How do travelers get car insurance?

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Things to know...
  • Car insurance is compulsory in most US states. However, not all cars on American roads are driven by residents.
  • Travelers in the United States can drive rental cars or borrow a vehicle from a friend or a family member residing in the country, but they have to get the necessary car insurance to drive.
  • The type of coverage a traveler is required to purchase will depend on the type of the vehicle, who owns it, and its value.
  • Most states require liability coverage (or liability with wilful damage, theft, and fire) and personal injury protection.


Most U.S. states have auto insurance liability requirements. Some of them don’t stop at liability coverage, they go further and mandate coverages such as uninsured/underinsured motorist protection. Both residents and non-residents are required to carry the state-mandated level of coverage when driving in a particular state.

When looking to buy car insurance, shop around and compare quotes from several auto insurance providers to increase your chances of getting a better deal.

Border patrol guards in Canada and Mexico are required to ensure that non-U.S. visitors from any of the neighboring countries have the required level of car insurance and an international driver’s permit before they are allowed into the country.

If you are coming from any other foreign country and want to drive around, you can get a rental from any of the car hire services at the airport or elsewhere, just make sure that you have sufficient car insurance.

Learn more about travel insurance below and make sure to use our free insurance comparison tool above today!

Travel Car Insurance

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Travel car insurance is an auto insurance product designed to protect policyholders when they travel out of state. Travel car insurance can also provide coverage for non-U.S. residents when they come to visit for business or pleasure.

If you are a resident of the United States, you can add travel auto insurance coverage when you travel out of state or to neighboring countries such as Canada or Mexico.

Foreigners driving in the United States can also purchase travel insurance for their rental car. When shopping for travel auto insurance coverage, compare quotes from as many providers as you can. You are probably going to be needing the coverage briefly and you want to make sure that you get the best deal.

Travel Car Insurance Plans and Rental Cars

Rental cars are included in a travel car insurance plan either as an add-on when you hire a car or as part of the policy. This coverage ensures that you will not be liable for the losses if your rental car is stolen or damaged during your trip. In the case of an accident, the car hire company will not impose all the charges on you, most of them will be covered by your travel car insurance provider.

Where can travelers get travel car insurance plans?

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Many auto insurance providers offer travel insurance plans for customers on the move, so you probably won’t have trouble getting coverage.

Some people have coverage for rental vehicles when they travel covered in their credit cards, but credit card coverage plans come with policy limits that may not be of much help if there is extensive damage. That is why most people supplement it with a rental car coverage on their travel insurance plans.

Getting into an accident anywhere can be frustrating, but getting in an accident in a foreign country, however minor, is much worse. Travel car insurance can help keep you safe and prepared for such an occurrence.

Compare as many quotes as you can when purchasing travel car insurance to ensure that you are getting proper coverage at an affordable cost. Keep in mind that not all countries accept rental coverage if it’s not bought from within the country.

Losses and Problems Covered By Travel Insurance

Travel insurance car insurance is designed to provide protection for anything that’s not in your control when the car is in your possession. If the car sustains any damages due to events such as flooding, hail, fire, windstorm, or collision, your travel insurance plan will cover the damages. The coverage will also replace the vehicle if it’s stolen in your possession. However, the coverage only pays for the damages to the vehicle and will not cover any valuable items in the car.

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Are there any exclusions on your travel insurance plan?

Travel car insurance, especially on a rental car, is not the same as your regular auto insurance coverage back home. It’s only meant to protect you from certain losses while traveling and doesn’t have all the privileges you might enjoy with your typical car insurance coverage.

There might be several exclusions on the policy. For instance, a travel insurance plan will not cover personal liability. It also won’t cover RVs, motorcycles, trucks, et cetera.

Why purchase travel insurance?

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When traveling, the last thing you want is to find yourself in scenarios where you need to call for help but don’t have anyone to make that call to. Getting travel insurance on a rental gives you someone to call for help should you find yourself stranded. Additionally, having your own coverage on a rental car is cheaper than having to purchase coverage at the car hire company.

Once you purchase travel insurance coverage on your rental car, it becomes your primary coverage meaning that it pays for any damages to the vehicle before any other coverages are required to pay.

One of the advantages of having travel insurance as the primary coverage on a rental is that it doesn’t affect any of your premiums. This means that any claim you make will not affect your car insurance rates.

If you are a non-U.S. citizen either vacationing in the United States or on a business trip, the best way to get around is to drive yourself. But for you to drive legally on U.S. roads, you have to ensure that you are carrying the necessary car insurance. Buying insurance in this country is simple, but you need to be a little smart about it. Go online and compare quotes until you find a policy that meets your needs and comes at a reasonable price.

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