How can I get auto insurance when moving to the USA?

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Joel Ohman
Founder, CFP®

UPDATED: Jan 10, 2019

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Here's what you need to know...

  • Even if you have car insurance where you currently live, you will have to buy a policy when you in the USA
  • If you are from Canada, you will still be covered under your current auto insurance policy
  • All states require that you carry at least the mandated level of insurance coverage

When you are moving to the United States from a different country, there are many things to think about. One of the important details you need to take care of is buying car insurance.

If you live in Canada, the transition to American car insurance may be a little easier. Canadian car insurance will cover drivers who drive into the United States.

However, you will need to get it changed over to American coverage shortly after the move.

Check with your existing insurer about the grace period before you move. All other countries will not cover you after your move, therefore you will need to get American car insurance before you use your vehicle in the States.

Read on to learn the details of moving to the USA country and buying auto insurance. Enter your zip code above and start comparing affordable  auto insurance quotes!

Knowing What You Need


The first step in getting car insurance is to know exactly how much coverage you need to have. Each state has a different guideline for mandatory coverage. Therefore, you should check with the department of insurance in the state you plan to reside in, to find out the rules.

If you are not sure of where you will live, get coverage in the first state you plan to stay in temporarily. That will cover you anywhere you drive in the country. Be sure to change coverage when you set up your new residence.

Any state that you register your vehicle in will require you to have proof of insurance or financial responsibility which, for most people, is car insurance.

In addition to the basic state-mandated levels of car insurance coverage, you may want or need additional coverage. If your vehicle is financed, you will be required to carry collision or comprehensive insurance coverage.

In addition, the state requirements are typically very low and are insufficient if you are involved in a serious accident. Therefore, it is very important to consider carrying higher levels of liability insurance coverage.

Most insurers recommend at least $100,000 personal injury liability per person, $300,000 personal injury liability per accident in total and $100,000 property damage liability.

Things To Consider About Car Insurance

There are a number of things to consider when you are looking for car insurance. When moving to the USA, you may find that car insurance is difficult to find and more costly than you anticipated.

Insurers always take your car insurance history into consideration for rate setting and will request verifiable proof of coverage over the past 3 years or more. Therefore, you should bring copies of your coverage for at least that period of time when you move.

Your driving record is one of the most important factors when you are looking for car insurance. It is often difficult for those moving into the United States to get good rates because they do not have an easily accessible driving record.

Depending on the country you are from, you may be treated as if you are a brand new driver with rates set accordingly.

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Your credit history should also be taken into consideration when looking for comparing car insurance quotes. Unless you have lived in the United States previously, you will not have a credit history.

This will often be counted against you and cause your rates to be higher than they would be for someone who has a credit history.

You should also know that car insurance is influenced by where you live, how much you drive it, the type of car you own and other things. Therefore, in order to keep your insurance costs as low as possible, remember the following tips:

  • Car insurance is less expensive in rural areas than in urban areas.
  • The fewer miles you put on your car yearly, the less your coverage will cost.
  • Older cars that are worth less are not as costly to insure as new cars.
  • Safety devices such as anti-lock brakes will reduce your insurance premiums.
  • Having an anti-theft device will also save you money.
  • Insurers offer discounts for a variety of reasons. Be sure to ask what types are available before taking out coverage with any company.

Shopping Around for Coverage


The best place to start is by shopping for car insurance is online. Since car insurance companies each have its own guidelines, prices can vary greatly from one to another.

As you are shopping around, you will find that some prices are extremely high. This is often indicative that the insurer does not want to insure those who are newly arrived to this country.

Other insurance companies are much more understanding and are willing to work with people moving here. Because of this disparity in attitude and price, it is very important to shop around and compare as many prices as possible.

Use our FREE online tool to get the quotes you need. It is the quickest and easiest way to access a wide variety of quotes from insurers serving the state you plan to reside in.

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