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. He has also been featured on sites like UpJourney.

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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 Reviews.com and Safeco. He reviews content, ensuring that ex...

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Reviewed by Daniel Walker
Licensed Auto Insurance Agent

UPDATED: Dec 28, 2020

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Things to remember...

  • One of the main requirements for getting auto insurance in your name is having a valid U.S. driver’s license.
  • Some carriers have more lenient restrictions and will sell U.S auto insurance to foreign license holders.
  • If they accept your foreign license, the insurer will ask you to present proof you got a U.S. one within 30 days.
  • If you don’t get your license in 30 days, the insurer has the right to drop your policy before underwriting ends.
  • Have an abstract of your Canadian record so that you can get credit for having driving experience out of the country.

The United States and Canada have a lot of similarities but there are significant differences when it comes to auto insurance.

The two countries may border one another, but they use different forms of currency and have extremely different rules when it comes to citizenship, healthcare, and vehicle codes. If you’re visiting the states, make sure you are not driving without insurance.

Looking for the cheapest U.S. auto insurance with a Canadian license? Find quotes for U.S. auto insurance with a Canadian license by entering your ZIP code in our tool above to find the best rate for insurance coverage.

Getting affordable U.S. auto insurance with a Canadian license is easier than you think.

Can Canadians drive in the U.S.?

Can Canadians drive in the U.S. with their license? The answer is yes. If you’re bringing a car over the Canadian border, you’ll have to find cheap U.S. auto insurance for your car right away. You won’t be able to drive with Canadian auto insurance in the U.S.

Auto Insurance Canada Versus USA

If you’re a Canadian coming to visit the states, you will want to get a temporary auto insurance policy for the length of your visit. You can find affordable U.S. auto insurance with a Canadian license for the duration of your visit.

If you’re planning on moving to the states, you will have to do more in order to stay legal on the road, but you can still buy U.S. auto insurance with a Canadian license.

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How can you plan for U.S. auto insurance before moving?

If you’re going to buy a car in the states, you won’t need insurance coverage immediately, but you will at some point in the near future. Having a foreign license in the USA can make things a bit tricky. You can drive in California (and most states other than California) with your license.

If you’re immigrating to the U.S. under an Alien Relative visa, a student visa, or some other type of work visa, you need to be sure that you have all of your paperwork in order before you start settling into your new home.

The best way to have a seamless move is to get your ducks in a row before you go. Here are some tips to help you benefit from the experience of people who have already immigrated:

  • Apply For Your SSNAs soon as your U.S. visa is approved, apply for a Social Security Number right away. It can take up to two to three weeks to get this and you need it for all of the other business you’ll conduct.
  • Apply For Your Work Visa – As soon as you get your Social Security Number, you can apply for your work visa. This can take as long as 90 days to process and you need it to get a job.
  • Import Your Car – You legally have one year to import your car when you drive it over the border, but it’s much easier to do it right when you cross to avoid issues.
  • Get Credit and a Bank Account – Open a U.S. bank account and then apply for a secured credit card to build credit in the U.S.
  • Go to the DMV – Each state has its own laws, but you’ll have to switch your license over to your new state of residence within 10 to 30 days.

Keep reading to learn more about U.S. auto insurance for Canadian cars and driving a Canadian car in the U.S.

How soon do you need to get a U.S. driver’s license?

Most drivers wonder, “Can you drive in the USA with a foreign license?” Yes. You can drive with a Canadian issued license in the U.S. without being a resident.

However, it’s best to apply for your SSN early on so that you don’t experience delays with the DMV. In the U.S., every state has its own motor vehicle agency that sets rules pertaining to registration, licensing, and auto insurance.

You have to officially decide where you’re going to settle before you can find out how long you’re allowed to drive with your foreign license.

Most of the time, you’ll be given only a limited amount of time to switch your license to the U.S. as soon as you’re a resident. Being a resident means that you have a primary address in the state.

You don’t have to be American or a U.S. citizen to get a license. By law, if you’re eligible to get a driver’s license in the U.S., you must get one within 10 to 30 days.

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Can you buy a car with a foreign license?

Can I buy a car in the U.S. with a foreign license? Yes. Dealerships aren’t concerned with where your license was issued. If you have money to buy a car or you can get approved for credit, any salesman will sell you a car.

Unfortunately, they might not tell you that buying a car in the U.S. can be more challenging than you might expect.

You can’t buy Canadian auto insurance on the car because it will be registered in the U.S. Since you have tags in the states, your insurance must be issued from a company that sells insurance in the states.

Do all cars have to have a minimum amount of required auto insurance coverage? Is there a minimum amount of auto insurance required? If you don’t buy insurance from an in-state insurer, the DMV will penalize you for failing to comply with registration and insurance laws.

Can you get auto insurance while you’re preparing to get a U.S. license?

If you buy a car or you import your car while you still have a foreign license, you’re going to have to shop around to find a carrier that will issue you a policy.

There are carriers that will insure you with certain contingencies, but not all brands will accept an applicant who doesn’t already have a valid U.S. license. It is also important to shop around to make sure you have the best rate.

To get an idea of how much insurers vary in price, take a look at the table below.

