Not everyone gets the opportunity to drive their own vehicle when they travel to other countries. If, however, you are one of the people that do, then you need to ensure that you have worldwide car insurance coverage.
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Worldwide car insurance is simply international auto insurance and, if you are going to be traveling internationally, then you need to purchase car insurance for your vehicle. Even though not every country requires you to have auto insurance, it is always a smart idea to have that protection in case you have an accident.
You will find that there are companies in the US that sell worldwide auto insurance. Even if your company is one of them, your standard policy won’t provide you with coverage if you travel outside of the country.
The exception might be if you are traveling to Canada or Mexico. Before you make the decision to travel, however, you need to review your car insurance policy to ensure that you care covered in these two countries.
You may be wondering what sort of situation might come up where you would be able to take your vehicle to another country. From time to time business travelers find that they need to stay for an extended period of time working outside of the US. If you find yourself in this situation of driving abroad, having your own vehicle with you can save you a great deal of frustration and possibly even cost when it comes to getting around.
Many countries, such as England, require you to maintain auto insurance on any vehicle on the road. They have similar requirements as the US, which means at the very least you will be required to carry liability insurance. This is also the case throughout Europe.
In any case, you will be able to purchase liability, collision and comprehensive coverage for most countries. This may not be required like it is in the US, but having this additional coverage may give you peace of mind as you are driving in an alien environment.
What to Look for When Buying Worldwide Car Insurance
When you are looking at a company that offers worldwide car insurance, there are some things that you will need to consider. Some of those things would be the same things you would consider if you were purchasing auto insurance strictly for the US, such as cost, coverage types, reputation of the company and so on.
You will also want to ask some questions:
- Can you understand your policy? – Some companies that sell international auto insurance aren’t US based and while they may be licensed to sell in the US, this doesn’t mean that they understand how to make someone form the US understand what they are buying. Before you agree to a policy, ask to read through a standard agreement to see if you understand everything about the policy. If there is terminology you don’t understand, ask for clarification in US English to see if the company can accommodate your needs.
- How are claims benefits paid? – If you have an accident, how is the insurance company going to pay you? Typically, you will want to choose a company that pays your claim in US dollars, not in the dollar amount of the country you are traveling. Imagine getting your benefit paid in rubles or pesos. In most cases, this would simply be unacceptable.
- Do your rates change as you travel? – This is an important question as some insurance companies will charge you based on the exchange rate which changes daily. This will typically only happen with a company that isn’t based in the US, but not every non-US company will do this. You want to be able to properly budget for your auto insurance and having a set rate is an important way of doing this.
- Can you change your policy without penalties? – Sometimes things happen as you are traveling and you want to make a change. Perhaps you want to reduce the amount of coverage you have or maybe your spouse joins you and you want to add him or her to the policy. In any case, you want to be able to make changes to your policy with the same ease as you can in the US.
- How easy is it to make a claim? – With most US based policies you can make a claim online 24/7 and expect to hear from an agent very quickly after an accident. Check to ensure you have the same ability, especially with a US based company, as it isn’t likely that an agent will be able to meet with you in person if an accident occurs.
You may have your own concerns with buying worldwide car insurance. Before you make a purchase, make sure you have all of your questions addressed.
The Cost of Worldwide Car Insurance
Much like buying regular car insurance, there are many factors that go into the decision of cost for international car insurance. One of the biggest factors, however, is where you are going to be driving. Getting insurance for driving in Canada, for example, is far less expensive than buying insurance for traveling in Germany.
With the exception of insurance for driving in Canada, you will find that worldwide car insurance is more expensive than insurance you can purchase in the US. Part of the reason for this is that you are going to be driving in an unfamiliar country with unfamiliar laws, which means you stand a higher chance of having a car accident.
You can get some of the same discounts on international car insurance as you can with US insurance. Driving a safe car, having a good driving record, taking driver safety courses and so on can all help reduce the cost of your worldwide car insurance.
Finding Companies that Sell Worldwide Car Insurance
Not every company sells worldwide car insurance and some of those that do choose outside companies to underwrite those policies. This isn’t a problem; you just need to be aware that even if a big name company offers you this type of policy, they may not be underwriting it themselves. Here are some tips:
- When you purchase worldwide car insurance, the insurance company doesn’t have to be licensed to sell insurance in your state. This makes it easier for you to find a wider selection of insurance companies to choose from. In addition, you can purchase worldwide car insurance coverage from international companies, although you should expect them to have more restrictions than if you purchase locally.
- Shopping around is the best way to ensure that you get the lowest rates for your international auto insurance, so make sure that you don’t accept the first quote you get.
- Before you purchase any worldwide car insurance coverage, you need to start by using a free quote tool. A free quote tool allows you to compare the rates of several reputable companies in a single location, taking the guesswork out of your purchase.
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