Foreign License Auto Insurance
Foreign License auto insurance can be very difficult to find cheap rates for. Many auto insurance companies do offer auto insurance for drivers with a Foreign or International license. This is more expensive than a driver licensed in the states would pay in most situations. Due to driving in America is different than driving in other nations. Each nation has their own speed limits and driving habits so it can be very different and a hard adjustment to drive in a new place. Since car insurance is required to drive and own a car in America even if you are a foreign driver, makes it very important to keep your auto insurance policy active not matter your situation. We hope this information helps provide you with the tools to find cheap auto insurance if you have a foreign license.
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How do you drive in America with a Foreign Driver's License?
Getting all of the required stuff to get your driver's license in a big hassle regardless of where you are from. But if you have an international license, it can be even more difficult. If you are just a short-term resident of the U.S., we recommend purchasing insurance from your rental car company. This is the easiest most affordable way to get legal to drive. If you are moving here, going to college here, or staying long term we recommend going through process of getting your U.S. license and purchasing a true auto insurance policy. To be a legal driver in the U.S. you will need to have a valid license from the state you reside in and have at least state minimum liability insurance for the state you reside in or have a driver's license or permit from the county you are coming from.
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Auto insurance with an international drivers permit
If you do not have an active license anywhere it does help to at least have an International Driving Permit. This will serve as proof that you are licensed to drive in the place you are from. It is important to remember this is not a valid driver's license. It will serve as a translation for your international license and should be accompanied with your license from the country you are from. You will need to pass all of your native country’s driving requirements first and have a legal license from your home country. These two documents show the proof of your driving ability. The U.S. doesn’t require you to take a driving test here to be able to drive legally if you have both of these documents.
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How to get an International Driving Permit
If you are 18 or older and have a valid driver's license you are able to apply for an International Driver’s Permit. The cost and location of where to do this depends on what country you reside in. It is wise to contact your nation’s transportation and regulation department to help you get this process started. It is important to note that you cannot apply for and IDP in America, it hast to be completed before arriving here. You much get your international driver’s license permit issued in the same country your license is issued.
Auto insurance requirements in America
Auto insurance in America is regulated per state and usually priced per zip code or territory. Different insurance companies will have different territory settings. All drivers on the road are required to carry state minimum liability limits to be on the road driving legally. These required liability limits require both property damage and bodily injury liability protection. In addition to this liability coverage some states require you to carry Personal Injury Protection which is also called “PIP” instead of Bodily Injury liability. One state this is the case is Florida which is also one of the largest auto insurance markets in the country.
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How to get auto insurance in the United States
There are several ways to get auto insurance in America even though you are not a citizen. The two main ways are through a rental car company or through a true insurance company. If you are just on vacation in America, we recommend just purchase insurance through your rental car company. It is much cheaper and less of a hassle.
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If you do decide to stay in the U.S. for a while you will need to purchase auto insurance from an American based insurance carrier. This can be a challenge in some circumstances because some insurance companies to not offer coverage for a driver with an international license. We have found that nonstandard auto insurance companies have the best rates for international drivers. These are companies that specialize in higher risk auto insurance coverage and work with auto insurance brokers called nonstandard auto insurance agencies.
Here are some prominent nonstandard auto insurance agencies:
- La Familia
- Cheapest Auto Insurance
- Best Insurance
Click here to read more about auto insurance brokers who provide coverage for international drivers
As far as the companies that these agencies write for, here are some nonstandard auto insurance companies to choose from:
- Save Money Car Insurance
Click here to read more about auto insurance companies for foreign drivers
If you do not have a U.S. license it can be difficult for auto insurance companies to view your driving record and give you an accurate price. For instance, if you had 5 accidents in Mexico the insurance company you choose in America would never know that and can't price your auto insurance accurately. Many auto insurance companies will charge points on your auto insurance policy for not having a U.S. license usually anywhere from 2-4 points which can correlate to about a 15%-30% surcharge on your monthly premium.
When you are shopping around for auto insurance quotes without a U.S. license, we recommend you asking the insurance company first before you ever get a quote if they accept a Foreign License and how much is there surcharge so you don’t waste your time.
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Auto Insurance for undocumented immigrants
If you are and immigrant to America and want to stay here long term it is a good idea to purchase a car and purchase auto insurance on it as well. Finding cheap auto insurance without being a U.S. Citizen can be a challenge and sometimes expensive. But there are ways you can still find affordable car insurance.
