If you are going to drive while staying in the United States, you are obliged to purchase auto insurance. This rule refers to expats and students coming to the U.S. on a visa, as well as diplomats, foreign workers – any non US citizen. In terms of car insurance international drivers license owners have a variety of options. Having read this article, you will understand the pros and cons of these options, and also get important details about applying for an international driver’s license, the laws working in this sphere etc.
Car insurance options for those coming to the U.S. on a visa
If you are a non U.S. citizen who arrived here not long ago, you will surely have to pay a lot more than an average U.S. citizen. It’s hardly a surprise as newly arrived drivers don’t have a local driving record, which is quite important for an insurance company (insurer needs your driving record as a base for calculating your premium). You also don’t have U.S. credit history. No wonder most insurance providers will offer you higher rates than for U.S. citizens with a similar background.
However some companies specialize in covering non-residents and promise that they do not treat their clients this way: they calculate your rates based on the driving record from your home country. So if it is impeccable, getting lower premiums is more likely.
Here’re four car insurance options for international drivers.
- Renting a vehicle that is already insured
This is a smart choice for those who are not going to stay in this country for more than six months. Most of these people prefer to rent a car, and car insurance in this case typically comes automatically. However you will probably have to pay additional fee.
- Being added to someone’s car insurance policy
This option is often used by those who have a family member in the state they are visiting. The family member just adds you to his own car insurance policy. He or she will have to pay an additional fee (as far as adding an international driver is not free), and then you give this sum of money back to him or her. Anyway, it is much cheaper than purchasing a separate auto policy on your own.
- Using your credit card
That’s one more way of getting car insurance international drivers license owners can use. If this option is available, it means that you can get insurance automatically when you rent a vehicle using your credit card. It can be quite appealing, as it allows you to get coverage with no additional fee. However this kind of coverage is not always available for international drivers, so it makes sense to enquire about it in your credit card company and the rental car company.
- Traditional auto insurance
Choosing an insurance provider in the United States can be a challenge for a foreign visitor as he or she doesn’t know the market very well. So to find the best deal, you’ll have to shop around. Luckily there are a lot of online resources that have information on this topic. For instance, you can compare auto insurance quotes online. Use our insurance center: with its help it’s possible to research U.S. insurance providers who work with international drivers.
Auto insurance regulations
Before purchasing car insurance international drivers license owners may use online resources to learn a lot about laws and regulations existing in this country. Visiting the U.S. and staying here comes with many regulations, so why not do some research before leaving your home country? In this case there is a chance of getting certain privileges and thus making your life here more convenient. One of them is driving. What should be done for this? Actually many laws vary from state to state, so it’s a good idea to find any specific laws. Contact the Department of Motor Vehicles in the state you will visit. In addition to this information and everything you will find online, there another important recourse: U.S. embassy in your home country.
And don’t forget that new laws are introduced very often, so it makes sense to check for any information even if it’s not your first time in this country.
One more thing you should do before leaving your home country is applying for an international driver’s permit. Typically this process is not very difficult but still the application should be filed in time, otherwise you will have problems driving in the U.S. Typically you can not apply for an international permit from the United States (however there are exceptions).
Another important point you need to take into consideration: if you want to buy car insurance international drivers license is obligatory. In other words, you can not purchase an auto policy if you don’t have an international driver’s permit.
How long are you going to stay in this country? This is a very important question, as if your visit lasts more that one year, you will have to apply for a permit in the state where you live. That is a general rule, which does not work in all the states.