International Car Insurance: How Does It Work?

There is car insurance in other countries, but just because you have car insurance does not mean you have international car insurance. Rental car insurance in other countries should always be researched before traveling. Car insurance in foreign countries has different rules depending on the location. Contacting international car insurance companies can help make international laws and regulations more clear.

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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: Jan 27, 2021

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Here's what you need to know...

  • Car insurance is available in many countries
  • Each country has its own rules regarding car insurance
  • Car insurance may not transfer from one country to the next
  • Car insurance can be public or private, dependent upon location
  • A free insurance comparison tool can help you find international car insurance Plans

The simple answer to this question is yes. However, not every country has or requires auto insurance coverage, and the requirements can vary significantly between countries.

Before you travel, it is best to familiarize yourself with the specific country’s insurance requirements and laws. It may also be beneficial to consult with a local DMV about driving abroad.

If your current US policy does not cover you for your trip or you need additional coverage, you can compare quotes easily and quickly with an online car insurance comparison tool.

Start comparing car insurance rates now by using our FREE tool above!

Is car insurance available in every country?

Options to insure your vehicle are available in most foreign countries. However, even if a policy is available for your destination, it is up to you to make sure that policy meets the country’s minimum requirements.

It is also important to note that different parts of the same country may have varying coverage requirements.

For instance, auto insurance laws in New Brunswick vary from those in Alberta, even though both are in Canada.

If you are confused about which policies you need, you can search for policies using free insurance quote comparison tool, which will provide you with multiple policies from multiple insurance companies.

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Is car insurance required in all countries?


Most countries do offer and require car insurance. However, insurance policies will differ. There are also varying degrees of requirements, coverage options, and laws regarding auto insurance, depending on your location.

For instance, some countries may require a minimum of liability insurance. Other countries may not require any auto insurance, and some destinations may offer public insurance.

If part of your travel plans involve driving through another country, be sure you know the specific country’s auto insurance requirements before you begin your road trip.

If you plan on renting a vehicle while abroad, tell the agency your specific locations and any countries you may travel through as you may need different policies for each location and transitional location.

You should also compare potential policies to the insurance laws of your destinations. To ensure you have the right coverage and understand the laws, you should consult with the foreign country’s embassy.

For more help, you may want to fill out a short insurance comparison form to see the various international car insurance prices for your destinations.

Am I eligible for public car insurance?

This will depend on your location as well as availability and eligibility requirements. For instance, some parts of Canada offer public car insurance, while others do not.

The best way to find out if you are eligible for public car insurance is to check with the specific motor vehicle registration office for your local area.

Do I need to change coverage during vacations to other countries?

Some neighboring countries will have policies that offer additional auto coverage for specified amounts of time.

Getting this type of insurance coverage is easiest if you rent a car in your destination country, but you may also be able to research international car insurance policies using a free comparison tool.

If you are traveling between neighboring countries, such as Mexico, United States, and Canada, check your current policy to see if you are covered.

Some US policies will cover this type of travel.

If you plan on traveling through multiple countries, you may need to purchase additional coverage options. Many times, this will require using various insurance policies from multiple carriers.

You may also need an International Driving Permit (IDP), along with your home state’s driver’s license. The cost of the IDP is generally low, and it could you save you from a multitude of issues while abroad.

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Stay Safe While Driving in Other Countries


While your current policy and license might potentially cover you during your vacation or move to another country, it is always wise to research insurance requirements beforehand.

This way, you will be fully protected in case of an accident, getting stopped by police, or any other auto incident.

An IDP is one of the best ways to ensure you are licensed properly, as is having the correct insurance coverage for the exact location you operate a vehicle in.

Being prepared with the proper information and coverage before you enter another country will save you from numerous potential driving problems and accidents while you are traveling.

If you need help finding the right coverage for your international travel needs, a free car insurance quote comparison tool may be able to help you.

With information provided by the tool, you will be able to make an informed decision on your travel insurance needs.

Start comparing car insurance rates now by entering your zip code in our FREE tool below!

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Enter your ZIP code below to view companies that have cheap car insurance rates.

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