Car Insurance for Immigrants

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Mathew B. Sims is Editor-in-Chief and has authored, edited, and contributed to several books. He has been working in the insurance industry ensuring content is accurate for consumers who are searching for the best policies and rates...

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Dan Walker graduated with a BS in Administrative Management in 2005 and has been working in his family’s insurance agency, FCI Agency, for 15 years (BBB A+). He is licensed as an agent to write property and casualty insurance...

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Reviewed byDaniel Walker
Licensed Insurance Agent

UPDATED: Mar 13, 2020

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Things to remember...

  • Individuals who hold certain visas are eligible to receive drivers licenses
  • Optional insurance policy items can be worth the extra expense
  • Insurance companies see immigrants as  potential different driver types
  • New drivers can cut down on insurance costs by looking out for discount opportunities

There are millions of immigrants living and working in the U.S., and like everyone else, they need to get around in vehicles.

Getting insurance for their cars can be an experience wrapped in red tape for many individuals who are immigrants. That said, those who make use of comparison shopping websites can make the process much easier.

Enter your ZIP code into our free rate comparison tool above to being shopping for car insurance.

This article will take at some insurance options that immigrant drivers should be aware of, and also highlight creative ways that they can save on their automobile insurance policies.

Securing a License is The First Step


One of the first steps in the insurance acquisition process is to show proof of having a drivers license.

People who are very new to the country may have driven in their home nations but not had a chance to get licenses in their states of residence. The next section has information about basic documentation that is required for license applicants who are immigrants.

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Documents That are Commonly Required for Drivers License Applications

For newly arrived immigrants to get driver’s licenses they will typically need to have proof of their specific immigration status.

  • They will need to produce one of a range of valid visas including h4, f2, F1, L1, and H1B.
  • Resident green card holders would simply need to provide their identifications to apply for licenses.

Information concerning the specific proofs of identity that are required can be easily obtained by contacting the appropriate registry of motor vehicles department.

Depending on the state of residence, applicants may have to show proof of driving history in their original countries.

If history is not available, many new drivers from other nations may need to begin operating vehicles without any documented driving history.

Because of a perceived lack of driving history, insurance companies may charge these drivers a premium for insurance. That being said, new drivers can still save significant money by using the services of auto insurance comparison websites.

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Optional Coverages

While these auto insurance options aren’t mandated, they can be worth their weight in gold.

  • Comprehensive coverage – This coverage protects policyholders from a range of damages. These damages can include water damage, hail, fire, vandalism, and theft.
  • Collision coverage – This coverage option comes in handy in cases where the policyholder is at fault in an accident. Collision pays for any damages resulting from such an event.
  • Uninsured motorist coverage – This coverage fills the financial gap in cases where the policyholder is involved in an accident with an uninsured motorist. In no-fault areas, this coverage can be especially valuable. A variant of this is underinsured motorists coverage.
  • Glass coverage – Windows are the most fragile parts of vehicles and thus are frequently damaged. Given the high cost of windshields and other glass parts, having this type of coverage firmly in place is desirable.
  • Short-term insurance coverage – Individuals who are in the country for short periods of time but have access to private vehicles may be best served be taking out short-term auto insurance policies. These policies can run anywhere from a day to several months.

Mandatory Coverages


These insurance policies are mandated by law and include bodily injury liability and property damage liability.

  • Property damage liability – This insurance option pays for any damage to the property of another person that is caused by the policyholder or their vehicle.
  • Bodily injury liability – This coverage is essential. This policy item will pay for any medical bills arising from an accident with the policyholder.
  • Personal injury protection (PIP) – This insurance policy item protects against injuries that may be sustained by the driver or passengers in the insured vehicle. Much like bodily injury liability, PIP is an item that should be healthily supplied.

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Saving by Using Driver Discounts

Since many drivers who are immigrants may be facing higher than normal insurance costs, they will certainly want to take advantage of the many discounts that are on offer by insurance firms.

  • Comparison shopping – These websites offer drivers a convenient way to access information on potentially hundreds of different companies.
  • Safe vehicle discount – If the insured vehicle has certain safety options, they will often qualify for discounts. Items that are frequently on the safety bonus list includes anti-theft systems, electronic traction systems, and anti-lock brakes.
  • Student discount – Individuals who have student visas can often get steep discounts if they can present proof of enrollment at a learning institution.
  • Safe drivers discounts – There are many official and unofficial driver’s safety courses available to licensed drivers. Graduation from one of the accredited courses can often land big insurance savings for new drivers.

The insurance enrollment process may sometimes be steeped in red tape for drivers who are immigrants. That said, new drivers who apply the tips supplied by this article as they comparison shop can end up with big savings. Shop today using our FREE comparison tool.

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