Can you use a PO Box address for car insurance?

No, you can't use a P.O. Box for car insurance. A P.O. box can only be used as a mailing address. Your address for car insurance must be where you live since that's how rates are determined. The difference in car insurance rates by ZIP code can cost you an extra $100 a month. Enter your ZIP code below to start comparing auto insurance rates in your neighborhood.

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Tonya Sisler has a Bachelor’s Degree from the University of South Carolina in Journalism and has worked for 15+ years in management. She has also completed a proofreading certification and is currently a professional writer.

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Brad Larson has been in the insurance industry for more than a dozen years. He started out as a claims adjuster for a national carrier. He has since switched to the agency side of the business. Brad is licensed in all P&C lines.

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Reviewed by Brad Larsen
Licensed Auto Insurance Agent

UPDATED: Oct 22, 2020

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Things to know...

  • Using a PO box for a mailing address is generally acceptable
  • PO boxes, private mailboxes, or other alternative addresses are not acceptable as physical residence addresses on a policy
  • Policyholders untruthful about their physical address run the risk of voiding the policy and facing civil and criminal penalties
  • Comparison shopping may lead to finding honest discounts and savings

Can I use a PO box for my car insurance? Do I have to use a physical address for car insurance?

Using the PO box for personal adds convenience and security to the receipt of mail. Knowing safely delivered letters remain at the post office reduces concerns about unattended mail in a door slot.

There are a couple of different ways to acquire a PO box. One way is in person at the post office or mailing facility. You can even get a premium post office box, which allows the company to sign for items for you.

Can you get a PO box online? Yes, you can even sign up for PO boxes online. 

Other box holders might not even currently possess a permanent address. The PO box provides a consistent mailing location for these persons.

If you are looking for car insurance that’s cheap, your PO box address won’t help you to get car insurance discounts. Signing up for car insurance without a permanent address can be tricky.

Additional responsibilities do exist for PO box holders when purchasing auto insurance. Auto insurance companies necessitate customers to follow certain residency requirements when buying and maintaining a policy.

As such, the use of a PO box with an auto insurance company is limited.

Each car insurance company will determine their rates differently. Where you live might cause higher rates with one company, but not with another. The best way to find cheap car insurance rates is to compare quotes.

Enter your ZIP now to start getting quotes using your physical address for car insurance.

Using a PO Box for Car Insurance

Can you use a PO box as an address for car insurance? How do I know which address to use for car insurance?

The PO box should be perfectly acceptable as a mailing address. A mailing address refers to the physical location the insurance company sends correspondence.

The PO box or a private mailbox (PMB), however, cannot be used as a permanent address — the actual address in which the policyholder resides — in order to purchase a policy. So, the policyholder must provide a permanent residence address along with a mailing address.

While a PO box or any other alternative address can only be used to receive mail, providing an inaccurate resident address creates potentially serious problems.

Luckily, insurance companies won’t accept a PO box as a permanent address for obvious reasons. The PO box clearly is not a street address. Did you know that where you live affects your car insurance rates?

Passing off a private mailbox as a permanent residence is possible, if ill-advised since a PMB is located at a third-party business’ street address. Regardless, claiming a PMB as a “real” address can be constituted as car insurance fraud.  What is car insurance fraud and how common is it?

Watch this video to learn more about insurance fraud and why your address is important,

New auto insurance customers might be a bit perplexed at all the emphasis on street addresses.

Why do the insurance companies put so much emphasis on the residence and physical address locations?

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Location Considerations and Car Insurance

In order to establish a specific rate for an insurance policy, an insurance company takes quite a few factors into consideration. Some of these factors include:

  • Prior claims history
  • Driving history
  • Credit score
  • Permanent residence of the policyholder
  • Location of the vehicle

Certain locations come with a greater chance of damage or losses with a vehicle. Therefore, the insurance company incurs more risk insuring the vehicle. Premium prices go up as a result. Granted, comparison shopping could cut down on costs no matter where an applicant lives.

As an example of how your address can affect your car insurance rates, let’s look at the average annual rates for car insurance in Miami, Florida.

Average Annual Car Insurance Rates in Miami, Florida
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Car insurance rates can go up by $100 a month, just based on what zip code you live in Miami. This just goes to show you how important where you live is when car insurance rates are calculated.

When applying for auto insurance, customers must provide an accurate permanent location. At any point the customer moves, he/she must inform the auto insurance company of the change. Otherwise, coverage might not be there when needed.

Persons who acquire lower insurance rates due to providing a false address may very well void their policies. Providing a false address can be intentional or unintentional, but the result can be the same. A policy could be voided.

Disastrous Consequences of The Wrong Address For Car Insurance

The following scenario reveals the disastrous consequences of not providing a correct residential address.

After causing a major auto accident, the driver at-fault likely will be sued. Auto liability insurance should cover losses related to any resultant lawsuit.

During the insurance investigation, however, it is discovered the permanent address listed on the customer’s policy is not accurate. He/she used a PO box mailing address to hide a false residence claim in a cost-cutting scheme.

Such material misrepresentation on the insurance application/contract could very well void the policy.

Once voided, the policy no longer exists meaning the insurance company has no legal obligation to pay.

At this point, the insured becomes personally responsible for all financial losses associated with the accident. As bad as the resultant civil consequences are, criminal consequences may follow.

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The Insurance Fraud Issue

According to the Insurance Information Institute, giving false information to an insurance company can be construed as fraud. A false address on an insurance application may even lead to misdemeanor charges in certain states.

The FBI estimates that insurance fraud costs over $40 billion a year. In Pennsylvania, providing false information on an insurance application constitutes a misdemeanor of the first degree.

Filing a claim for an insurance policy based on false information could be worse. Imagine an insurance company issuing a $10,000 payout only to discover the insured party consistently lied about his/her permanent address all throughout the proceedings.

He/she may be looking at felony fraud charges and serious civil fines.

Since insurance companies take the insured at his/her word and no physical visit to the insured’s location takes place, some choose to lie.

A few may even claim to live in a different state to avoid higher premiums. Unwise cost-cutting strategies create legal traps and hazards. With legitimate car insurance discounts and cost-saving options available, customers do not need to make false statements.

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Special Circumstances and Moving

Not everyone maintains a permanent residence, though. The insured may rely on a PO box because he/she moves from place to place on a frequent basis. Anyone in this situation could simply inform the insurance company of a new residence each time the location changes.

The mailing address can stay the same, but the current residential address and location of the car should be updated.

What about those with no address who actually live in their car? Is a PO box free if you aren’t financially able to afford one? Direct any questions about this scenario to the insurance company and state DMV.

No matter what the specific situation is, inform the insurance company to find out how to get car insurance without a permanent address or how to input the PO box address if you do not have a permanent address.

Ask for advice and always be truthful and forthcoming. Doing so could prevent any loss of coverage or legal woes.

Follow the Rules

Insurance contracts constitute an agreement between two parties. The insured and the insurance company must follow the rules and requirements of the contract.

Take nothing including personal information such as an address for granted because the insurance policy’s coverage may be jeopardized.

Save money the legal way. Find the best rate for car insurance by entering your ZIP into our free quote tool below to compare quotes based on your address.

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