If you’re moving to a new state, don’t fool yourself into thinking laws and regulations will be the same as the state you’re leaving. Moving a car across state lines can present a truckload of challenges.
Although it’s easy to assume laws are uniform across the U.S., the reality is the country consists of 50 states—each with its own laws and regulations. Those differences are readily apparent when it comes to drivers’ licenses and vehicle registration.
For example, in New Jersey, new residents can take their time because they have 60 days to apply for a driver’s license and register their vehicle. However, in Texas, you have to act quicker, because you have only 30 days to register your car.
If you’re going to California, you can’t waste any time because it’s 20 days for registration and 10 days for a driver’s license.
And if you think any of those examples are too aggressive, consider Michigan: the Mitten State requires you to “immediately” apply for a new license and vehicle registration upon moving to the state or obtaining a new job there.
Moving a car to the Motor City, therefore, isn’t so convenient.
When considering the license deadline in your new state, remember states vary in their requirements for new residents. Some require you to pass a written test; others, just a vision test. Make sure to apply as soon as possible just in case you fail a test.
Also keep in mind that auto insurance requirements also vary by state. Property damage minimums can be $5,000 in some states and up to $25,000 in others. Bodily injury minimums can vary from $10,000 to $50,000 depending on the locale.
Some states have no-fault insurance requirements, like Michigan, and if you’re not familiar with the difference, you need to get up to speed quickly just in case.
You don’t want to find out too late you’re not covered properly in your new state. Moving a car and knowing the new state’s laws is very serious business.
All state departments of motor vehicles have information for new residents, including insurance and emissions requirements. If you need a pointer on where to do for more information when moving a car to a new state, try this handy guide from USA.gov.