Smooth moves: Changing insurance when you relocate

Whether moving across town or across the country, you probably have a to-do list longer than your arm and may feel like you're up to your elbows in boxes and bubble wrap.

As you bring order out of chaos, don't let insurance matters get lost in the shuffle.

Some of your insurance needs will change when you move and, at the very least, your insurance companies need to know how to find you. Here's a checklist for what to do.

Your car

Call your insurance company or agent two months before the move to discuss what policy changes you might need, advises Esurance, the direct-to-consumer insurer owned by Allstate. If you're moving out of state, you could stick with your company if it does business in the new area, but you might need to add coverage or adjust limits. Insurance requirements vary by state.

Don't be surprised if your car insurance rates change, even if you move only a few miles away. Car insurance rates usually vary by ZIP code.

You should also inform your auto insurer of any other changes a move might entail. Let the company know if you're combining households with a significant other or getting married. You may want to increase auto insurance liability limits if you're buying a home. The limits should be high enough to protect your assets. Tell the insurer if your commuting distance to work or school will change. A shorter commute could mean a drop in rates.

Moving a long distance? Make sure the shipping company covers your car if you're shipping the vehicle, Esurance advises. Your current coverage should cover you if you're driving to the new location.

Let the insurance company know your new address as close to the move as possible. If you're changing insurers, let the new company know when the new policy begins, but don't cancel your current coverage until the new coverage is in place.