How can a homeless person living in a car or van get auto insurance without having an address?

**** The information written here is not legal advice and the author of this blog is not your lawyer.  These posts merely contain ideas to help you plan and organize your legal research and identify potentially helpful sources of law. ****
State auto insurance laws do require you to carry some sort of coverage on your automobile and you generally do have to prove that you are eligible to be insured in that state by providing the insurance company with documentation of your living in and, if applicable, owning a vehicle in that state. In other words, insurance companies expect that the address you list on your policy application will match the address on your automobile registration and driver’s license, both of which require you to notify state authorities when you change addresses. Also, because the insurance company has legal status as your agent in matters connected with that policy it does need to know where and how to contact you.
To obtain a driver’s license you have to show that you truly are the person you claim to be. The federal REAL ID Act requires states to cross check other identification sources when issuing driver’s licenses. The Department of Homeland Security summarizes the Act at and links to the official documents at  Each state has the flexibility to design its drivers license identification law in ways that accommodate the homeless and long distance truck drivers and others who do not reside in a fixed location. Some states, for example, accept ID verification letters from homeless service providers. 
The most efficient way to find your state’s current identification rule is to contact the Department of Motor Vehicles.  though you might find it from the National Conference of State Legislatures’ descriptive page.    You should be able to use e-mail to contact your DMV and simply ask what documentation they want you to bring. If you can’t get satisfaction from the DMV, get in touch with your local homeless service provider and ask that agency to help you get an address exception to obtain a driver’s license.
If your state driver’s license ID law does not yet have a way for you to obtain a license (and, secondarily, insurance), you can contact your state legislature and petition to have the law amended. The National Conference of State Legislatures has lots of REAL ID material for state legislators to read.  because state lawmakers have been developing these new identification laws for a couple of years.
Related sources:
The Insurance Information Institute has several helpful fact sheets about state financial responsibility laws.  You can find an individual state’s auto insurance laws through its insurance commission.
See my post about mail forwarding services to find companies that will register your vehicle for you.



18 Replies to “How can a homeless person living in a car or van get auto insurance without having an address?”

  1. Progressive Auto Insurance allows you to use a P.O. Box. Progressive is the only auto insurance company that will do this. I just signed up at a local California office. I do not have a house or a P.O. Box. I live in my car and have now for the past two years (since the banks robbed me). The reasoning I walked in to a local office was so that I did not have to give my social security number. Ca state law does not require you to divulge your social security number.

    1. Hi Joe, I am divorced and living in SC (sometimes) and NC (sometimes). Homeless so to speak but my car is registered in my and my ex’s name until I pay off the loan. My ex deducts the car pymt from my alimony and deducts the insurance as well. Yet he won’t even provide me with an insurance card that I pay for. A true jerk. I have state farm coverage and they have been great but my husband is “friendly” with the agent in NC so I can’t get help there. He claims I am breaking the law by not registering my car in another state. I don’t know what to do
      good luck to you

      1. How do you know that he is paying for the insurance if he hasn’t provided you with a copy of the card? If this insurance policy does exist, why is the card being mailed to him and not to you? In the property settlement of the divorce were you supposed to get the car and the alimony? If you were granted the car in the settlement, was it granted to you as part of the marital debt or as one of the marital assets? You need to be able to answer these questions in order to fully research your situation. In general, it is easy to get an extra copy of an insurance card. You should be able to do that via the company’s main website without having to go through a particular agent.

    2. Someone commented that they use progressive for auto insurance while living out of a car and they accept P.O. boxes. They do allow the P.O. box to send mail to but that is it. You need a resedential address where the car is garaged and have proof of it. I have a homeless service not shelter for my drivers license address. This address is not acceptable for auto insurance as I don’t live there or park the car there. Progressive wanted proof of address such as mortgage bill, rental reciept or other bills as proof. I don’t have any because I don’t live at any address, I live out of a small RV Camper.on the street or other areas that I can live at like Wal Marts. Progressive rejected my insurance renewal and said they cannot insure a homeless or transient person unless they have proof of address. Does anybody know of an auto insurance company that has exceptions for homeless or transient people that are not living at a fixed location? I would really like to know. I am wondering if the homeless service would be able to proove my address with them and if that would be suficient for insurance purposes, I kind of doubt it. I really haven’t foud direct answers on this blog about homeless people getting auto insurance. Maybe I need to look some more.

  2. Thanks for that comment! I’m in CA and will check that out. Currently I use State Farm but I think they bend the rules a bit for me, as they knew me before I was homeless. Whether they’d normally insure a homeless person, I don’t know.

    Now I have to go and try to renew my driver license with the DMV … that should be fun :(

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    1. Owning a car is not a legal right, it is a privilege. When you own a car, you are subject to legal obligations such as driving and parking in compliance with the law as well as registering and insuring the vehicle. You seem to presume that the legal system would have a mechanism by which those obligations could be waived, but that presumption does not match with the law.

      1. Some states do allow homeless individuals to waive fees, so his/her presumption CAN indeed match with the law.

      2. This is a common legal misconception.

        Owning a car and using a car to travel on the public roadways is a legal right, but that right is subject to regulations. Anyone and everyone who can meet those common regulations must be permitted to achieve licensure, registration, and the use of their vehicle on public roadways. No state may arbitrarily bar someone from owning and driving a car – they must have good reason to restrict this freedom.

        All rights of the people remain with the people – government is an subordinate agent of the people. To emphasize this fundamental structure of government, California and Washington states have the following legislation:

        “The people of this state do not yield their sovereignty to the agencies which serve them.  The people, in delegating authority, do not give their public servants the right to decide what is good for the people to know and what is not good for them to know.  The people insist on remaining informed so that they may retain control over the instruments they have created.”

  4. Something I am curious about is a thing known as a third party statement. DSS requires this to prove you live where you live. We moved into a place a couple months ago. Managed to get assistance with the rent after being homeless and refused help, then they demand third party statements from people stating you live where you live. Being that we don’t know anyone in the neighborhood and its a bad neighborhood it is difficult to come up with this without soliciting a stranger or asking someone to lie. We have no family nearby and relatives aren’t allowed to sign this anyway. This seems a clever way to keep someone homeless.

  5. I’ve been homeless and have used old addresses, the street & # of the post office; but may be more difficult now with instant access to confirmation. It’ll probably work for 3 months, and then having to get another address to list. Paying at a Kiosk for USPS is helpful to avoid the nosy postal worker asking for confirmation of address. I’ve used storage units addresses, temporary office addresses, preferably older addresses. Also if you are not able to get mail at your home address due to complications with the mail box being tampered with due to snowplows, vandalism, simply not secure and thus forced to use PO Boxes, that can be used. Now USPS has a service that emails a photo of incoming mail so that you can see if anything important enough to have to make an expensive trip. Some dying farm towns have affordable housing, but no medical providers within the area servicing Medicaid. Costco Pharmacy is a good place and may still require a physical address for some class medicines, but any old address can do. As for the suggestion of suicide per above, I failed at that 30 years ago, and am still homeless. I’ve used General Delivery in places where it is more common such as Alaska. I’ve slept in old folks homes parking lots. Sleep by day and awake at night. Not much fun when the police come around and bang on your car door window telling you that you can not sleep there when a different officer said you can. Also the national forest can be fun to sleep in to, with million dollar views too! I’m pretty sure that my old folks home will be some jail or prison as that is where they put people when they emptied the insane asylums… been there too… had a stroke the last time I was in one. At least they knew I was old last time… they are a business and need warm bodies too! a place to keep warm, but I prefer not to have the noise of neighbors, little old ladies that look at me questioning what I’m doing in their building!

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