Does a car insurance company check your address?

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Jessica Sautter is a Content Writer for with a Bachelor’s Degree from Eastern Michigan University in Elementary Education with a Major in Reading and a Minor in...

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Chris Harrigan has an economy degree from Limestone College and an MBA from Clemson University. He previously managed auto insurance claims for Enterprise Rent-A-Car. Currently, he is using his business and insurance expertise...

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Reviewed byChris Harrigan
Former Insurance Claims Manager

UPDATED: Jun 11, 2017

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Key takeaways...
  • Your address has a major bearing on how much you’ll pay for your auto insurance
  • The zip code where you live can affect your liability, comprehensive, and collision rates
  • If you live in a high-risk zip code, it means that property crime rates and claims rates are high in the area
  • Insurance companies don’t physically come to an insured address to verify you store your vehicle there
  • Some insurance companies will use advanced address software programs to verify that you’re being honest

When you give your insurance agent your address, you are giving them more than just a physical location where you receive mail.

Auto insurance agents ask applicants and existing policyholders to provide their addresses so that they can send mail to the customer and also so that they can see what area the insured property will be in for a majority of the time.

When you’re providing your address, it’s important to be honest. It’s tempting to use an address that receives favorable rates but it’s a risky practice as well.

Insurance agents might not come knocking at your door to verify you live where you say you do, but there are ways to verify that what you’re saying is true.

There are ways to save money legally! Enter your zip code into our free rate comparison tool and find the best price for the car insurance you need.

Why does your address change your rate?


Insurance companies have to consider how much you’re exposed to risk when they are setting an adequate and personalized rate.

Some of the factors that are used involve exposure to risk and other factors involve how risky you are as a driver. As far as your address is concerned, it’s all about where your car is parked overnight and how exposed it is to potential loss.

You might think that claims can happen anywhere, but you are prone to file more claims when you live in certain high-risk zip codes.

There are few reasons why a driver in one zip code might file more claims than a driver in another. Here are the common factors that are considered when rating the risk in a zip code:

  • The rate of vehicle thefts reported in the area for the year
  • The rate of property vandalism reported in the area for the year
  • The accident rate and claims rate reported in the area
  • The average cost of an auto insurance claim after it’s settled

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What is the difference between a mailing address and garaging address?

You can put two different addresses on your auto insurance policy. The garaging address on the police is the one that is rated. When you change that physical address, there’s a good chance that your premiums will be influenced by the endorsement.

Your mailing address is only recorded as the place where the named insured receives mail. When you change where documents are mailed, it doesn’t change your rate at all.

Does your registration have to match your insurance?


You have to insure your vehicle in the same name that it’s registered in. Since it’s the legal owner that has the sole burden of satisfying state insurance laws, you can’t ask a friend to insure the car and expect the DMV to be satisfied.

If the names don’t match, the DMV will reject the proof that’s provided and you’ll be treated like an uninsured driver.

Motor vehicle agencies aren’t quite as picky with addresses but some states could reject electronic insurance verification when all of the details don’t match.

If you list a different mailing address on your registration then you have provided to your insurer, check to see if this will affect your good standing with the DMV.

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Do insurance agents check your address?

Sometimes, when you’re applying for an insurance product, the insurance agent will go to your home. They might inspect the property or meet with you to get your signatures.

The auto insurance marketplace isn’t quite so personal. Most business can be conducted in the following ways:

  • on the phone
  • by email
  • by logging into an online account

When you first sign up for auto insurance, all of the documents that reference your coverage will be sent to you in the mail. Some companies have paperless types of programs in place to reduce waste.

If you opt to go paperless, you’ll get your documents online. No matter what you choose, your agent won’t come to your home just to verify your giving the right garaging address.

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What are the highest cost zip codes?


It sounds extreme that an applicant would go as far as to list someone else’s address to save money on their premiums. As extreme as it all sounds, it’s not a crazy premise when you consider how much the average driver pays in the highest cost zip codes.

Here’s an example of zip codes you don’t want to live in because the rates in these areas are so high:

  • Detroit, MI (ZIP 48227): $5109
  • Brooklyn, NY (ZIP 11226): $3877
  • Philadelphia, PA (ZIP 19132): $2,760
  • Providence, RI (ZIP 02903): $2749
  • New Orleans, LA (ZIP 70117): $2542

How do auto insurance companies verify addresses?

Since an auto insurance company could go from collecting just $800 per year from a customer to $2000+ because of their zip code, it’s crucial that there’s some sort of checks and balances system in place.

Luckily for insurance companies, there’s a system in place that uses advanced technology to determine how often a car is in a specific zip code.

The system that more and more auto insurers are using is called GarageConfirm. It’s an advanced tool that VeriRisk developed to help confirm the validity of an address provided and a commute.

Towers sight different vehicles in an area and report how often they are in that zip code. If it looks like your data is showing hits in a different area, that could be considered phantom garaging.

Giving a phantom garaging address is considered fraud and it can void your coverage if proven.

If you’re moving to a new address, you should prepare yourself for how that move is going to impact your insurance rates. Drivers who are moving to another state have to do more than just change an address, they have to change their entire policy.

Before you start comparing premiums, gather all of your documents. Once you have everything that you need, use our online rate quote tool and you can get instant quotes today.

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