Car insurance for international drivers in the U.S.: what you need to know

When traveling in the United States or planning a permanent move, foreigners must obtain car insurance to drive legally in most states. Learn more about what is car insurance in the U.S. for expats and tourists, how to choose the best car insurance company for expats and what determines the cost of an insurance policy.

Foreigners visiting the U.S. for a short-term trip or planning to move to the country for permanent residence must have auto insurance to drive legally in most states. Major insurance companies sell policies to international drivers, but only on condition that expatriates meet certain requirements.

What are these requirements and what other features does the car insurance procedure for foreign drivers in the USA have? Let's talk more in depth.

What does car insurance for expatriates and tourists in the USA consist of?

A foreigner must have a car insurance policy in order to drive a car in the USA.

International insurance is not a special type of car insurance, it is a car insurance policy for a driver who has an international driver's license.

Depending on the foreign national's country of origin and state of residence in the U.S., his or her national identity card may be accepted or he or she may have to apply for an International Driving Permit (IDP).

Important! The IDP is a supplement to foreign national entitlements and allows you to drive in many countries, including the United States of America. You can apply for an IDP at the Department of Motor Vehicles in your country of residence. Both short-term visitors and long-term emigrants can travel with an IDP. Expatriates coming to the United States to reside permanently will eventually have to obtain a U.S. style driver's license.

Typically, an international motorist insurance policy provides coverage for 6 or 12 months, but some insurers may offer policies of shorter duration.

The only state that does not require car insurance is New Hampshire.

Do tourists need car insurance in the U.S.?

Foreigners renting a car in the U.S. can take out an appropriate insurance policy with a company that provides rental services. It will be valid for the duration of the rental. This method is the easiest way to insure a tourist car in the USA.

If you arrive in the country in your own car, you will need to take out car insurance for foreign drivers.

Car insurance for foreigners coming to the U.S. for a long-term stay

Foreign nationals who have come to the U.S. for long-term residency may drive with an international driver's permit or IDP (National International Driver's Permit). The term may vary by state, but in general one can travel with a foreign permit for three months and with an IDP for one year.

On the basis of the certificate, a foreigner buys an insurance policy for a specified period - a short-term temporary policy if he drives a car with foreign rights or an annual policy if he has an IDP.

U.S. auto insurance for foreigners who have come to the U.S. to reside permanently.

Expatriates staying in the U.S. for more than 1 year must obtain a U.S. type driver's license.

Depending on the foreign national's country of origin, you can go to the DMV and reissue your national ID for a U.S. ID, or you can make an appointment at the DMV, take a test, and get a new ID.

It is best to get the ID while the IDP is still valid.

Based on the document, the expatriate will take out car insurance.

Car Insurance in the USA for International Students

If you are a student studying in the U.S. with a foreign driver's license, you can purchase a car insurance policy in any state. Before you get behind the wheel, you must have at least the minimum car insurance required by the state where you live.

How to choose the best car insurance company for expatriates in the USA?

Most international insurance companies in the U.S. offer policies to drivers who have recently moved to the U.S. and have a registered vehicle. However, whether you plan to visit the U.S. or move to the country permanently, there are several factors to consider when purchasing car insurance. These tips will help you choose the best insurance company:

- Choose the type of coverage carefully:

Most states require the driver to have auto insurance, but each state has different minimum requirements. Generally, this is liability insurance that covers damages you cause to third parties in an accident.

An expatriate can also take out additional policies: roadside assistance, accident insurance, etc. Therefore, before taking out a policy, make sure you have taken all risks into account.

- Look for insurers that offer discounts

Most insurers offer discounts to attract more customers. You can often save by paying the full premium, combining several policies or taking a safe driving course, insuring more than two cars or taking out insurance for a vehicle with a burglar alarm.

- Read customer reviews

Be sure to read reviews from current or former customers before taking out a policy. Many insurers publish them on their official website. You can also check third-party sites. This will help you learn more about the pros and cons of each insurer.

- Ask for personalized prices

Normally, most insurers offer personalized quotes for each driver. Therefore, we advise you to request quotes from several different insurance companies to research which one can offer you the lowest rate. Also, be sure to check the cost of insurance when you renew your policy so that you always have up-to-date offers.

Therefore, before taking out insurance, it is a good idea to compare the offers of several different insurers to find the one that best suits your needs. The advantage will be the possibility to issue a policy during your stay outside the country. In addition, most insurers offer different insurance coverages, good discounts and affordable rates.

Foreigners who do not speak English well can look for insurance companies that offer customer service in other languages.

What does the cost of a car insurance policy in the USA depend on?

The cost of car insurance for international drivers depends on many factors: state of residence, age, gender, type of vehicle and coverage limits. Some insurance companies may charge higher rates for expatriate drivers until the foreigner has driving experience and credit history in the United States of America.

Therefore, car insurance for foreign drivers in the U.S. is an important document for safe and legal travel on American roads.