International Car Insurance | Finding Car Insurance Abroad for US Drivers

You should purchase international car insurance coverage that matches your coverage at home. International car insurance companies will cover your personal vehicle or rental if you choose to drive it overseas. Book all your reservations and buy insurance before leaving on your trip to avoid miscommunications and extra fees once you are out of the country.

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A former insurance producer, Laura understands that education is key when it comes to buying insurance. She has happily dedicated many hours to helping her clients understand how the insurance marketplace works so they can find the best car, home, and life insurance products for their needs.

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Joel Ohman is the CEO of a private equity backed digital media company. He is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, author, angel investor, and serial entrepreneur who loves creating new things, whether books or businesses. He has also previously served as the founder and resident CFP® of a national insurance agency, Real Time Health Quotes. He has an MBA from the University of South Florida. Jo...

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Reviewed by Joel Ohman
Founder & CFP®

UPDATED: Jul 30, 2020

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Here's what you need to know...

  • You can drive your own car in other countries, even if you don’t have an official driver’s license for the country
  • Most countries that are America-friendly with will accept an International Driving Permit (IDP) which translates your license into ten different languages
  • When buying insurance overseas, a good rule of thumb is to buy as much car insurance as you would in your home state, even if it is more expensive
  • Book all your reservations and buy insurance before leaving on your trip to avoid miscommunications and extra fees once you are out of the country

When you travel to another country, it is a thrilling ride, especially when you drive on the roads of an exotic country. There’s only one problem: Your car insurance doesn’t apply when you’re overseas, mate!

Before you head out on the wrong side of the road, look up policies for car insurance rates abroad by entering your ZIP code now!

Driving Requirements Abroad


It is not the norm for everyday travelers to drive their own vehicle through the country, but it’s certainly not against the rules.

If you are by some chance bringing along your new Ferrari, then you will need to apply for an International Driving Permit (IDP).

Depending on the length of your stay, you may also need to apply for a short-term driver’s license in the country you are visiting.

The most likely scenario is that you will purchase car insurance from the same company from which you rent the vehicle. While you can get comprehensive coverage this way, this is not necessarily your only option. You can also insure your vehicle using a third party company.

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Collisions and General Liability Abroad

Most other countries besides the U.S. car the requirements for insurance are minimal, especially when compared to high waiver policies in the U.S.

Regardless of which company you choose, have some form of insurance policy ready so that you are covered for collisions or general liability.

You don’t want to risk returning the overseas rental to the company in bad shape; after all, they have your credit card!

Do not assume that you can get by with minimal coverage, even if it is allowable.

While your United States rental insurance policy may seem overly expensive in comparison to your new one, this extra cost is protecting you from higher personal liability.

As you might suspect, having general liability or collision coverage for your home state means nothing when you are overseas. You must arrange for an insurance policy in the local region, or else you will have to pay any damages right out of your pocket.

The only exception is if you are visiting a country that borders the United States, such as Canada or Mexico.

Some of your trusted insurance providers do provide liability coverage when you are north or south of the border. You have to check with your company to see if they offer car insurance

You have to check with your company to see if they offer car insurance abroad and if your policy meets the minimum insurance requirements. Some insurance providers will even downgrade your superior full coverage policy to a minimum amount of coverage!

Last Minute Considerations Before Traveling

RV camping by a fjord in Norway

You also have to beware of time-restrictive policies that insurance companies abroad might set. Some insurance providers will only cover vehicles for a certain period of days; perhaps three or 30. You must find this information out.

When it comes to saving money on overseas or abroad car insurance, some of the same American rules apply in other countries just as well.

  • It saves you money if you book car rentals and insurance in advance; do not pay for convenience. Make sure you know what time the car is expected for drop off; the fact that the office is opened 24-hours doesn’t always mean drop-off is a breeze.
  • Many countries have a minimum and maximum age for drivers. Their standards may be stricter; some drivers under 25 and older than 65 must be prepared to pay surcharges.
  • Lastly, consider ordering a stick shift car, as these models tend to be cheaper insurance-wise than automatic cars.

As with any insurance policy, be prepared to shop around for an ideal contract. Book your reservation and your insurance policy online.

In fact, you should book all of your arrangements while in the U.S., not only to save money but also to avoid any complications or misunderstandings when abroad.

It is a wise move to research company names before signing an insurance agreement with them. Be sure that the company is reliable, well established, and seen favorably by other insured drivers.

You can start searching for overseas car insurance right now! Use our comparison tool to get started. Just enter your ZIP code!



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