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In the past, getting car insurance has presented quite a challenge for illegal immigrants.
Recent times, though, have seen the creation of more policies and laws geared towards keeping uninsured drivers off the road. This trend is making it easier for all drivers, including illegal immigrants, to get car insurance.
In order to obtain car insurance, you must first have a driver’s license. This requirement presents the first barrier to legal driving for many illegal immigrants throughout the country.
There are about a dozen states which allow illegal immigrants to apply for a driver’s license. These states include:
- New Mexico
For immigrants living in these states, applying for a license is the first step in getting insurance. Most insurance companies will not sell an auto policy to an unlicensed driver.
Compare car insurance quotes to find a policy that’s right for your situation.
Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program
For illegal immigrants who don’t reside in one of the aforementioned states, there are other options.
For those 31 or under as of June 15, 2012, there is the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. Also known as DACA, this government program protects second-generation illegal immigrants who were brought to the United States as minors aged 16 or under.
Provided applicants meet the age requirement and other specified criteria, they are issued renewable work visas, protected from deportation and allowed to apply for driver’s licenses in all 50 states.
Amount of Insurance Needed
There is a minimum amount of required coverage, and it differs in every state. For example, In Massachusetts, the minimum amount of coverage for bodily injury per person is $20,000, but in Missouri, it is $25,000.
In most cases, in order to drive legally, you need at least enough insurance to cover the potential costs of injury and property damage that can result from an accident.
These required coverages include:
- Personal injury
- Injury to others
- Injuries caused by an uninsured motorist
- Damage to someone else’s property
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Although buying the minimum coverage gets you on the road at the lowest possible cost, it is wiser to buy a little more coverage than the state requires, especially with liability coverage. This increase protects you in case you are found liable for an accident.
With adequate liability coverage, no one can make a claim against your assets such as your home, car or bank account, to cover accident damages.
For even more protection, drivers can opt for collision and comprehensive insurance.
- Collision coverage offsets the cost of any damages caused to your car as a direct result of a collision with another vehicle.
- Comprehensive coverage pays for vehicle damages resulting from non-collision events such as fallen tree, hail damage, fire, flood, vandalism, and theft. If theft occurs, comprehensive coverage will pay you the market value of the car, so that you can purchase a replacement.
Both collision and comprehensive coverage are optional as far as the state is concerned. However, if you are leasing or financing your car, most insurance companies will require you to carry them both for the duration of the leasing or financing period.
Saving Money on Premium Costs
Illegal immigrants can face some unique challenges when it comes to premium costs. Some will be considered “new drivers” if they have spent years driving in another country and have not yet established a U.S. driving record, or have only recently obtained a driver’s license.
This classification makes immigrants a risky proposition as far as insurance companies are concerned, and this group of drivers pays higher premiums as a result.
For this reason, getting quotes online can be a very helpful tool for saving money. Rates vary widely among insurers and shopping for quotes can get you the lowest premium possible.
Contact an insurance agent to help you evaluate your insurance needs and get the best coverage for the price.
While challenging, this task is very doable; several insurers offer insurance to illegal immigrants. Bristol West and Progressive will even issue policies to drivers with a Mexican driver’s license only.
California has more illegal immigrants than any other state. If you are one of the 2.4 million undocumented persons living there, you may be eligible for their Low-Cost Auto Insurance Program.
This statewide program went into effect in January of 2015 and offers qualified candidates very affordable, minimum coverage insurance rates so that they can drive legally.
Insurance through the program costs between $213 and $472 a year, depending on your county and your driving history.
Qualified applicants are at least 19 years of age and have a valid California driver’s license. They should belong to a household that doesn’t exceed the income threshold ($29, 425 for a household of one, $60,625 for a household of four), and drive a car worth less than $25,000.
The Importance of Car Insurance for Illegal Immigrants
For everyone, including illegal aliens, it is imperative to drive with proper insurance coverage. You need your car to get to your job, attend appointments and run errands.
Without insurance, you risk getting pulled over, being fined up to $1,000, having your license suspended or your car registration revoked. If you are caught driving drunk or you have a criminal record, you may even face the threat of deportation.
None of these possible outcomes is worth the risk.
Avoid putting your family, your job and your freedom at risk. Any amount that you may save on premiums month to month is not worth the potential cost. An incident-free drive can never be assumed to be guaranteed.
Speak with a qualified insurance agent who can help you go through quotes from different companies and secure an affordable and legal car insurance policy. You’ll have peace of mind knowing that you, your passengers and other drivers are protected in case the worst happens.
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