If you’re purchasing or leasing a car in the United States, you’ll need to secure auto insurance. There’s no way around it. Whether you’re coming to the U.S. for the first time or returning after living abroad, finding affordable car insurance can be challenging.

That’s why it’s important to compare premiums from different car insurance companies. With Insurify, you can compare rates from multiple insurance providers in one place.

You’ll just need to provide some necessary information about your vehicle and driving history to get started. From there, you can easily find the best possible rate for the coverage you need without spending hours poring over quotes from different insurance companies

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Car Insurance for International Expats 

As an international expat, you should be aware that you’ll face certain obstacles when trying to get an affordable rate. 

First, if you’ve never had car insurance in the U.S. before, you’ll be considered a “new driver.” Insurers estimate that people who have less experience driving are a higher risk to cover. That means “new drivers” pay more in monthly premiums. According to the California Department of Insurance, new drivers will pay 73 percent more for insurance than a driver with 16 or more years of experience on the road. 

Second, most car insurance companies in most states consider your U.S. credit score when assessing risk. In fact, Consumer Reports found credit scores had a more significant impact on premium amounts than any of the other factors insurers consider. In some states, people with poor credit pay upwards of $2,000 more annually than drivers with excellent credit. If you lack credit history in the U.S., you could get stuck with a very pricey premium. Only a few states—Hawaii, California, and Massachusetts—don’t allow car insurance companies to consider credit scores when setting rates. 

That’s why it’s essential to shop around. Some insurance providers weigh certain factors more heavily than others, so you’re likely to find different rates from different companies. The average annual premium in 2017 was $1,004.68. You may end up paying more than that for expat car insurance

However, if you can compare rates from several companies at a glance, you’ll have a better chance of locking in the lowest possible premium. Use Insurify to see what’s available to you. 

Car Insurance for Returning Expats

If you’ve been living abroad and are returning to the U.S., you might find higher car insurance premiums than you’d hoped for, unless you kept your U.S. insurance coverage while abroad or maintained a policy in the country where you were living. 

Even if you are not a new U.S. driver, a lapse in coverage can drive up the cost of a new car insurance policy. Drivers who have gone without coverage for more than 60 days pay 23 percent more for new car insurance, according to Insurify data. That increase comes from lost prior insurance discounts along with lapse fees imposed by the DMV. 

But rates will vary by insurers. That’s what makes Insurify’s comparison tool such an asset for expats. It’s much easier than researching quotes on individual companies’ websites. And since you’re already facing higher premiums as a returning expat than you would as a traditional driver, you’ll need all the help you can get to obtain the lowest rate. 

Short Term Car Insurance 

If you’re just visiting the U.S. for a few months, you may want to consider temporary car insurance. While these policies can be costly, you might save when compared to buying a full six or 12-month policy. Keep in mind that short-term car insurance won’t likely be available from the same major insurance companies that offer annual policies, and beware of fraudulent offers. 

If you’re renting a car, you can typically purchase temporary insurance from the rental car company. Your credit card may also provide coverage. 

But if you’re borrowing a car to drive while you’re in the states, you may have to purchase temporary auto insurance. All states except New Hampshire require that you have insurance to drive, even if you’re not buying or leasing your own car. 

Another option is to purchase a six-month policy from a reputable company and cancel before the term has ended. Just be sure you understand the policy since you might lose out on a down payment or pay early termination fees. 

You might also consider a non-owners policy if you are using someone else’s car since these policies are significantly less expensive. The disadvantage of these policies, however, is that they don’t typically provide comprehensive coverage, which could leave you financially vulnerable in the case of an accident. 

Cheapest Car Insurance Companies for Expats 

Some car insurance companies will give expats better auto insurance quotes than others. Below is a list of companies offering the cheapest car insurance quotes for expats along with their estimated quotes:

Company NameQuote/mo
Farmers$38/mo
First Chicago$38/mo
Kemper$38/mo
Bristol West$40/mo
Dairyland$42/mo

Compare Car Insurance: Find the best policy for the lowest price 

The best way to ensure that you get the lowest possible rate is to compare car insurance between different companies. But researching individual providers can be time-consuming, and it can be tough to reasonably compare different types of coverage. 

Fortunately, Insurify can help you find the car insurance that meets your needs and your budget. Rather than combing through car insurance quotes at different sites, you’ll be able to see available policies and insurance premiums side-by-side, so that you can make an informed decision. 

Some other ways you can save money on car insurance include:

  • Selecting a high-deductible plan to lower your monthly premiums
  • Bundling your auto insurance with other insurance policies like home or renters
  • Choosing a policy with a low mileage discount if you don’t drive frequently
  • Taking advantage of incentives for safe driving habits
  • Adding yourself to a friend or family member’s policy

Knowing your car insurance options will help you get an expat policy you can comfortably afford. Not only will you be fulfilling your legal requirement, but you’ll also achieve the peace of mind that comes with adequate insurance coverage

How do I get the cheapest car insurance for expats?

You can never rely on just one company to give you the best or the cheapest car insurance quote. Just because GEICO had an excellent deal for your friend doesn’t mean it’ll have the same deal for you. That’s why it’s essential to do your research and compare quotes among other insurance companies. Insurify can help you do this in a matter of minutes. All you have to do is put in some basic information about your driving profile, and you can compare up to 20 quotes at once for free!

Score savings on car insurance with Insurify

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Updated June 30, 2020

Lindsay Frankel is a Denver-based personal finance writer for Insurify. Her work has been featured in publications such as LendingTree and FinanceBuzz. When she's not writing, you can find her enjoying the great outdoors with her rescue pup, playing music, or listening to audiobooks.