If you move to New Jersey from another state, you have a limited amount of time to get a N.J. Driver’s License and obtain N.J. automobile insurance. New Jersey law requires any person who becomes a resident of this State to obtain a New Jersey license and registration within sixty (60) days of becoming a resident. N.J.S.A. 39:3-17.1(a) and (b).
If you don’t comply and are then involved in a crash that wasn’t your fault and you sustained injuries, you may not even be able to bring a claim for those injuries.
A recent case illustrated that in which a person’s vehicle was titled and registered in her name at a Pennsylvania address when she was injured in a motor vehicle crash. She resided, however, in New Jersey with her brother three to four months prior to the crash. Because she didn’t have the minimum insurance coverage required by New Jersey law, her case was dismissed. New Jersey law bars people from bringing personal injury claims for automobile accident if they did not have automobile insurance on their car. N.J.S.A. 39:6A-4.5(a).
Keep in mind that you should notify your insurance company where your car is “principally garaged.” The courts have construed that term to mean “the physical location where an automobile is primarily or chiefly kept or where it is kept most of the time.” Chalef v. Ryerson, 277 N.J. Super. 22, 27 (App. Div. 1994). The physical location where the car is kept is the “pivotal factor” in determining where a car is principally garaged. Id. at 28.
By: Michael Raff, Esq.