Illegal Immigrants Car Insurance

Unfortunately, illegal immigrant car insurance is an issue because so many state insurance laws require immigrants to be documented before they can get a driver’s license. Without a driver’s license, you cannot get car insurance coverage in most states. The states that do allow illegal immigrant auto insurance without a license are California, Illinois, Nevada, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Maryland, New Mexico, Utah, Vermont, and Washington State.

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Tonya Sisler has a Bachelor’s Degree from the University of South Carolina in Journalism and has worked for 15+ years in management. She has also completed a proofreading certification and is currently a professional writer.

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Brad Larson has been in the insurance industry for more than a dozen years. He started out as a claims adjuster for a national carrier. He has since switched to the agency side of the business. Brad is licensed in all P&C lines.

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Reviewed by Brad Larsen
Licensed Auto Insurance Agent Brad Larsen

UPDATED: Apr 15, 2022

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Things to know...

  • When you’re applying for auto insurance, you have to have your own car and also a valid license
  • In many states, there’s a major issue when undocumented immigrants drive because they can’t get insurance
  • While illegal immigration is a problem all over, it’s a major problem for all drivers on the road
  • There are currently 12 states that will issue undocumented immigrants driver licenses so they can buy insurance
  • In states where you can’t get a license, it’s best to apply for a two-year Deferred Action of Childhood Arrivals permit

While it’s hard to estimate just how many undocumented immigrants there are in the United States, it’s estimated that the population has grown to exceed 11 million.

While it does take a lot of paperwork and money to become a legal immigrant, getting documented is essentially like getting permission from the US government to live in and work in America.

Illegal immigrants have to find specific jobs that pay under the table and lenient landlords to successfully making it in America without ever getting documented.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t make financial sense for a lot of struggling unauthorized immigrants to go through the process. The problem doesn’t only create challenges for the immigrants, it also can present issues for every American.

One of the biggest challenges surrounding illegal immigration is that there are so many varying laws about licensing and insurance. 

Driving without insurance is extremely dangerous but it’s an especially big problem in the population of undocumented immigrants. Many undocumented drivers still take the risk of driving a car even when you’re not authorized to.

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What’s required to get auto insurance?

Not just anyone qualifies for auto insurance. It’s not one of those products that you can buy just because you have the money to pay for it.

To qualify for insurance, you have to meet the carrier’s underwriting requirements. It’s essentially a set of criteria that all applicants, no matter their age and gender, must meet before they can purchase protection.

Every company decides what type of risk they want to insure. There are carriers that will only insure someone if they have one or fewer claims.

There are other carriers that prefer to insure drivers with no accidents and no claims. Insurance companies don’t care about your residency status but they do care about other factors.

While the risk class requirements vary, here are a few basic requirements that must be met to get insurance:

  • Applicants must have a valid driver’s license
  • Applicants must have the VIN of their vehicle that they are insuring
  • Applicants must have an insurable interest in the property they are insuring
  • Applicants must be 18 years old or older or have documents proving they have been emancipated and can enter into a contract in their own name

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Can you get a driver’s license if you’re undocumented?

Since you have to have a driver’s license to get insurance, this becomes the biggest issue when any undocumented immigrant is trying to buy a car and insure it in America.

Insurance companies aren’t going to change their requirements just to try and reduce the number of uninsured drivers on the road. The rules are the rules, and everyone has to be licensed to buy insurance.

The reason that so many unauthorized immigrants in the country are driving illegally is that a majority of states have laws saying that you have to be documented before you can get your license.

To try and combat the problem of undocumented and uninsured drivers on the road, some states have exceptions to licensing rules.

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What states can illegal immigrants get licensed in?

While a majority of states make it virtually impossible for unauthorized immigrants to get insured, there are a few solutions being introduced that make getting protection a bit easier.

As of now, there are 12 different states that will allow undocumented immigrants to receive a driver’s license without having to worry about being deported. Here are the states where this is allowed:

  • California
  • Illinois
  • Nevada
  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • Hawaii
  • Maryland
  • New Mexico
  • Utah
  • Vermont
  • Washington

How do you get a license as an undocumented immigrant?

If you live in one of the 12 states above and you’re technically an undocumented immigrant, you’re in luck. By applying for your license and providing everything that’s requested, you’ll be issued a license and you can then legally get your own auto insurance.

Here are the steps you’ll need to take to get your license if you can’t prove you’re allowed to be in the US:

  • Proof of your identity (passport, consular card, national identification card, or federal electoral card)
  • Proof of state residency (mortgage, rent receipts, utility bills, pay stubs, school documents, bank statements)
  • Passing all required tests for licensing

Are there alternatives to living in one of the 12 states?

Living in one of the 12 states where you’re allowed to get a license without a social security number makes things much easier than living elsewhere.

If you don’t live in any of these states and you have no intentions of moving, the only reasonable alternative is to see if you qualify for the Deferred Action of Childhood Arrivals program.

What is the DACA program?

The Department of Homeland Security announced that certain immigrants who came to the US as children could request to be part of the DACA program.

This program ensures that anyone who qualifies will receive a two-year work permit.

To qualify for part of the program, you have to meet these guidelines:

  • Be under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012
  • Came to the US before you turned 16
  • Have been living in the US since 2007
  • Have not had a lawful status as of 2012
  • Currently in school or graduated with a diploma or GED

How to Get Insurance

If you’ve just learned that you live in a state with lenient rules or you have recently applied for the DACA program, you can start to shop for insurance soon. First, you’ll need to brave the DMV and get your license.

After you have your driver’s license, use the Internet, enter your information, and find an affordable rate for car insurance protection.

Enter your zip code into our free rate comparison tool below to find the insurance company that’s right for you.

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