Moving to a new country comes with a flurry of things to do, including getting car insurance if you own a car. In most states there are minimal auto insurance laws and driving without insurance is illegal. If you cause an accident while driving without a car insurance policy in place, you may be responsible for all the damage you caused, from fixing the other driver’s car to covering the resulting medical expenses, out of your pocket.
Can immigrants buy car insurance? The challenge is greater in some states than in others, but we can explore the process together.
Apply for a driver’s license
Before an insurance company will issue you a car insurance policy, you must first prove that you are a licensed driver. Depending on your immigration status, obtaining a driver’s license can be difficult.
The National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) has a map you can use to see if your state issues driver’s licenses to immigrants who have entered the country without legal permission.
What if my state won’t let me get a driver’s license?
If you live in a state where you cannot obtain a license due to your immigration status, it may be difficult to obtain auto insurance coverage. If you fall under Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) protection, you should be able to get a driver’s license regardless of your state.
Otherwise, you can explore ways to get auto insurance without a license. Remember that driving without a license is illegal. you should not drive until you have a driver’s license.
Since each state has its own insurance regulations, your best option is to contact your state’s insurance companies individually to find out how your situation may be handled.
That said, if your immigration status is not in question and you have a US driver’s license, you should be able to obtain an auto insurance policy from a wide range of insurance providers. Doing some research and getting a few quotes could help you find the best car insurance company for your needs.
Finding a carrier for your car insurance needs can be a challenge if you entered the country without legal permission. If you were able to get a license, you might be able to get a policy, but if not, you might need to find a way to avoid driving and therefore needing insurance.
How to buy car insurance
Once you have your license, the process of getting car insurance should be like any other driver:
Decide what coverage you need
Almost all states require drivers to have at least a minimum level of certain types of auto insurance coverage. Your state’s minimum requirements will represent the lowest level of coverage you can purchase. However, most insurance experts agree that purchasing higher liability limits is a prudent step because higher limits provide better financial protection.
If your vehicle is financed, you will likely also need comprehensive coverage. This type of policy adds both collision coverage (which is designed to cover your car after damage from collisions) and comprehensive coverage (which covers non-collision events like theft and vandalism). If you’re not sure how much car insurance you need, it may be worth working with an agent.
Collect at least three quotes
Most insurance professionals recommend contacting at least three insurance companies for quotes. Getting more than one quote, as long as the quotes are for the same coverage types and limits, allows you to compare prices and other business features, such as customer service ratings.
In most cases, you will need to provide the following to get your auto insurance quote:
- Personal information such as your name, date of birth and driver’s license number
- The make and model of your car
- The vehicle identification number (VIN) of your car
- Your driving history
- Your estimated annual mileage
- Information about all other drivers who should be on the policy
Apply for coverage
Once you have determined which insurance provider can offer you the best policy for your needs, you can apply for coverage. Usually this means completing and submitting an application and payment. Then the insurance company will review your information and either approve you for a policy or deny you coverage. If this happens, you can try again with another insurer.
Pay your premiums
Once your auto insurance is approved, be sure to pay your premiums. If you miss a payment, your policy may expire, leaving you without coverage.
Usually, your car insurance premiums will be due on a monthly, quarterly, semi-annual or annual basis. You may be able to save money by paying your entire premium at once. You can also get a discounted rate if you sign up for automatic payments.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can immigrants buy car insurance?
It depends on your personal situation. If you entered the country without legal permission, you may not be able to obtain your driver’s license, depending on the state in which you live. If you can’t get a license, you won’t be able to get insurance. If your immigration status is not in question, you should be able to get auto insurance coverage as long as you are able to obtain and maintain a US driver’s license.
However, if you have a foreign license, you may be able to find car insurance. If you are here for a short stay and are using someone else’s vehicle, you can ask the owner of the vehicle to speak to their insurer and add you as a driver. If you’re buying a car while you’re here and need car insurance, you may be able to find a carrier that will insure you with a foreign license, although this will probably take a bit more research than if you had a US license.
How much does immigrant insurance cost?
The average cost of auto insurance in the United States is $1,674 per year for full coverage. Your rates will vary based on a number of factors, including the state you live in, the types and levels of coverage you choose, your driving history, and the type of car you drive.
Can I buy car insurance without a social security number?
Some companies may ask for a social security number, but most do not. As long as you have a valid driver’s license, you should be able to get car insurance, even if you don’t have a social security number.