Most insurance companies in the United States provide car insurance to tourists, but you must have a valid driver’s licence. Your original licence may be accepted depending on your home country, or you can apply for an international driving permit (IDP). Standard policy terms for foreign drivers purchasing car insurance in the United States are six or twelve months. Some insurers provide temporary and limited-term policies. If you are a tourist renting a car, the rental car company may provide you with some insurance.
Car Insurance with an International Driver’s Licence
You can buy car insurance in the United States if you have a valid driver’s licence. Furthermore, you are not required to have a licence issued in the United States. You may be able to use your foreign licence after arriving in the United States, depending on where you’re from and which states you’ll be driving in. You can also apply for an international driving permit (IDP).
An IDP is an international driving permit that allows you to drive in many countries, including the United States. You can easily apply for an IDP with your home country’s motor vehicle department. An IDP is valid for both short-term visitors and long-term expats in the United States.
However, if you are relocating to the United States full-time, you may eventually need to obtain a U.S. driver’s licence.
Some insurance companies only work with drivers from the United States. But many major insurance companies are happy to provide car insurance to foreigners in the United States who have an accepted foreign licence or an IDP.
Is it Necessary to Insure Short-Term Visitors?
Whether you are relocating to the United States or simply visiting, you must purchase the minimum insurance required by the state in which you will be residing or visiting. Carrying the state’s minimum car insurance requirement is required whether you own the car or rent it.
How Does Foreigner And Expat Car Insurance Work?
Even if you’ve been driving for years abroad, car insurance companies in the United States will likely regard you as a new driver because they only consider your driving history in the United States when determining your rate.
1. When Travelling to the United States
If you rent a car, you can purchase rental car insurance from the rental company, which is valid for the duration of your rental and is the most convenient car insurance option for tourists in the United States. If you’re staying for several months and driving a vehicle that isn’t a rental, you’ll need auto insurance. Standard insurance policies are valid for six months or a year, but some insurers also offer temporary policies that are valid for a shorter period of time. If you will be driving for less than six months, this will allow you to have adequate insurance coverage.
2. When Relocating to America
Non-citizens planning a long-term move to the United States can drive on a foreign licence or an IDP for a limited time. The time limit varies by state, but a foreign licence is usually valid for three months and an IDP for a year. You can then purchase an insurance policy that corresponds to the length of time — a temporary short-term policy if you’re driving with a foreign licence and a year-long policy if you have an IDP.
If you plan to stay in the United States for more than a year, you’ll need to get a driver’s licence. You may be able to take your foreign licence to the department of motor vehicles (DMV) and have it converted to an American licence, depending on where you are from. Otherwise, you can schedule an appointment with the DMV and take a test to get a new licence. You could wait until your IDP is about to expire, but it’s best to get your US driver’s licence as soon as you know you’ll be in the country for an extended period of time.
3. Coming To The United States From Canada
If you are going to drive into the United States from Canada, the rules are slightly different. If you’re on vacation, you don’t need to do anything extra; your Canadian licence and insurance will cover you during your stay in the United States. When moving from Canada to the United States, you must register your vehicle with the DMV in the state where you will be residing. After that, you can purchase car insurance in the United States and begin the process of converting your Canadian licence to an American driver’s licence.