How likely am I to receive a penalty if I keep out of state plates and insurance for a lengthy amount of time when relocating to another state?

As usual you will receive lots of comments but the reality is none of us know for sure unless someone is a Texas Ranger, and we won’t be there to represent you either.


Additionally, legal advice–from people with unknown credentials–is usually worth exactly what someone paid for it.
In this case… nothing.


Thank you.

I wonder what the situation is with those people with out of state plates though. I also see a lot of them.

They could keep their insurance with an out of state address where they have family living. I think its easier for them to get away with that.

My situation will be different.

As an experiment, I went to the last step of finalizing the auto insurance online for a Texas address. They do ask for my drivers license number, but the system seems to be fine with me using my out of state license. I was one click away from purchasing. The system was going to let me purchase.

I think I should be fine doing it this way.

I wonder if the insurance company will wait until after the purchase to tell me I have to update with a Texas drivers license within 30 days or so in order to maintain valid insurance.

Why would you wait, when you could submit that query directly to your insurance company, rather than asking for the opinions of anonymous people who have no official or legal connection to your insurance company?


There are some potential upsides. A few months after I moved from another state to Calif I got a ticket for an illegal right hand turn. Hadn’t changes the plates yet. The officer however made a mistake and noted on the ticket that my car had a Calif license plate. Factual error on ticket, automatically dismissed.

A coworker had a British Columbia license plate on her car in Calif for years, never any complaint. She was careful to not park it on the street. One thing she had going for her, BC plates are similar in appearance to CA plates.

If OP’s current plates look much different than Texas plates and OP has to park vehicle on the street, OP should probably expect some complaints and fines. May well be less expensive to first thing pay a shop solve the emissions problem.

I have gone 10 years or more without being asked to every show my driver’s license or registration. I do have Calif plates with current registration tags. And my DL is current and valid.

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Thank you. Do you know if your co-worker’s auto insurance was in British Colombia or was it in California?

All of this would be very easy if I could just use my family’s address in my current state for my auto insurance, but I wont be able to do that.

Don’t know for certain, but I expect it was BC insurance.

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I want to weigh my options before calling the insurance company. I also don’t want to give them too much information which could mess things up for me.

I will eventually call them though. Thanks

Edit: typo

I hate to say it but actually my dil did that for a while after college. Her dad was not a stickler so leased a car in Ohio for four years use in Minnesota. I dunno about insurance but suspect it was in Ohio since I paid my sons in Minnesota. I cringed but nothing ever happened
Just between us though.

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Yours is a pretty common problem. One of my neighbor’s has a kid in college in another state, with one of the neighbor’s cars, and says it’s a constant battle about the license plates being from another state. Somefolks would say ideally the USA would have national license plates that could be used anywhere inside USA boundaries, but other’s would say that violates the principles of state’s rights. It’s a conundrum for sure. You think this has to do with why little to nothing ever gets accomplished by politicians these days? … lol .

It has been stated by two people that we may not be qualified to discuss this topic.

License plates and drivers licenses from any of the 50 states are valid in all the other states and also plates from Canada and Mexico. I forget the legal principle. Residency is another matter. So if people are being stopped they are probably checking residency.

It is not the insurance companies’ business to enforce the state laws. There are exemptions for military and students, nobody is going to investigate if you qualify for these. Also, you cannot be required to obtain a states drivers license if you only plan to stay 3 weeks.

If you are stopped for a moving violation the officer will ask for your drivers license and if this is your current address, the wrong answer might result in a ticket. Police ask everyone if this is their current address, every motorist to is required to update their address within 30 days.

I was stopped one week after moving to town, I told the officer I was on my way to a job interview, no problem. If you are employed, you qualify as a resident, 30 days to change registration.


I am not advocating out of state license and plates. I am not sure about enforcement. I in my handful of tickets over the years have never been asked is this your current address as I recall. One can do mail forwarding for a year so as not to have policy statements returned, or if one uses online billing how would the insurance company ever know? A car with valid plates and a matching state drivers license should not throw any flags as I do not know if there is a mechanism in place to check validity of address associated with a drivers license proof of occupancy at said address. If you are a renter there will be no recorded documents showing you live there I know of.

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I just spoke with an auto insurance rep. He did say something similar to you about companies not enforcing state laws.

However, he also said that if I move to Texas, change my auto insurance to Texas, but keep my current state’s registration/plates, the DMV of my current state of residence will see in their system that my car isnt insured.
He said they will fine me and possibly suspend my registration.


Good thing you contacted your insurer. Now you have real, useful information.


Can’t you maintain proof of insurance in your current state but use the Texas address? If you only stay in Texas for one month, there is no reason to make all of these transfers. If you go to a new insurance company, they will not provide proof of insurance for your former state.

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I also can’t speak for Texas but here in the smaller Northeast States “some genius” attempting what you’re proposing (to avoid higher taxes, insurance rates and/or inspection requirements) isn’t unknown and the cops/DMV’s have no sense of humor.

As Nevada mentioned, in a minor traffic stop or accident the first thing the cops will ask, while looking at the dates of your license and registration, “Is this your current address?”. A choice between significan fines or lying to a cop is not a good place to be in.
Next as your Ins. Rep mentioned if you don’t maintain insurance in my State the DMV will suspend your registration and immediately fine you $100 PER DAY from the time your local insurance lapsed until the day they recieve your tags.

As an alternative, it appears that if you fail a Texas emissions test you can get a waiver if you spend either $100 or $250 on emissions repairs.

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