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Vehicle Registered in One State, Garaged in Another: Which Rates Apply?

An insured owns a vehicle that is registered in Florida but permanently garaged at his second home in Wisconsin.
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vehicle registered in one state, garaged in another: which rates apply?

Q: An insured owns a vehicle that is registered in Florida but permanently garaged at his second home in Wisconsin. Which state's rates would apply to the vehicle, Florida or Wisconsin? The insured does not want to retitle the vehicle in Wisconsin.

Response 1: Underwriters typically apply the rate of where the vehicles are garaged and used. You said it is “permanently" garaged in Wisconsin so, typically, those rates apply. 

Sometimes underwriters ask about the amount of time the policyholder is at the primary versus secondary residence and then use the location where they spend the majority of time in applying the rate. Sometimes they use the highest rated location without regard to duration. Some insurers ask that the vehicle be registered where it is permanently garaged. 

Give the underwriter the facts and you will learn the answer.

Response 2: It doesn't matter what the insured wants to do or not; it matters what the carrier and state require. Put it in writing today to the customer. I lived in one place where the town issued a $500 fine for not having a new plate within 30 days of residency.

Response 3: There are two issues: The Wisconsin laws on licensing and insuring vehicles located there, and your duty to disclose information to your carrier. The first is resolved by asking the Wisconsin motor vehicle office whether the title and license need to be changed because the vehicle is permanently used in that state. 

The second is a memo to the underwriter disclosing the usage of the vehicle. The results will show what you need to do.

Response 4: The garaging location is where it should be rated. Since the vehicle is permanently there it needs coverage that complies with that state. The insured should check with the state of Wisconsin, because it may need to be titled there since it's permanently located there. 

This question was originally submitted by an agent through the Big “I" Virtual University's (VU) Ask an Expert service, with responses curated from multiple VU faculty members. Answers to other coverage questions are available on the VU website. If you need help accessing the website, request login information.

This article is intended for general informational purposes only, and any opinions expressed are solely those of the author(s). The article is provided “as is" with no warranties or representations of any kind, and any liability is disclaimed that is in any way connected to reliance on or use of the information contained therein. The article is not intended to constitute and should not be considered legal or other professional advice, nor shall it serve as a substitute for obtaining such advice. If specific expert advice is required or desired, the services of an appropriate, competent professional, such as an attorney or accountant, should be sought.

Friday, August 25, 2023
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