How can I get international car insurance coverage?

International car insurance coverage is essential for personal and business travel with foreign operations. Some people assume their insurance policies automatically cover unexpected emergencies or accidents when traveling abroad. However, this is not necessarily the case. To find cheap international auto insurance quotes, simply enter your ZIP code into our FREE comparison tool above!

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Tonya Sisler has a Bachelor’s Degree from the University of South Carolina in Journalism and has worked for 15+ years in management. She has also completed a proofreading certification and is currently a professional writer.

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Brad Larson has been in the insurance industry for more than a dozen years. He started out as a claims adjuster for a national carrier. He has since switched to the agency side of the business. Brad is licensed in all P&C lines.

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Reviewed by Brad Larsen
Licensed Auto Insurance Agent

UPDATED: Oct 31, 2020

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Many people follow a checklist to prepare for international travel. Passport? Check. Immunizations? Check. Currency Exchange? Check. The list may continue with everything except international car insurance.

Some people assume their insurance policies automatically cover unexpected emergencies or accidents when traveling abroad. However, this is not necessarily the case. To find cheap car insurance quotes, simply enter your ZIP code into our FREE comparison tool above!

Not all domestic insurance policies include coverage for international travel, whether for business or pleasure. Particularly with car insurance, standard policies only protect your purchased or rented vehicle on domestic soil.

International car insurance coverage is essential for personal travel and for businesses with foreign operations. These policies provide protection for loss or damages according to insurance terms for that country or region.

Generally, international car insurance is not a common policy with most insurance providers. Nevertheless, you do have available options to purchase this insurance before traveling. You can make a wise purchase by taking advantage of comparison websites that offer quotes and descriptions of coverage.

What is International Car Insurance?

Basically, international car insurance is protection for you and the vehicle you drive while traveling anywhere outside the U.S. Some insurance companies provide coverage if you are driving in a neighboring country such as Canada or Mexico.

If you have travel plans to a country in Europe, South America or any other continent or foreign country, additional coverage is required.

Even if your car insurance policy includes coverage for neighboring countries, this coverage might be limited. Whether you are traveling to a neighboring country or much farther, driving on foreign roads may require more insurance protection than is needed at home.

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Identify Foreign Coverage Requirements for International Car Insurance

The minimum requirements for car insurance coverage may vary, even if your domestic insurance policy provides international coverage for Canada and Mexico. Find out what the minimum requirements for the country to which you are traveling.

Insurance providers that offer international coverage should provide this information to you. This information should also be available through insurance comparison websites that offer quotes.

In some cases, overseas car rental companies provide minimum car insurance coverage. You might consider purchasing amounts equivalent to what you carry in the U.S.

Another consideration is purchasing an international driving permit (IDP). According to the State Department, an IDP is recognized as an official driver’s license in 10 foreign languages since most countries do not accept the U.S. version.

You can purchase an IDP from an authorized association before leaving for your trip. You will need the following to apply:

  • Be 18 or older
  • Have two photographs, passport size
  • Have a valid U.S. driver’s license

Information Needed to Obtain an International Car Insurance Quote

Actual information requested by insurance companies for international coverage may vary. Generally, all providers will need to know the purpose of your visit to a foreign country, e.g. whether it is personal or business.

Since minimum requirements vary among countries, you will need to provide the country’s name. Additional information may also include your length of stay and the types of coverage needed. Many policies include collision, comprehensive and liability insurance.

Features of a Good International Car Insurance Policy

Like domestic policies, you want to adequate car insurance for protection from the unexpected. Comparing the policy offerings of several different companies is the best way to ensure you receive quality coverage and affordable rates.

Consider the following features that should be included in a good international car insurance policy:

  • No premium increases, even if there are changes to the exchange rate during the policy period
  • Car insurance policies written in English
  • Flexibility in payment plans
  • Convenient international offices
  • Claims settlement in U.S. dollars
  • International claims service with 24 hour access

There are other considerations that you may discuss with an insurance broker or research online. The important factors to remember are whether the policy provides specific coverage for the right foreign country.

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International Car Insurance for Corporations

Multinational corporations can also benefit from international car insurance. Many of these corporations have U.S. employees who either make brief trips to, or live in or live for business purposes. Some providers offer an option to use international car insurance for these purposes.

Car insurance is important for corporations that operate outside the U.S. Generally, corporations can also take advantage of the various options and rates available to individuals. Finding the right international car insurance policy depends on the specific needs of the corporation.

International car insurance policies are available for either short-term or long-term business travel. As the name suggests, short-term car insurance provides coverage to employees in a foreign country such as the United Kingdom. Short-term policies might cover employees for up to 28 days.

Likewise, long-term international car insurance extends coverage for a longer period. Additional stipulations may apply based on a 90 day stay or longer.

Corporations may need to consider more options of coverage than an individual traveler to a foreign country. In general, several different policy options are available for corporations. The policy will depend on the reasons for purchasing international car insurance. These include:

  1. International car insurance for a fleet when the corporation manages a group of vehicles outside the U.S.
  2. International car insurance for single executive or other employee travel
  3. Additional coverage beyond car insurance, including personal liability, kidnapping or acts of war

Commercial Fleet International Car Insurance

When comparing international car insurance plans for a commercial fleet, corporations may have two options. Some domestic insurance providers offer plans to secure fleets used abroad. Additionally, corporations may wish to compare offerings from insurance companies that operate locally in the foreign country.

Single Executive International Car Insurance

A short-term trip for a single employee may only require finding a policy online that provides basic coverage. Some insurance comparison sites can assist corporations with securing quotes from several different providers.

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Supplemental Insurance Coverage Considerations

Traveling to unstable countries is sometimes unavoidable for business. Purchasing additional coverage for employees is important for corporations to consider. Many insurance companies can provide quotes for coverage plans such as kidnapping or extortion. While this may seem unconscionable, it pays to have additional coverage and be prepared for the worse.

Corporations can also use comparison websites to find more details about supplemental insurance for international travels. Existing insurance policies might have some coverage protections. However, those that do not might have discounted options that protect employees on foreign soil.

Individual and business travelers can benefit greatly from having adequate international car insurance. Careful review of a current car insurance policy may indicate some coverage protections, but not enough to meet minimum foreign requirements. Use our FREE car insurance quote generator by putting in your ZIP code!

Anyone can get international car insurance coverage and travel with peace of mind. Online comparison sites can become a one-stop shop when a domestic policy does not provide this coverage. Understanding the requirements in the foreign country and what to expect in the policies can aid in making the right choices.

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