Here are some of the discounts you can ask you insurance company for as an undocumented citizen:
- Sign up for auto pay
- Sign up for paperless billing
- Pay your policy in full for 6 months
- Take a defensive driving course
- Keep your insurance policy active for 6 months
The two best things you can do though is to get as many quotes as possible and keep a clear driving record. These are keys to finding affordable car insurance.
Click here to read more about getting cheap insurance quotes for foreign drivers
Currently there are 11 states who all undocumented immigrants to obtain a driver's license, and here they are:
You are able to apply for a driver's license through your residing states DMV or you can use the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program which is also called DACA. This will allow you to get car insurance easier.
Auto insurance for short term international visitors
Visitors to the U.S. on a short-term basis do not need to purchase a true auto insurance policy. The easiest way to get covered quickly and efficiently is to purchase the car insurance from your rental car company or not drive at all and just use ride sharing services. The rental car insurance is definitely a bare bones policy but does provide you with the protection from major accident protection. Longer term visitors in most states will be required to get a valid driver's license. Even though this is a hassle it will help you save on auto insurance costs.
Click here to read more purchasing car insurance from a rental car company
How does international car insurance work?
Getting auto insurance if you have an international license may be more expensive but the process is the same as purchasing normal auto insurance if you had U.S. license. There is no such thing as an International insurance policy but it is rather a surcharge that most auto insurance carriers add in as points on your record, in most cases 2-4 points. There are companies like Mexipass that offer auto insurance coverage specifically to Mexico. This would be a policy that would be considered an international insurance policy in a sense.
Which auto insurance companies are best for foreign drivers?
Here are some of the top auto insurance companies for drivers with a foreign license:
- Safe Auto
- The General
- Save Money Car Insurance
As we mentioned above nonstandard auto insurance companies are usually the best bet for foreign drivers to find affordable rates.
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Auto insurance companies that sell policies online to foreign or international drivers
There are not a lot of carriers that offer online auto insurance coverage for foreign drivers. Many auto insurance carriers want to underwrite this risk more due to them not being able to run their driving record. They feel this is more of a risk for them since the driving record is one of the biggest factors that auto insurance companies look at.
Here are a few insurance companies we found who offer online auto insurance for foreign drivers:
- Save Money Car Insurance
Click here to learn more about online car insurance for foreign drivers
What is the average cost of car insurance for foreign driver's license?
There is no way to give an exact rate for drivers with a foreign license since there are so many factors that go into auto insurance rates. We have found on average that drivers without a U.S. license will pay around 25% more than a driver who has an active U.S. license. If you are a foreign driver wanting the cheapest possible auto insurance policy then your best is purchasing state minimum liability only with no extra coverages. But you must remember that this only covers the damage you do to other people not the damage done to your car. If you want your car covered then you will need to purchase full coverage insurance. But this will cost about twice as much as liability so depending on your financial situation this is a decision that will need great thought and guidance from your insurance agent.
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Also, your zip code is a big factor in how much you pay. If you live in a large metro area like Houston you will pay more compared to a smaller town like Sherman you would pay much less. Before you purchase a vehicle, we recommend calling around numerous insurance companies to get as many quotes as possible. This will increase your chances of finding more affordable car insurance.
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Additional resources for finding cheap foreign license auto insurance quotes:
Foreign license insurance FAQs:
Does foreign driving experience come into account when I purchase car insurance in U.S.?
Your driving record from another country will not transfer to the U.S. Driving in different countries can differ dramatically depending on what country you are in.
So insurance companies will consider you a new driver.
Should I get a U.S. license?
If you are moving to America on a permanent or long-term basis and you own a car then we recommend you getting a U.S. license. We know it can be a hassle to do this but it will save and protect you in the long run.
Why does my credit score effect my car insurance prices?
Insurance companies feel credit score correlates with responsibility and likelihood of turning in a claim. This is very debatable though, many auto insurance companies still do not use this as a rating factor. It is more your national carriers that use credit as a factor.
Click here to watch more about how credit effects car insurance
Can I get auto insurance with a foreign license?
Yes, you can get auto insurance with a foreign license. It may cost more than it would if you have a U.S. license but it is doable. On average car insurance prices increase by about 25% if you have a foreign license, so it does save you to get a U.S. license.
Click here to watch more about the importance of driving with active car insurance
Is car insurance more expensive for foreign cars?
Yes and no, for liability only auto insurance foreign cars are the same price to be insured than an American made car. But on full coverage it is a different story and it can be much more expensive to insure a foreign car due to the cost to repair it can be very expensive.
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