How can I get auto insurance when moving to the USA?
Wondering about car insurance when moving to the USA? When moving to America from another country, you’ll need to get American car insurance. To get an insurance policy in the U.S., you’ll need to know your state’s minimum car insurance requirements.
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UPDATED: Jun 27, 2022
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- Each state has its own minimum required insurance coverage rules
- You’ll need a license or international driver’s permit to drive in the USA
- Your immigration status plays a role in your car insurance
When you move to the USA from another country, there are a lot of details you’ll need to work out. One of those is how to get car insurance if you plan to drive while you live in America. The process is relatively straightforward, but there are a few key things to remember when you work toward getting auto insurance in the USA. Read on to learn more.
If you’re in the market for affordable auto insurance, just enter your ZIP code into our free online quote tool to begin comparing multiple quotes from companies near you to save on your USA auto insurance today.
How to Get Car Insurance When You Move to the United States
To get an insurance policy in the U.S., you’ll need to choose the coverage that meets your state’s minimum car insurance requirements. You can check the Insurance Information Institute for a list of the minimum car insurance requirements for every state. If you need more clarification, most insurance companies will be quite knowledgeable about state minimums.
In most states, getting car insurance after moving to America is mandatory before getting behind the wheel. Car insurance from your home country will not cover you while driving in the United States. Not only would you be breaking the law by driving while uninsured, but you run a significant liability risk if an accident were to occur.
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Expect to Pay Higher-Than-Average Rates on New American Car Insurance
The downside to getting auto insurance as an immigrant to the United States is the cost may be on the higher side. That’s because, regardless of how long you’ve been driving and how clean your driving record is in your native country, you are viewed as a new driver in America.
Without any driving history or credit history in the United States, most rates tend to be on the high end. This is not much different than if a new 16-year-old driver was to get their own insurance policy rather than being on a parent’s policy. To read more about how to find the cheapest auto insurance, read our article here.
How does immigration status affect getting auto insurance in the USA?
All legal immigrants to the United States receive a specific designation. Recognized immigration statuses in the U.S. are:
- Permanent resident (green card holder)
- Non-immigrant (temporary visitor on a visa)
Your immigration status will determine whether you can get a license or if you’ll need an international driver’s permit (IDP) instead. In order to get insurance in most states as an immigrant, you’ll need either a license or an IDP.
Car Insurance for U.S. Citizens and Permanent Residents
If you become a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, it will be relatively easy to obtain a U.S. driver’s license and get auto insurance in the USA. Most states require either citizenship or a green card to apply for a driver’s license, and most will also require any combination of:
- Proof of residency
- Proof of social security
- Driver’s license from your native country
- Green card
Any documentation proving your status is also typically required to get auto insurance in the USA.
Getting Car Insurance in the U.S. as a Non-Immigrant on a Visa
If your move to the United States is on a temporary visa, the process will be slightly different. If your stay in America will only be a few months, then you may be able to continue to drive using a combination of your license from your home country and your passport. That’s because all states recognize foreign driver’s licenses as valid for a limited amount of time.
In most states, the license from your home country will be valid for up to three or four months. As always, you’ll need to contact the DMV in your state for specifics.
If your stay lasts longer than this, you’ll be expected to get an international driver’s permit (IDP). These permits are accepted as valid in 150 countries worldwide, including the United States.
You may need to shop around for cheap car insurance as a temporary visitor. Some companies only offer insurance if you have a valid U.S. driver’s license. However, some companies will offer auto insurance for temporary visa drivers, so it is recommended to get insurance quotes from many different companies.
The Bottom Line on Car Insurance When Moving to the USA
Whether you’re a U.S. citizen or on a temporary visa, you’ll need insurance to drive legally. Each state has different minimum insurance requirements that you will have to meet. You’ll also need to obtain a driver’s license or IDP to drive unless your stay in the country is within the brief period in which your native country’s license will be honored.
To find affordable car insurance quotes from multiple companies, enter your ZIP code into our free comparison tool below.
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