While driving around in New York, you will sometimes see cars with out of state license plates. Some people may very well be driving into the city from neighboring states, or even from Florida for vacation. It is highly probable however, that there may be some who have kept out of state license plates to partake in “rate jumping”.
What is “rate jumping”?
In the auto insurance arena, rate-jumping refers to listing an address from a place with less traffic, instead of your actual place of residence, to benefit from cheaper insurance rates. Some people may do this by listing an address of a family member or friend, or an old address. Someone may be guilty of rate jumping if they do not update an insurance company once they’ve relocated. It is an insured’s duty to call the insurance company as soon as possible after a move. Notify your company if you’re moving even if you’re staying in state! Rates can fluctuate based on the neighborhood you reside in. Even if you have multiple properties across state lines, the address where you spend the most time with your car, and where your car is typically parked overnight, should be the address used for your insurance documents.
Rate Jumping is ILLEGAL
Rate jumping falls under the realm of insurance fraud and one can technically be prosecuted for it. It is unlikely that an insurance company would go out of their way to press charges, or that the district attorney will prosecute you. This does not mean that an insurance company will not investigate. This also does not mitigate the consequences of rate jumping should you get into an automobile accident.
What happens if you get into an accident while rate jumping?
One is never really prepared to have an accident. You literally don’t see it coming and that’s why it is important to make sure you’re properly insured. In the event that you were to get into an accident, insurance will not pay for your medical bills nor for your property damage. There is a high chance that they will cancel the policy altogether and even go so far as to have you submit back payments. You will not be insured against lawsuits from the other vehicles, and there will be no legal defense provided for you. In addition, this will be a blight on your record. If your company were to cancel your policy, it will be difficult to find another company to cover you.
Rate jumping is not worth it. Being honest when it comes to your insurance will provide you with peace of mind should an accident occur and save you money in the long run.