If car insurance is priced based on your ZIP code, can you get a policy without an address?
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If you do not have a permanent address, obtaining car insurance coverage can be tricky. Your location is relied upon by car insurance companies as a major rating factor, as it allows them to gauge the risks posed by the area in which you drive most often: the density, number of traffic incidents, and weather can all contribute to this calculation. Without a fixed address, insurance companies can deem you overly risky, and ultimately uninsurable. Let’s explore further why your address is important and how you can find reasonably priced auto insurance.
Some consumers feel it is discriminatory to include permanent address as a requirement of obtaining insurance. From an insurance company's perspective, their reliance on this data point has to do with assessing risk.
An insurance company will use previous claims and population information for your ZIP code to price your policy. Without a fixed location the vehicle, it’s difficult for an insurance company to predict the kind of risk to which they'll be exposed.
See below the difference between two ZIP codes in Houston, Texas. Even though ZIP code is the only unique factor between the two auto insurance applicants, there’s a difference of nearly $300 in car insurance rates.
Your ability to get insurance coverage without a permanent address depends on a few considerations. If you’re temporarily without an address because you’re waiting to move into a new apartment or home, you should be able to get a policy. If you’ve signed a lease and are simply waiting to move in, many insurance providers will provide a quote tailored to your new residence.
If you’re living temporarily with a friend, you can try to get an insurance policy for the address of your friend. Because that’s where the vehicle will be parked, that counts as your listed address. Once you move to your permanent home, you should update this address.
In order to register your vehicle in many US states, you’ll need proof of insurance coverage. If you’re homeless or living in your vehicle, car insurance can be tough to get. From an insurance company's perspective, a client living in their vehicle poses considerable risk. If you’re homeless and in need of car insurance, keep your vehicle at a friend’s house and use that address for your quote. It's critical that you park the vehicle at this location when it’s not in use.
In the event your insurer discovers you’re not keeping the vehicle at the listed address, they can drop your coverage or deny coverage in the event of a claim.
Individual circumstances surrounding auto insurance without an address may vary. Consult our FAQs for additional information on getting car insurance quotes without a permanent address.
This can be tricky until you’re living in your new place. Just like your driving record or credit score, your address is a major insurance rating factor. Without a permanent address, an insurance company may view you as a liability. If you are only living in a location temporarily, and the insurance company is aware of that, they won’t issue a policy because of what they call a “transient risk." Since there is no lease or rental agreement where you are currently staying, there is nothing keeping you in that location for an extended period of time. This creates too much risk for the insurance company to issue a policy. If you plan on moving into your new place within 30 days, most insurance companies will allow you to use that address to start a policy before you actually move in. If that doesn’t work, wait until you have signed your lease agreement.
Although it’s frustrating, it's not considered discriminatory or illegal for car insurance companies to price policies using a home address. Car insurance companies rely on location as a primary rating factor, assessing the number of accidents in the area, the location's crime rate, and even the average cost of the vehicles in the immediate area. Many car insurance companies do not want to cover a vehicle being used as a home, as it could increase the likelihood of a claims payout. Frustration is understandable, but insurance providers base their business models on projecting risk.
This depends on which state you’re moving to. States may allow a grace period for registration — 30 days, in many cases. Check with your new state’s motor vehicle department or DMV (and don't forget to update your driver's license). Find your residence in your new state before shopping for auto insurance. Because you’re moving out of state, you’ll need an entirely new policy to match your new state’s insurance laws. After you have the proper insurance, you can register your vehicle.
The Zebra is not an insurance company. We publish data-backed, expert-reviewed resources to help consumers make more informed insurance decisions.
The Zebra’s insurance content is written and reviewed for accuracy by licensed insurance agents.
The Zebra’s insurance content is not subject to review or alteration by insurance companies or partners.
The Zebra’s editorial team operates independently of the company’s partnerships and commercialization interests, publishing unbiased information for consumer benefit.
The auto insurance rates published on The Zebra’s pages are based on a comprehensive analysis of car insurance pricing data, evaluating more than 83 million insurance rates from across the United States.