Whether you’re relocating for a job, retiring to warmer weather or just looking for a fresh start, moving to a new state can be exhilarating. You’ll probably be overwhelmed with packing, organizing, finding somewhere to call home and, hardest of all, saying goodbye to loved ones. With such a huge to-do list, it’s easy to overlook an important piece of the puzzle: your car.
But some simple planning ahead will help you in the long haul. Below are a few things you need to do with your ride when moving to a new state.
Check Into Transportation Options
How are you getting to your new home? If you’re driving, your current insurance should cover you across state lines. But it’s a good idea to see if your auto insurance company offers roadside assistance. A breakdown in an unfamiliar area or on the side of the highway can be dangerous and is best left for the experts to handle.
If you’re shipping your car, check to see if the shipping company offers insurance in case of an accident along the way, or take a look at your auto insurance policy. If you have comprehensive coverage, they’ll likely cover you for any in-transit damage. But if you’re unsure, don’t hesitate to call your insurer and ask what coverage you’ll have while your car’s in transit.. Also, keep in mind that shipping a car can take up to two weeks (depending on distance), so you’ll want to coordinate alternate transportation in the meantime.
Inform Your Car Insurance Company of Your Move
Let your insurance provider know about your relocation as soon as possible, ideally around two months prior (or as early as possible). If they offer coverage in your new state, you can stick with them, though they may need to cancel your old policy and create a new one based on the coverage requirements in your new state. Based on the driving risks and requirements in your new location, you might want to add or remove coverages, or adjust some of your limits. Not sure what you’ll need in your new state? There are plenty of online tools to help you find just the right amount of coverage.
Pack Your Car Appropriately
Once you’ve pared down and organized your stuff, figure out what is okay to pack in the moving truck and what needs to go in your ride. Hold on to precious valuables – things like jewelry, electronics or fragile heirlooms that require special care.
Keep in mind though, that you’ll want to have homeowners or renters insurance in place to cover these items while you’re moving. Say your car gets stolen while parked at a hotel on the road. The items inside the car won’t be covered by your car insurance, so you’ll want reliable property insurance to give you peace of mind. After all, a car full of expensive items is like winning the lottery for a vandal or thief.
Keep important documents like your social security card, birth certificate and passport easily accessible. If you’re starting a new job, you’ll need these on your first day. It’s also smart to pack an emergency bag in case your stuff gets held up in transit. Think the essentials: a few changes of clothes, shoes and towels. Additionally, pack a box with a couple of cups, forks, knives and bowls. They won’t take up much space in your car, and you’ll be glad you have them on hand while you wait for the rest of your stuff.
Spend Some Quality Time at the DMV
Before you settle into your new home, head to the nearest DMV to get a new driver’s license, plates and registration. Requirements for transferring your driver’s license vary from state to state, but most ask for your social security number, proof of residency and an extra form of ID.
Check your state’s website for specifics — some states require new residents to take care of business within a certain timeframe. For example, if you’re moving to California, you must get a California driver’s license within 10 days of your move. Unfortunately, available appointments at the DMV can sometimes run a few weeks out, so it’s best to schedule one before you hit the road. While all states are different, it’s worth looking into these requirements earlier than later.
Enjoy the Ride
Moving is stressful, no matter whether you’re relocating from NYC to LA or a couple miles across state lines. But simply planning ahead and prepping your car can help you avoid major headaches and hassle. If you’re about to take that leap, good luck and try to enjoy the ride!
Stephanie Braun is a director of Auto Product Management at Esurance, where she is responsible for designing the company’s auto product lines and managing telematics programs like DriveSense Mobile. Stephanie has 11 years of experience in the industry, focused primarily on product design and launch, pricing, and product innovation. To learn more about Esurance’s auto insurance policies, click here.