Auto Insurance for Immigrants

Auto insurance for immigrants can cost more than the monthly average of $312. States require immigrants to have a driver's license before applying for auto insurance, and only a few states allow illegal immigrants to get a drivers license. Auto insurance for new immigrants can be expensive due to lack of driving history. Green card car insurance prices can also be higher.

Leslie Kasperowicz holds a BA in Social Sciences from the University of Winnipeg. She spent several years as a Farmers Insurance CSR, gaining a solid understanding of insurance products including home, life, auto, and commercial and working directly with insurance customers to understand their needs. She has since used that knowledge in her more than ten years as a writer, largely in the insuranc...

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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, including home, auto, umbrella, and dwelling fire insurance. He’s also been featured on sites like and Safeco. He reviews content, ensuring that ex...

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Reviewed by Daniel Walker
Licensed Auto Insurance Agent

UPDATED: Jul 15, 2021

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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 for different driver types can vary a lot, including coverage for immigrants.
  • New drivers can cut down on insurance costs by looking out for auto insurance discounts

Can a non-citizen get car insurance? What is the best auto insurance for immigrants?

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

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. Shopping around for auto insurance can help you get the best coverage and rates.

This article will take at some insurance options that immigrant drivers should be aware of, and also highlight creative ways that to save on car insurance for immigrants.

Whether you are a US citizen or immigrant, enter your ZIP into our free rate comparison tool above to get quotes  to find out who really has the lowest car insurance rates.

Mandatory Auto Insurance Coverages Apply to Immigrants

Each state creates their own laws about auto insurance. Most states have a minimum requirement for insurance that each driver must carry.

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.

Car insurance in your state will offer you at least the minimums required, but most experts agree that extra coverage is best.

Check out this table to see the difference between the minimum or low coverage and high or full coverage.

Average Annual Auto Insurance Rates By Coverage Type
CompaniesAverage Annual Auto Insurance Rates for High CoverageAverage Annual Auto Insurance Rates for Low CoverageAverage Annual Auto Insurance Rates for Medium Coverage
American Family$3,416.40$3,368.49$3,544.37
Liberty Mutual$6,356.04$5,805.75$6,058.57
State Farm$3,454.80$3,055.40$3,269.80

Minimum coverage will cost about $312 a month, and full coverage is around $345 a month. That extra $32 a month for full coverage will pay for itself in peace of mind.


What optional auto insurance coverages are available?

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

  • Comprehensive coverage – Comprehensive car insurance covers 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.

Watch this video to learn more about the different types of coverage available.

Not every driver needs the same coverage. Speak with your agent about your needs to see what coverages you should add to your policy.


How can you save 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 auto insurance 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.

Discounts are a great way to lower your auto insurance rates. Many companies will even let you bundle discounts to get he most bang for your buck. Be sure to find out what discounts can be offered to you.

Securing a License as an Immigrant

One of the first steps in the insurance acquisition process is to show proof of having a driver’s license. This is an easier process if you live in one of the best states for immigrant auto insurance and licensing.

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.

Can an immigrant buy a car?

Yes, immigrants can purchase a car and even get a car loan. However, their loans may be more expensive if there is a lack of credit history.

The next section has information about basic documentation that is required for license applicants who are immigrants.

What documents are commonly required for immigrant driver’s 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. For car insurance, a F1 visa or other documentation can be required.
  • For residents with a green card, car insurance and drivers licenses are easier to acquire. They would simply need to provide their identifications to apply for licenses. Green card insurance prices may be less expensive.

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

Auto insurance companies check your driving record when figuring your car insurance rates.

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.

It’s also important to note that where the immigrant is from doesn’t come into play. Car insurance for immigrants from the UK will be similar to car insurance offered to immigrants from other countries.

What states allow illegal immigrants to get driver’s licenses?

The National Immigration Law Center (NILC) shows that 15 states allow illegal immigrants to get a driver’s license, inlcuding California and Washington. Auto insurance for undocumented immigrants will be harder to find in other states.

Car insurance for new immigrants may be much higher. Because of a perceived lack of driving history, insurance companies may charge these drivers a premium for insurance. This is especially true regarding auto insurance for illegal immigrants.

The insurance enrollment process may sometimes be steeped in red tape for drivers who are immigrants. New drivers who apply the tips supplied by this article as they comparison shop can end up with big savings.

That being said, new drivers can still save significant money by using the services of auto insurance comparison websites. Comparing quotes will allow you get the best coverage and price out there.

Enter your ZIP to get auto insurance quotes for the best coverage for citizens and immigrants alike.