Can you use a PO Box address for car insurance?

Unfortunately you cannot use a PO Box for car insurance. The address that your auto insurance provider wants on file is where you currently live, so they can calculate your auto insurance rates accordingly.

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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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Insurance Writer Tonya Sisler

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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Licensed Auto Insurance Agent Brad Larsen

UPDATED: Jun 22, 2022

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Things to know...

  • You can only use a PO box for a mailing address
  • 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

Using a 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.

PO box holders may not even have a permanent address, choosing to use the PO box as their means to acquire their mail.

If you’re wondering whether or not you can use a PO box for car insurance, unfortunately the answer will be no. You must have a physical address to supply to your provider. Each car insurance company will determine their rates differently. Where you live might cause higher rates with one company, but not with another. This is why ultimately using a PO box with an auto insurance company is impossible.

Signing up for car insurance without a permanent address can be tricky, since there will be additional responsibilities for PO box holders when purchasing auto insurance. Auto insurance companies necessitate customers to follow certain residency requirements when buying and maintaining a policy.

If you are looking for car insurance that’s cheap, your PO box address sadly won’t help you to get any breaks on what you pay or any car insurance discounts.

Sometimes the best way to find cheap car insurance rates is to compare quotes. Enter your ZIP code now to start getting quotes using your physical address for car insurance.

Can you get car insurance with a PO box?

As mentioned above, the answer will no doubt be a no. While your PO box is perfectly acceptable as a mailing address, you don’t reside at the box so you aren’t able to use it for insurance. A mailing address refers to the physical location the insurance company sends correspondence.

The PO box or a private mailbox (PMB) 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.

Since a PO box is is not a street address, using it as such would mean your company would not be able to provide  you with accurate rates for an auto policy. 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. Car insurance fraud does exist, and is unfortunately common. This is one of the reasons why you need to be able to provide your physical address during the registration process.

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

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Why do insurance companies require a physical location for a policy?

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.

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, they must inform the auto insurance company of the change. Otherwise, coverage might not be there when it’s 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.

Are there consequences if a driver doesn’t provide a correct address?

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. The driver 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.

The Issue With Insurance Fraud

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? These are excellent questions, and more often than not someone may find themselves needing answers. Direct any questions about this scenario to the insurance company and state DMV immediately so that you can get the help you need.

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.

Insurance companies receive plenty of requests for assistance, so document any questions you may have about the process and reach out immediately. Ask for advice and always be truthful and forthcoming. Doing so could prevent any loss of coverage or legal woes.

In Summary: Can you use a PO box for car insurance?

There are quite a few reasons why the answer to the above question isn’t a resounding yes. While a PO box is a great way to get your mail, it’s not going to be a possibility with your insurance company primarily because insurance fraud exists. However, this doesn’t mean you can’t have your billing statement sent to your PO box if that’s what you currently have set up. They will just need to have both your PO box and your current address on file.

Insurance contracts constitute an agreement between two parties. The insured and the insurance company must follow the rules and requirements of the contract. This means giving them your physical residency during your application and not lying about any of your identification details.

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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