Whether you're here for a visit or to start a new life, one of the first things that come to mind is the ability to drive. Obviously, having a driver's license is the first step. However, in addition to a license, and unlike in many other countries, you must have auto insurance in order to drive.
It can be hard to find low-cost foreign license auto insurance. Many car insurance companies provide coverage for drivers with a foreign or international license. In most cases, this is more costly than what a driver with a valid state license would pay. Due to the fact that driving in America is not the same as driving in other countries.
Each country has its own speed limits and driving habits, so driving in a new place can be very different and difficult to adjust to. Because auto insurance is needed to drive and own a car in America, even if you are a foreign driver, it is critical to keep your auto insurance policy active regardless of your situation.
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How to get car insurance in the U.S. with a foreign license
Regardless of where you are from, obtaining all of the necessary paperwork to obtain your driver's license is a major hassle. It may be even more difficult if you have an international license. We recommend purchasing insurance from your rental car company if you are only visiting the United States for a short period of time.
It may make sense to purchase insurance from an American insurance provider if you are relocating to the United States or planning to stay in the country for an extended period of time. You'll need insurance and a driver's license from your home country, as well as an International Driving Permit if necessary, in order to drive legally in the United States as a foreign driver.
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Foreign license auto insurance
Car insurance with an international drivers' permit
An international driving permit (IDP) is a recognized form of identification in more than 150 countries. It contains important information about you that has been translated into ten different languages.
It's a must-have piece of identification for travelers because it shows:
- Driver information
It is advantageous to have an International Driving Permit as a foreign driver in America. An IDP is a proof that you have a valid driver's license in your home country. A valid driver's license is not an IDP. It merely serves as a translation for your foreign license and should always be kept with your home country's license.
You must first meet the legal driving requirements of your home country and have a valid driver's license from your home country. These two documents together provide proof of driving ability. If you have both a foreign license and an IDP, you will not be required to take a sequential driving test in the United States.
How to get an IDP
If you are over the age of 18 and have a valid driver's license, you can apply for an international driver's permit. The procedure for obtaining your IDP may differ depending on your home country. Consult your country's transportation and regulation department.
Remember that you cannot apply for an IDP in the United States because it must be done before you arrive. Furthermore, your IDP must be issued by the same country that issued your license.
U.S. car insurance requirements
With a few exceptions, many drivers are expected to carry liability insurance, which contains both bodily injury and property damage coverage. There are a few no-fault states in the United States where you must carry Personal Injury Protection rather than bodily injury insurance.
You'll be required to have Collision and Comprehensive coverage if you're leasing or financing your vehicle. The functions of these coverages are described briefly below.
Bodily injury liability: compensates other drivers or pedestrians for their medical bills and costs. This is a per-person, per-accident coverage. The state's minimum bodily injury liability insurance, for example, maybe $30,000 per person and $60,000 per accident.
- Property damage liability: compensates for any damage you cause to property This is only applicable per accident.
- Uninsured/underinsured: this coverage applies to property damage and bodily injury if the at-fault driver does not have protection or enough insurance to cover your medical or property damages.
- Personal injury protection (PIP): this is mandatory in no-fault states and it covers your medical expenses following an accident regardless of fault. It depends on your state, you may be required to purchase this and bodily injury liability coverage, or just PIP coverage.
- Collision: Collision coverage assists in covering the cost of repairs to your vehicle if it is struck by another vehicle. It may also contribute to the cost of repairs if you collide with another vehicle or object. That is, you can use it whether or not you are at fault.
- Comprehensive: This helps cover your vehicle from damage caused by factors other than a collision, such as theft, vandalism, weather, and animal-related claims.
Additional resources on auto insurance
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How to get auto insurance in the U.S.
As a non-citizen, you can obtain insurance from a car rental company or a car insurance company. Consider purchasing insurance from your rental car company if you're on vacation in the United States. This will be less expensive and take less time.
If you plan to stay in America for an extended period of time, you'll need to purchase insurance from a company based in the country. This can be challenging for a variety of purposes. Some insurance companies refuse to insure drivers who do not have valid driver's licenses in the United States. Insurance companies have a difficult time reviewing your driving history or credit score if you don't have a valid driver's license in the United States.
Some insurance companies in the United States provide coverage for foreign drivers (rates may be higher). Farmers and Progressive both allow applicants to state that they have a foreign driver's license on their quote pages, indicating that they are willing to sell policies to foreign drivers. The Zebra collaborates with insurance companies across the United States to assist foreign and domestic drivers in obtaining car insurance quotes.
How much does car insurance for a foreign driver's license cost on average?
Because auto insurance rates are determined by so many factors, it is impossible to provide an exact rate for drivers with a foreign license. We discovered that drivers without a U.S. license will pay approximately 25% more than drivers with an active U.S. license.
You should purchase state minimum liability only with no additional coverages if you are a foreign driver looking for the cheapest auto insurance policy possible. However, keep in mind that this only covers damage to other people, not damage to your car.
You must buy full coverage insurance if you want your car to be covered. However, this will cost approximately twice as much as liability, so based on the financial predicament, this is an action that will require careful consideration and assistance from your insurance agent.
Is it possible to get auto insurance discounts if I have a foreign driver's license?
The likelihood of receiving auto insurance discounts with a license from your country of origin is dependent on your circumstances. There are usually no discounts available for short-term insurance.
Assume your question is, "Can I get auto insurance with a foreign license and get discounts on longer coverage?" The answer is almost always yes. Most traditional insurance policies provide a variety of discounts that result in low-cost auto insurance. The specific ones available will be determined by the company from which you obtain car insurance.
Some common insurance discounts include for those:
- Vehicle safety features
- Vehicle anti-theft features
- Insuring multiple vehicles
- Bundling with another insurance policy, such as homeowner's or renters' insurance
- Low mileage and usage
- Being accident-free
- Taking a defensive driving course
Learn more about auto insurance discounts here
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Cheap car insurance guide
Car insurance for undocumented immigrants in the U.S.
Consider purchasing a car and insuring it If you plan to stay in the United States for a long time. Finding car insurance as an undocumented citizen can be difficult, but in some states, it is possible.
Undocumented citizens must have a valid driver's license in order to apply for insurance because the majority of car insurance companies require it before they can sell you a policy.
Insurance companies in states that issue driver's licenses to undocumented immigrants are permitted to sell auto insurance policies to undocumented immigrants who do not have proof of legal status in the United States.
To be a legal driver in the United States, you must have a valid driver's license from your home state and at least state minimum liability insurance, or a driver's license or permit from the county you are visiting.