Obtaining car insurance for international driving becomes necessary for drivers who plan to drive abroad, especially if they are not using a rental car that includes insurance or if they are driving with an international driver’s license/permit for an extended period of time.
Business travelers and expatriates often find themselves needing to purchase international car insurance in order to protect themselves abroad in situations where they cannot obtain local coverage due to residency requirements.
Car insurance for international driving is indeed available in the United States, although it is a specialty product that is handled by only a small number of insurance underwriters and brokers.
Finding an International Automobile Insurance Policy
Some major U.S. auto insurance companies can arrange for international car insurance via partners abroad. The first place to check for international car insurance policies is often the broker or insurer which sells the driver’s present American coverage. In addition, some American policies are valid in Canada, Mexico and even Latin America, so drivers who will be operating cars in these countries may not need additional coverage or may only need a rider for their existing policies.
Drivers from the United States who need a car insurance policy that is valid in one particular country or region may be able to find it through a broker who services immigrants from that country in the U.S. Indeed, many immigrants and children of immigrants drive in their countries of origin when visiting, but no longer hold local insurance policies or driver’s licenses and they therefore find themselves in need of insurance for international driving. Some of these immigrant community brokers can be found online, whereas others are best found by visiting an immigrant neighborhood and asking for references from local merchants.
When a driver needs to purchase insurance which is valid worldwide or in several countries, a specialized expatriate insurance firm can provide the necessary coverage. Some general insurance agents do sell policies that are issued by expatriate insurance firms, and relocation specialists are often able to provide assistance or to arrange for insurance as part of a corporate or personal international relocation package.
What should car insurance for international driving cover?
Car insurance for international driving should provide coverage similar to that of an American policy, with limits for damages in the event of an accident often depending on local norms. Theft and damage due to accidents of all types should be covered by international car insurance, and limits should cover replacement of the car with a reasonable deductible.
As driving abroad can mean driving on unfamiliar roads and dealing with other drivers, mechanics and traffic policemen who may not speak English, a good international driving insurance policy should include some type of assistance to the policyholder in the event of an accident.
Expatriate insurance policies often include legal and even medical assistance along with car insurance for international driving, and when a U.S. driver intends to live and drive abroad for an extended period of time, such policies are usually the best way to guarantee that assistance will be available for any type of driving related incident.
If a policy for international driving is issued in the United States or intended for American drivers, and is offered through an American insurer by its international affiliates, it will often include features such as roadside assistance and legal representation, either as part of the basic policy or at an additional cost.
Insurance policies offered by foreign firms and that are offered by immigrant community brokers may or may not include such assistance. However, regardless of her origins, a professional broker in the United States will attempt to find a policy which suits the needs of her clients, and it is possible to find extended protection through immigrant community brokers as well.
A candidate for car insurance for international driving usually needs to have a valid international driver’s license, as well as to know where and for how long he will be driving. Details of the car being used abroad should be provided if available. Premiums and type of coverage necessary may be very different for different cars as well as for different situations, such as purchasing a car versus occasionally using a car belonging to a friend or contact.
Drivers who intend to drive abroad, and who are not intending to use a rental car which includes sufficient insurance coverage, should obtain car insurance for international driving while still in the U.S.A. If a driver’s usual broker or underwriter is unable to obtain this coverage, immigrant community brokers or expatriate insurance providers can probably arrange for a policy that covers American drivers abroad in the event of accident, theft, or other damage to the car that they plan to drive while outside of the United States.