.

Risk of Natural Disasters & Other Accidents: Moving from the suburbs to the city could increase your risk of natural disasters. Some cities are below the water line or along the coast, for example, increasing the risk of losing your vehicle to a flood.

Local Insurance Laws: Insurers must abide by all local insurance laws – including federal, state, and local insurance laws. You could have moved states when moving from the suburbs to the city, drastically changing your insurance requirements.

Overall, the most important factor is traffic density. Areas with denser traffic and more people tend to have a higher risk of insurance claims than sparsely populated areas.

Students May Not Need to Change Addresses

Generally, your insurer needs to know about all address changes. However, students may be an exception.

If you are a full-time college student living away from home – say, moving to the city to go to school – then you may be able to keep your parents’ address on your car insurance policy. It’s still considered your permanent address.

Talk to your insurer to verify any potential address change requirements as a student.

Keeping an Old Address Can Lead to Denied Claims and Fraud Charges

Ultimately, keeping an old address on your policy is against the terms of your insurance policy. Your insurer needs to know the location where your vehicle is located most nights of the week. If you fail to accurately list this address on your policy, then you could face consequences.

The two biggest consequences of keeping your parents’ old address in the suburbs on your insurance after moving to the city include the following:

  • Denied insurance claims
  • Insurance fraud charges

You signed a contract with your insurer. Your insurer agreed to cover the value of your vehicle, and you agreed to accurately disclose all required information. Failing to disclose that information can allow your insurer to deny your claim, cancel your policy, or take action against you.

For all of these reasons and more, it’s a bad idea to keep your parents’ address in the suburbs after you move to the city.

Will I Pay More for Car Insurance in the City?

Generally, drivers in urban areas pay more for car insurance than drivers in rural areas or suburbs. However, that’s not always true. Sometimes, you’ll save money by moving to a new location. Depending on the factors above, your insurer could raise or lower rates after you move to the city.

Yes, Most Drivers Pay More for Car Insurance After Moving to the City

According to WalletHub, car insurance is generally cheaper in rural states than in urban states. WalletHub found the most densely-populated states paid significantly more for car insurance than the least densely-populated states.

The average driver in New Jersey, for example, pays $1,287 per year for full coverage car insurance, according to WalletHub. New Jersey is the most densely-populated state in the country. Other densely-populated states had similarly high insurance premiums, including Rhode Island ($887), Massachusetts ($565), Connecticut ($1,027), and Maryland ($1,069).

Meanwhile, drivers in rural, sparsely-populated states paid some of the cheapest average rates for car insurance. Drivers in Alaska pay just $543 per year for car insurance, on average, with Alaska being the most sparsely-populated state. Other sparsely-populated states have similarly cheap insurance premiums, including Wyoming ($274), Wisconsin ($418), Montana ($446), and North Dakota ($370).

However, Some Drivers Pay Less After Moving to the City

Drivers in cities tend to pay higher rates than drivers in rural areas. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll pay higher rates in all cities compared to all rural areas.

If you live in the suburbs of South Jersey, for example, and move to the city of Philadelphia, you could pay lower car insurance premiums because of the difference in state insurance laws.

New Jersey tends to have high car insurance premiums, while Pennsylvania tends to have low car insurance premiums. Even though you only moved a few miles from Cherry Hill to Kensington, you could pay lower rates for car insurance because of New Jersey’s no-fault insurance system and Pennsylvania’s tort-based insurance system.

Overall, car insurance premiums vary widely from ZIP code to ZIP code, from state to state, and from driver to driver. Population density is one of the hundreds of factors insurers consider when calculating rates.

Final Word – If I Move Out, Can I Keep My Parents’ Address for Car Insurance?

Moving to the city impacts car insurance premiums.

However, that doesn’t always mean higher rates. In many cases, moving to the city can lower premiums.

Some suburbs have high crime and accident rates, for example. Other cities are famously safe. Some suburbs are in flood zones with higher risks of natural disasters.

Regardless of whether premiums go up or down, you are required by law to inform your insurer of your current address – even if you’re moving from your parents’ address in the suburbs to a place in the city.

James Shaffer
James Shaffer James Shaffer is a writer for InsurancePanda.com and a well-seasoned auto insurance industry veteran. He has a deep knowledge of insurance rules and regulations and is passionate about helping drivers save money on auto insurance. He is responsible for researching and writing about anything auto insurance-related. He holds a bachelor's degree from Bentley University and his work has been quoted by NBC News, CNN, and The Washington Post.
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