U.S. Auto Insurance for Foreigners

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Here's what you need to know...
  • It is easy for tourists to purchase cars while traveling in the U.S.
  • If you want to purchase car insurance as a non-U.S. citizen, many companies require a U.S. address and zip code
  • Before traveling to the U.S., you should contact insurance companies to see if they will offer you coverage


If you are a tourist considering purchasing and insuring a car while in the U.S., you can do so, but the process is not as easy as it is for a citizen.

Why would you even want to buy a car while traveling abroad? A person who wants to visit the United States for an extended trip may be interested in buying an inexpensive vehicle to use while they are in the country, selling it before they go home.

There are also other ways to arrange transportation while in the United States that may not be as pricey as trying to receive car insurance without a U.S. driver’s license.

Take a look at the options, hurdles, and solutions below and then enter a U.S. zip code above to receive car insurance quotes from multiple companies!

Buying a Car in the United States

Row of used four by four motorcars also known as 4x4, SUV, off road, utility vehicle, ute or Station wagon arranged for sale on a motor dealers forecourt these types are becoming popular choices to buy as a new family car with off road capability but just as comfortable on the school run.

A dealer in the U.S. will likely sell a vehicle to a person who is visiting the country. The tourist also has the option of buying a vehicle from a private seller.

If the transaction is made through a private seller, the purchaser will need to make sure that they see valid ownership papers for the vehicle.

For the sale to be a legal one, both parties are required to go to the local office of the state motor vehicle bureau. They must sign documents to affirm the sale and register the new ownership of the vehicle.

The buyer will be required to pay a registration fee, as well as sales tax on the purchase. At this point, the buyer can purchase plates for the vehicle.

Once the documents have been signed, the new owner is required to keep a copy of the vehicle registration and proof of insurance in the vehicle at all times.

Insurance for Foreign Car Buyers

While buying a car in the United States without a U.S. driver’s license is easy, getting insurance coverage can be challenging.

In many cases, an insurance company requires a state-issued driver’s license before it will issue an insurance policy.

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Some companies will simply refuse to issue a policy to non-resident drivers, and the ones who are willing to provide this type of coverage may charge higher rates than they would offer to U.S. residents.

In most parts of the United States, car owners are required to have bodily injury liability coverage in place. This coverage protects the occupants in the other vehicle if a car accident occurs.

The insurance pays for the cost of medical bills, funeral expenses, lost wages, and other expenses incurred by those injured in the accident.

Any expenses above the policy limit (less the deductible) must be paid for by the car owner personally.

Driving without insurance, whether an accident occurs or not, is a criminal offense. The penalty for doing so varies from state to state and may include a fine or having the vehicle seized.

Many insurance companies want car owners to have a valid address in the United States before issuing an insurance policy.

The insurance needs to be issued before the car can be legally registered.

Anyone considering a lengthy stay in the U.S. who wants to buy a car should do his or her homework before traveling.

Shopping For Car Insurance

Close-up image of an administrative assistant answering a phone call at the office

Fortunately for people who want to buy a car for their use while visiting the United States, they can start looking for car insurance coverage before they arrive.

The internet makes it easy to research insurance companies and shop for coverage online.

The best way to proceed is to start looking at insurance options well in advance of the departure date. The visitor can confirm that a U.S.-based insurance company is willing to extend coverage and how much it will cost.

It’s a good idea to start with the basics when looking for insurance coverage for visitors to the United States.

The visitor will want to check with various insurance companies to see whether they offer this type of coverage first.

Then the visitor will need to have an idea about the make and model of vehicle they will be buying so that they can get a quote for coverage.

The insurance company may need to ask a series of questions to learn more about the tourist and his or her plans before making a decision about whether to extend coverage, but the first step in the process is to find an insurer offering this type of policy.

Enter your zip code below to find car insurance rates from multiple companies today!

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