Is my car insurance this much lower now that I've moved to a new state?
November 9, 2004 8:31 AM   Subscribe

Holy crap. Someone pinch me, or at least tell me my car insurance really isn't this lower in a new state. (more inside)

I recently moved from New Jersey to Virginia. In Jersey, I lived with my family, where a parent is the legal owner of my car and I'm a driver on her policy. My personal rate was about $2,000 a year, and that's with benefits of being part of a long-term 20-year member's policy.

I'm looking into buying the car from the parent (therefore making it mine, officially), registering the car in Virginia, and getting insurance down there. My driving record isn't perfect- one speeding ticket, and two accidents over five years, the most recent unfortunately being declared "my fault" because the cop filing the report was, to my understanding, mentally retarded (an 18-wheeler cut me off and crushed the right side of my car; the cop decided I drove into him. I'm not kidding.)

Regardless, I did one of those online rate quote thingies... AIG Direct gave me an expected "well I'm screwed because of my record" quote of about $3,800 a year, but Geico and a few places I never heard of quoted me around $1,400... and that's with my record, and with 23-year-old me as the owner of my own car.

I've never experienced auto insurance outside the financial hell that is New Jersey... are those lower end numbers feasable, or did I seriously enter a number wrong somewhere on the form? Do any DC-area folks know offhand the average car insurance rates?

As a secondary question, I actually was wondering if, legally, VA would even know about incidents from NJ. If I'm a (technically) new driver in VA with a newly-registered car with my first personal insurance policy, would a VA-based insurance company even know? Or does that carry state-to-state? I know some states don't report traffic violations, but not sure about accident/insurance info.
posted by XQUZYPHYR to Work & Money (15 answers total)
Also, if relevant, as per VA law I have already surrendered my NJ license and recieved a VA one; hence my "technically new driver in VA" reference.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 8:38 AM on November 9, 2004

yup, it's totally real. NJ has the worst rates in the country, so much so that most insurance companies won't insure there except under completely different companies for liability reasons.

i moved from NJ to FL, where it's even more pronounced. i pay like, 900 dollars a year to have better than average full coverage, and in NJ it'd cost me like 2500-2600.

yes, legally, VA would know about incidents from NJ. since the mid 90s all of the states share incident data. because of that, there's a good chance that your insurance company would find out...though it might take a year or two.
posted by taumeson at 9:00 AM on November 9, 2004

Car insurance in Jersey is mad expensive. I don't know if this has changed, but back in the mid 90s when I lived there you couldn't even get the cutrate companies like Geico.
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 9:01 AM on November 9, 2004

I moved from Manhattan, Kansas to Chicago when I was in my early 20's. My car insurance more than doubled, even staying with the same company, since my risk level for accidents and crime went way up. (They figured my rate using my specific zip code, btw, so my neighborhood mattered.) When I moved away from Chicago, my rates went back down. If you're going from a high risk area to low risk, I think your numbers might make sense. If you're moving to DC, though, I can't image that's "safer" than New Jersey.
posted by donnagirl at 9:02 AM on November 9, 2004

I had the same drop when I moved from rural Georgia to the area you're in now. Half the cost for twice the coverage. Cool, huh?
posted by MrMoonPie at 9:26 AM on November 9, 2004

obligatory boast: BC's quasi-monopoly automobile insurance company (ICBC) would be charging you... ooh, about C$600/year. This assumes you had reached the 17yr safe-driving discount and had only one at-fault accident; the speeding ticket counts for nada.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:36 AM on November 9, 2004

donnagirl: I live in Virginia, not DC, so I'm sure that's a big factor in the lower price.

fff: I've had much better reasons to move to Canada, if I wanted to I'd have moved there by now. ;)

I guess what made me curious was the broad range the companies quoted me. AIG direct quoted me almost what NJ would charge me- nearly $4000 a year- while Geico came to around $1500. I know that my tickets and accidents increase my rate and I just have to accept that, but I'd really like to know why there's a $2500 difference between companies when I gave them the same information about my accidents, tickets, driving experience, etc.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 9:57 AM on November 9, 2004

Let me tell you, it hurt when I moved from MA to NJ. Your quote is definitely believable.
posted by Songdog at 10:45 AM on November 9, 2004

I guess what made me curious was the broad range the companies quoted me.

It happens. Last month I got quotes from six companies. There were no identifiable variables; same coverage, no accidents or tickets, long driving record. Yet the highest quote was 90% more than the cheapest. The others were relatively evenly distributed, skewing a bit toward the lower end.
posted by nakedcodemonkey at 10:54 AM on November 9, 2004

Didn't want to hijack the thread, but it seems the answer has come up.. so.. how does California compare? I might be moving there and I want to get a feel for how crazy it's going to be.
posted by wackybrit at 10:58 AM on November 9, 2004

Depends where in California. I'm in LA county, and I pay about $1200/year for pretty standard coverage on a brand new car. My record's clean as a whistle, though, and that rate includes a discount for getting renter's insurance from the same company. You could try some of the online quote generators with various zip codes. I had a good user interface experience with the AIS quote tool. They didn't give me the best price, but they were pretty close.
posted by mr_roboto at 11:11 AM on November 9, 2004

DC's a LOT more expensive than VA.
posted by callmejay at 12:30 PM on November 9, 2004

Car insurance is generally based on how much public liability the state requires you to have. As far as I've figured out, in Michigan at least, for the prices for someone who's never got in an accident, you're paying enough that you could wreck someone else's car every five years, pay for it out of pocket, and come out ahead. Of course, if you ever got to the point where you WERE wrecking someone's car every five years, you'd pay several times that much, so it's pretty much a total scam that flourishes only on account of the fact that the government requires it.
posted by dagnyscott at 12:57 PM on November 9, 2004

FWIW, I recently moved from the 'burbs to Minneapolis, and my premium went up about 15%.
posted by bhayes82 at 2:30 PM on November 9, 2004

NJ and MA are the two worst states to insure your automobile.

As mentioned before, most insurance companies don't even bother playing the game, and the ones that are still there are fighting against consumer groups that claim (rightfully so) that they are being completely gouged.

Geico, which has some of the lowest car insurance rates around, doesn't offer its services in two states. Guess which ones those are?

It's absolutely criminal. I lived in NJ, then moved to MA, and now live in Nebraska. It's a whole other world out here.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 2:40 PM on November 9, 2004

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