Jessica Sautter is a Content Writer for 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: Sep 27, 2020

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Key takeaways...

  • International car insurance can be purchased in the U.S. or overseas
  • Renting a car while overseas may be the most logical option when traveling on vacation or only spending a week or so abroad
  • International policies are issued on a short-term basis

People who travel abroad often require some form of local transportation after arriving in a new country. While public transportation is an option, many prefer the independence a rental car or self-owned car allows.

International car insurance offers similar protections when driving overseas as those provided with local insurance coverage.

People looking to purchase an international car policy have a few options to consider when trying to find the type of coverage needed.

You can find out what car insurance companies offer international insurance coverage by entering your zip code into our FREE tool above!

International Car Insurance


Some of the larger car insurance companies offer international coverage as well as some of the smaller insurance agencies.

Since insurers must underwrite or finance any potential claims filed, insuring international travel can be risky and not so profitable for insurers. For these reasons, many U.S. companies don’t offer international coverage.

As different countries abide by their own sets of car insurance laws, policies purchased overseas automatically adhere to the local laws in place.

This means travelers don’t have to worry about violating any laws.

While this does provide some degree of security, car insurance costs overseas can be expensive depending on the country.

Most countries abroad have U.S. Embassy offices that can provide valuable information on the car insurance laws within their respective countries.

By finding out what types of coverages are required in a particular country, a person may be able to meet the needed coverage requirements using a U.S. insurer.

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Car Rental Insurance

Renting a car while overseas may be the most logical option when traveling on vacation or only spending a week or so abroad.

The cost to purchase rental car coverage overseas can vary depending on the countries overall safety conditions. This means insurance rates can run especially high in countries where war or political turmoil exists.

As insurance companies base their rates on the amount of risk involved, less-than-safe political environments will see higher insurance premium costs across the board.

International policies are issued on a short-term basis with coverage terms that run anywhere from one month to a year.

While a person may be able to purchase coverage from their current insurance provider, some credit card companies offer international rental insurance as an added benefit.

This option allows travelers to go outside of their existing insurance provider. This means if an accident should happen, any claims filing will have no effect on their current insurance coverage.

Primary Vehicle Insurance


People traveling and working overseas for business purposes may spend longer periods of time abroad. Rather than rent a car, many may opt to take one of their primary vehicles along with them.

Some companies will issue what’s known as a split policy that covers overseas and U.S.-based vehicles on separate plans.

Purchasing a split policy means that policyholders won’t have to transfer coverages from one policy to another.

Another consideration when insuring a primary vehicle has to do with the actual transport of the car to the destination country.

Larger insurance carriers offer cargo insurance, which is a form of loss protection in the event the plane or ship doesn’t reach its destination.

In addition, it will be necessary to purchase a policy from the actual cargo company in order to insure a car against possible damages while it’s in transit.

Finding an Insurer

When shopping for international car insurance, a person is better off trying to go through an existing insurance carrier in order to take advantage of any available discounts.

The company can then use the demographic and vehicle information on file to process an international insurance policy.

Much like the different forms of coverage offered in local car insurance policies, international policies should carry the necessary coverage amounts for collision, liability, and comprehensive coverage.

While insurance companies in the U.S. insure the car and a designated driver, many countries only insure the car rather than the person who will be driving it.

This means travelers will need to know the type of car they’ll be using in order to purchase coverage.

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