Auto Insurance Rates by Age and Gender
Auto Insurance Rates by Age and Gender Single 17-year-old Female Average Annual Auto Insurance RatesSingle 17-year-old Male Average Annual Auto Insurance RatesSingle 25-year-old Female Average Annual Auto Insurance RatesSingle 25-year-old Male Average Annual Auto Insurance RatesMarried 35-year-old Female Average Annual Auto Insurance RatesMarried 35-year-old Male Average Annual Auto Insurance RatesMarried 60-year-old Female Average Annual Auto Insurance RatesMarried 60-year-old Male Average Annual Auto Insurance RatesAverage Annual Auto Insurance Rates
Allstate$9,282.19$10,642.53$3,424.87$3,570.93$3,156.09$3,123.01$2,913.37$2,990.64$4,887.95
American Family$5,996.50$8,130.50$2,288.65$2,694.72$2,202.70$2,224.31$1,992.92$2,014.38$3,443.09
Farmers$8,521.97$9,144.04$2,946.80$3,041.44$2,556.98$2,557.75$2,336.80$2,448.39$4,194.27
GEICO$5,653.55$6,278.96$2,378.89$2,262.87$2,302.89$2,312.38$2,240.60$2,283.45$3,214.20
Liberty Mutual$11,621.01$13,718.69$3,959.67$4,503.13$3,802.77$3,856.84$3,445.00$3,680.53$6,073.46
Nationwide$5,756.37$7,175.31$2,686.48$2,889.04$2,360.49$2,387.43$2,130.26$2,214.62$3,450.00
Progressive$8,689.95$9,625.49$2,697.73$2,758.66$2,296.90$2,175.27$1,991.49$2,048.63$4,035.52
State Farm$5,953.88$7,324.34$2,335.96$2,554.56$2,081.72$2,081.72$1,873.89$1,873.89$3,260.00
Travelers$9,307.32$12,850.91$2,325.25$2,491.21$2,178.66$2,199.51$2,051.98$2,074.41$4,434.91
USAA$4,807.54$5,385.61$1,988.52$2,126.14$1,551.43$1,540.32$1,449.85$1,448.98$2,537.30
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Shopping around to find an insurer that will issue you a policy before you get a U.S. license will also ensure you get the best rate possible. Make sure you also take advantage of auto insurance discounts to keep rates down.

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Which companies offer auto insurance to foreign drivers?

Each insurance company is different. Some insurers will cover foreign drivers, some won’t, and others will insure foreign drivers only if they plan on getting a U.S. driver’s license.

If you’re concerned about auto insurance, contact insurers and see what auto insurance quotes and policies are available to you.

What will the contingency be if you find insurance?

If you find a U.S. auto insurance company that will insure with your country’s license, expect the agent to tell you to apply for your U.S. license right away.

Most states give companies at least 30 days to assess risk and decline an application. The company will extend coverage to you during this time, but you have to do what the carrier asks to keep your policy.

If you don’t apply for a U.S. license and pass your driving test within 30 days of buying your auto insurance, the carrier will drop your coverage.

You will get a notice in the mail saying that the policy is being canceled within the next 10 to 30 days because you don’t meet underwriting requirements regarding your driver’s license.

The short answer to the question about getting U.S. insurance with a license from another country is you can. Unfortunately, you can’t keep the coverage long if you keep a foreign license the whole time.

Be prepared to make a DMV appointment and study for your licensing exam right away by reviewing the DMV handbook in your state.

Keep reading to learn about U.S. auto insurance in Canada.

Driving in Canada with a U.S. Driver’s License

Once you’ve switched over to a United States license and insurance policy, you probably have questions about how U.S. auto insurance works when you are driving in Canada with U.S. insurance.

To help you work through any new questions you have about driving in Canada with U.S. auto insurance, we are going to go over the most important questions new U.S. drivers have.

COVID-19 Travel Restrictions

During the COVID-19 pandemic quarantine, travel restrictions are in place. These travel restrictions mean that ports of entry may be closed except for essential travel.

Since buying a car would not be considered essential travel, you may be denied at ports of entry into other countries, including Mexico. Keep COVID-19 restrictions in mind before you plan to travel.

It is not known what quarantine measures may be taken to stop the spread of COVID or whether ports of entry will be open at any given time.

Does U.S. auto insurance cover driving in other countries?

If you are in an accident in a different country and your insurance doesn’t cover you, you will be liable for all accident costs. You may be driving in Canada with U.S. insurance. This is why most drivers ask, “Does U.S. auto insurance work in Canada?”

The answer is yes, U.S. auto insurance will work in Canada. U.S. auto insurance extends coverage to U.S. drivers traveling in Canada. So you can rest easy knowing your U.S. auto insurance will protect you on visits home.

Can I buy a car in Canada without a license?

If you are traveling to Canada to buy a car and want to know can you buy a car without a license, the answer is yes. The catch is that when people want to know can I buy a car without a license in Canada, they are hoping to drive the car.

It is illegal to drive without a license in both countries, so if you do buy a car, you won’t be able to drive it until you are licensed and insured.

So if you are wondering can you own a car without a license, the answer is yes. Just don’t drive it.

We hope our guide has helped answer your questions about moving to the USA from Canada and auto insurance.

Get quotes online to see how much insurance in the U.S. will cost so you can budget accordingly. Enter your ZIP code below to begin and see the best U.S. auto insurance rates with a Canadian license. Buy affordable U.S. auto insurance with a Canadian license now.