Understanding Expat Car Insurance Options

Expat car insurance is needed when you're driving a vehicle abroad. You can buy it from either a U.S.-based company or an overseas company. Rates average $123 per month.

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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: May 23, 2020

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Here's what you need to know...

  • “Expat” is a term used by many European car insurance companies when writing policies for non-citizens
  • You don’t have to purchase your own vehicle in order to purchase expat car insurance
  • As long as you are driving a vehicle abroad, you need to purchase expat car insurance
  • You can choose to purchase expat car insurance from either a U.S. based company or an overseas company
  • Rates for expat car insurance average $123 a month.

Expat is short for the word expatriates, which means a person who lives outside their native country.

Today expat is more of a legal term and can be found in tax codes outside the U.S. for people who are working in other countries but have to pay taxes there.

If you are planning to spend more than 30 days overseas, you will probably have to use an internationally based company to purchase your insurance.

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Why do I have to purchase expat car insurance?

The U.S. isn’t the only country in the world with car insurance laws in place. Although your coverage may be called different things when you travel, the premise is the same.

You have to carry certain minimums on the vehicle you drive.

In the UK, in order to drive a vehicle, you have to have proof of your insurance posted on the windshield of your vehicle.

This is sort of like an inspection sticker in the U.S. or the tag they put on your license plate to show how long your vehicle will be legally registered.

While you may not be traveling in the UK, you need to understand that many countries have very strict laws regarding car insurance and you want to ensure that you abide by those laws.

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Can I insure my car with a foreign company?

Unfortunately, not every insurance company sells expat car insurance.

Some companies, such as Progressive, will direct you to an underwriter that will sell you an expat policy under the Progressive umbrella.

Even overseas you will find that not all companies offer expat car insurance.

If you are going to spend an extended amount of time in another country, you should consider buying insurance from an insurance company in the country you will be driving in.

That way if you have an accident, it will be easy for you to contact someone about that accident.

If the company you buy from is based in the U.S., you are going to have to deal with time changes and lack of in-person experience.

Where can I buy expat car insurance?

Just like the car insurance you would buy in the U.S., you can purchase expat car insurance online. Additionally, you have the same quote tool options that you get when you shop for insurance in the U.S.

You will find that it is easy to compare expat car insurance rates between companies using a quote tool. Instead of using your ZIP code as the origin, you will have to start with the country you will be driving in.

A quick tip when selecting an expat car insurance company is to read through the website carefully to ensure that you understand everything they have to offer.

In addition, ask for a standard contract and read through it before signing it. If there is something you don’t understand ask about it or move on!

Get a free online car insurance quote for your travels right now.


  1. https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/expatriate
  2. https://www.keithmichaels.co.uk/specialist-car-insurance/expat-car-insurance/
  3. https://www.progressive.com/experience/home-z/
  4. https://www.clements.com/intl-car
  5. https://www.geico.com/information/about/

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