Jessica Sautter is a Content Writer for CarInsuranceCompanies.com with a Bachelor’s Degree from Eastern Michigan University in Elementary Education with a Major in Reading and a Minor in Mathematics.

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Chris Harrigan has an economic degree from Limestone College and an MBA from Clemson University. He previously managed auto insurance claims for Enterprise Rent-A-Car. Currently, he is using his business and insurance expertise to provide insurance data analysis and visualizations to enhance the user experience.

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Reviewed by Chris Harrigan
Former Auto Insurance Claims Manager

UPDATED: Oct 13, 2020

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Here's what you need to know...

  • When traveling, you will need to arrange for temporary insurance
  • Insurance follows the car, not the driver so your normal insurance will not work if you use a rental car
  • It pays to know the rules and laws of the area you’ll be traveling to
  • Shop and compare and look for temporary or Guaranteed Auto Protection (GAP) coverage on our site before traveling


When traveling to different locations, the topic of insurance often comes up. It is important to know that you are safe on the roadways, not only at home but when you are in another locale.

You don’t want to risk paying out-of-pocket expenses for an unforeseen accident that happens while you are away from home.

When traveling abroad, this topic becomes even more complicated. That’s because the car you rent when you are abroad is not covered by your current car insurance.

This forces people to have to look for another method to get coverage for auto insurance so that they are covered in the event of an accident.

Make sure you’re getting the best deal on car insurance. Enter your zip code into the free tool above!

Will traveler’s insurance work?

Travelers’ insurance is insurance that is set aside for the purpose of reimbursing vacationers for some sort of loss, such as the loss of their expenses on a vacation or trip that had to be canceled for some valid reason, such as family illness.

It is not car insurance, nor will it cover your auto insurance while you are away.

Car insurance follows the car, not the person. This means that, when you are in a foreign country or other location away from home where you are not driving your own car, you will not be adequately covered.

You will need to find a temporary solution for your insurance needs while you are away.

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What is temporary insurance?

Temporary insurance or GAP insurance is car insurance that is meant to cover either a gap period for which you are not covered or to serve as temporary insurance while you are looking for a more permanent insurance.

This kind of insurance can serve you well when you are traveling also. It provides immediate coverage for your rental car while you are away from your main vehicle and car insurance.

Why get insurance while traveling?

Though statistics show that most accidents occur near or around your home area, these accidents are not as serious as the bigger accidents that you could encounter on bigger highways and strange locations when you are away from home.

This means that, while your chances are better to have an accident within your local area, the worse accidents usually occur while away from home or traveling.

So, to be safe, you need good car insurance that will cover any unforeseen accidents that might occur while traveling.

How to Find the Best Gap Insurance While Traveling

  • Consider how long you will be away – Temporary insurance can cover any period ranging from one to 28 days in most cases. You never know when you might need it, so make sure you get insurance that will cover your entire trip.
  • Think about how many people will be riding with you – Remember that you will need more insurance if you have more people riding with you. This increases your risk of liability or injury to others.
  • Make sure you get the minimum required coverage in the state or area you’ll be traveling to – You will need to do some checking ahead to make sure you know the requirements of the state or country you are going to. Check ahead by visiting that state’s insurance site to find out what the minimums are.
  • Consider collision and comprehensive insurance – If you will be traveling to an area that has a high likelihood of flooding or other natural disasters, or if it is a high theft area, consider getting comprehensive insurance. This will cover you, no matter where the damage comes from.
  • Compare rates to get the best deal – You can compare rates between policies and companies to see which one can get you the best coverage for the money. Like any insurance, remember that you are weighing the risk (the likelihood of an accident) with the cost of the premium.
  • Remember that gap insurance is only temporary – Don’t feel that you have to buy a policy that is full of all of the bells and whistles that you might purchase for your permanent insurance. The best method is just to make sure all of the high-risk elements are covered.

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How to Be Safe When Traveling Abroad

We thought it would be good to have a few tips to keep in mind when traveling abroad or to an unknown area.

It pays to do your homework first before visiting an area so that you can get a feel for the rules and regulations that are in force there.

  • Be aware of the laws of the road in the area where you are visiting.
  • Always drive defensively. Watch for what other drivers are doing and keep your eyes on the road.
  • Study your GPS and maps and know the area mentally before visiting by looking at your route ahead of time and deciding the best route to take.
  • Know the speed limits.
  • Have your proper paperwork such as car registration and insurance proof with you at all times.

These tips will keep you safe and will equip you with the information you will need if you were to be pulled over during a routine traffic stop or other reason.

You need to consider what you would need in these situations when traveling to other countries so that you don’t end up having to stay in the foreign country longer than expected due to a paperwork error.

Buy Travelers’ Insurance Before You Go

Make sure you buy travelers’ insurance before you leave. Don’t wait until you are at your destination to do this.

If something happens, you may not be covered for the time you need. It’s always best to be proactive and do it now if you are planning a trip.

Your online agent can help answer any nagging questions you have about traveling and the types of insurance you’ll need.

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