When you move to the United States from another country, one of the first things you probably want to do is buy a car—which means you’ll need auto insurance. But there are a few things to keep in mind when shopping for American auto insurance policies as an immigrant.

In the eyes of car insurance companies, recent immigrants are seen as “new drivers.” That’s because an immigrant doesn’t have a U.S. driving record or credit score yet, which is what insurers look at to determine your rates. Unfortunately, this could mean you end up paying more for car insurance coverage.

But don’t let that stop you. Insurify helps U.S. immigrants find great values on insurance, helping you hit the road safely and affordably. That’s because Insurify helps drivers compare free quotes on car insurance side by side, providing a clear picture of the car insurance landscape. 

Best Car Insurance Companies for Immigrants to the United States

Car insurance is required if you’re looking to drive in the United States. So as an immigrant navigating the at times overwhelming world of American auto insurance, you’ll want to go with an insurance company that’s experienced in providing coverage for immigrants. 

One company that stands out is Farmers. This nationwide provider offers some of the lowest rates for immigrant drivers. And to top it all off, its safe driving and driver training discounts give drivers who are new to the country an easy way to prove their skills on the road, all while lowering their rates.

Kemper is another company to keep in mind. It stands out thanks to the low rates it offers in some key states. For instance, states like California and New Mexico let residents apply for U.S. driver’s licenses regardless of their immigration status, which makes it easier for undocumented immigrants to get started driving. Kemper happens to offer low rates in many of those states. So once a driver gets their license, they should look to Kemper for affordable, trusted insurance.

In general, drivers should look for auto insurance companies with high financial strength ratings. Trusted national providers like State Farm and Allstate are just a couple that boast top marks from A.M. Best, an agency that rates the credit of different companies in the insurance industry.

Cheapest Auto Insurance Quotes for Recent Immigrants

As you shop for car insurance, you’ll find that some car insurance companies are, in fact, willing to offer reasonable rates to those who might be new to American roads. Below you’ll find a few of these companies, each offering impressive rates for recent immigrants.

Insurance CompanyLowest Rate
Farmers$38/month
First Chicago$38/month
Kemper$38/month
Bristol West$40/month
Bristol West$42/month

Most Expensive Auto Insurance Quotes for Recent Immigrants

Not all car insurance companies offer great prices to drivers who are new to the United States. Below you’ll find a handful of insurance providers that offer some of the most expensive insurance quotes for recent immigrants.

Insurance CompanyLowest Rate
Arrowhead$323/month
Plymouth Rock$144/month
Aggressive$119/month
National General$100/month
Freedom National$92/month

Best Auto Insurance Discounts for Immigrants

When it comes to buying auto insurance, there are plenty of ways to save. Taking advantage of discounts is one of the best ways to keep your car insurance rates reasonable—whether you were born in the United States or not.

One way to lower your rates is to take a defensive driving course or general driver training course. As a driver new to the country, taking a course lets insurance companies know you’re a competent driver who won’t be filing tons of claims. This can help you knock up to 30 percent off your rates! 

Another way to save is with the Passive Restraint discount. Many insurance companies offer this deal, which decreases your car insurance rates by up to 40 percent if you make sure your car’s equipped with built-in safety features like automatic seatbelts and airbags.

See below for more car insurance discounts that are helping recent immigrants get covered affordably. 

Immigrants vs. Other U.S. Drivers: Who Pays More? 

Recent immigrants generally tend to pay higher premiums compared to U.S. drivers. See below for the data on what immigrants are paying versus U.S. drivers. 

And keep in mind that an immigrant driver who uses Insurify to find the best quotes on car insurance—and then takes advantage of the discounts available to them—can still end up paying less than native U.S. drivers.

Car Insurance Tips for Immigrants

Here are a few tips when it comes to buying car insurance as an immigrant:

  • If you have family in the United States already, ask to get added to their policy. Assuming you have the same primary residence, you can join their policy and unlock useful savings like multi-driver and multi-car discounts. 
  • Set the right deductible. If you want to lower your monthly premiums, you might want to consider raising your deductible. But remember, if you do this, you might end up paying more when filing claims.
  • Keep track of your mileage. If you take public transportation frequently and only drive during occasional trips, put yourself down as an occasional driver on your policy. This way, you can qualify for low mileage discounts.
  • Take note of where you live. If you’re in an area with high crime or traffic rates, you may end up paying more due to a higher risk of theft or damage. If so, consider investing in collision or security coverage to keep your car protected. And invest in safety features for your vehicle (e.g., automatic locks) to earn discounts.
  • Make sure you have the right driver’s license on you when driving. For instance, you’ll need an International Driver’s Permit (IDP) in addition to your valid driver’s license from your country of origin. You don’t want to get pulled over without one of these two documents, as that could negatively impact your driving record.
  • Consider your choice of car carefully. Safe family sedans are cheaper to insure than fancy convertibles. Be aware of your needs and how they affect your rates. You may find that with convenient public transit options and an easy commute, you don’t even need a car right away.

Car Insurance for Undocumented Immigrants

As an undocumented immigrant, it’s essential to know the laws in your state. The ability to get a U.S. driver’s license tends to vary by state, with some states offering licenses regardless of immigration status. 

For instance, California, New Mexico, Illinois, and a handful of other states let residents apply for a driver’s license even if they’re undocumented. Check your state’s laws regarding driver’s licenses to better understand what steps you need to take.

Furthermore, you should see if you qualify for a license under the federal Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which protects those who immigrated to the United States as children. Those in the DACA program can apply for driver’s licenses regardless of their state.

Immigrant Car Insurance FAQs

How much car insurance do I need?

In the United States, liability coverage is required. This means you need a policy that covers bodily injury liability and property damage liability. Florida, Hawaii, Kansas, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, and Utah also require personal injury protection. Then there are optional but recommended forms of insurance like comprehensive coverage and medical payments coverage.

Do I need a U.S. driver’s license no matter what?

If you plan on staying in the United States for more than a year, it’s recommended you get a U.S. driver’s license. If you’re staying here for under a year, you can drive legally and buy car insurance with a combination of your IDP and a valid driver’s license that you received outside of the United States.

How can you find the best price on car insurance?

As an immigrant, shopping for car insurance can be overwhelming. Insurify makes the process easier by helping you access free quotes from a wide range of companies. You can look at every quote side by side, making it easy to compare rates and purchase car insurance that works for your budget.

Conclusion: The best way to save on car insurance

There are so many things to keep track of as you relocate to a new country. Don’t let car insurance be yet another source of stress. 

Insurify is here to make the process of shopping for car insurance as seamless as possible. Compare quotes from several companies in no time so that you can quickly find the right coverage at the right price.

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Updated March 24, 2020

Mark Steinbach is a writer based in Brooklyn, NY. In addition to his years of work as a copywriter, he is also a TV writer with a degree in English from Harvard University. When he isn't writing, he can be found playing tennis or doing crossword puzzles.