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: Sep 27, 2020

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Key takeaways...

  • International car insurance provides a type of all-purpose coverage that protects drivers in almost every country abroad
  • Insurance plans that only allow for designated drivers may not cover an international driver
  • Many car insurance companies will allow policyholders to modify the terms of an existing policy when it comes to adding on a temporary driver

People traveling overseas for short or long periods of time usually make some type of arrangements for transportation during their stay. Those who plan to drive or use a car as transportation should make sure the vehicle has some form of car insurance coverage.

International car insurance works in much the same way as domestic insurance in terms of covering any costs that result from an accident.

Temporary international coverage may become necessary in cases where someone plans to use a relative’s or friend’s car while abroad.

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Table of Contents

International Car Insurance

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International car insurance provides a type of all-purpose coverage that protects drivers in almost every country abroad.

In general, international car policies act as short-term or temporary plans simply because most people only stay overseas for a limited period of time. For this reason, these policies provide short-term coverage of anywhere from one month to a year.

While international policies apply for most countries overseas, different countries have their own laws regarding coverage requirements.

This means travelers may have to purchase additional coverage in order to be in compliance with a country’s insurance regulations and laws.

When visiting with relatives or friends in another country–or when relatives or friends come to visit from abroad–it’s not uncommon for visitors to use the vehicle of a family member or friend during their stay.

This is where temporary international car insurance coverage may become necessary, depending on the type of car insurance already in place.

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Temporary Insurance Coverage

Different countries apply car insurance coverages in different ways. In some countries, an insurance policy may only cover a specific car, while other countries cover the car and anyone who drives it.

Some policies may only cover certain drivers for a particular car.

Insurance plans that only allow for designated drivers may not cover an international driver who uses the family car on a temporary basis.

In this instance, temporary international insurance coverage is needed. On the other hand, some policies may actually cover an international driver provided the car will only be used for a short period of time.

Car Insurer Responsibilities

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Whenever a car insurance company insures a driver or a car, the company has taken certain measures to determine what type of risk profile a particular person or car has.

In order to do this, companies investigate driver reports through state motor vehicle records.

Companies also use a national database, known as the Comprehensive Loss Underwriting Exchange (C.L.U.E.), to see how many car insurance claims a person has filed in the past.

These precautions help protect insurers from financing or insuring a driver who carries a high-risk profile.

If an overseas visitor happens to get in an accident with the car, the insurance company has every right to deny coverage unless the existing policy allows for temporary drivers.

Temporary international car insurance protects policyholders from having to cover the costs of an accident caused by a temporary driver.

Without temporary coverage, the policyholder becomes responsible for any costs associated with an accident, even if the policyholder wasn’t in the car at the time of the incident.

Car Policy Adjustments

Many car insurance companies will allow policyholders to modify the terms of an existing policy when it comes to adding on a temporary driver.

There are some companies who insure drivers not listed on the policy plan, in which case temporary international coverage may not be necessary.

Car insurance companies typically charge an additional fee to add a temporary international visitor to a policy.

Some companies may charge an even larger fee to add an international or overseas driver to the policy, even if it’s only on a temporary basis.

As drivers from abroad often follow different traffic rules and guidelines, this presents an increased risk in the eyes of the insurer, so an insurer may charge a larger fee to cover this increased risk potential.

Travelers also have the option of purchasing temporary international insurance that covers their driving activities in a friend’s or family member’s car.

In order to this, the person going abroad will need to purchase temporary coverage from their existing provider or shop around for a company that offers temporary international coverage.

As always, make sure you purchase your policy from a reputable company and check the FTC’s Consumer Alert website to help steer yourself clear of any scams involving international driving permits and car insurance.

Use your zip code below and the FREE quotes tool to compare the cost of car insurance here and abroad today!

References:

  1. https://www.allstate.com/tools-and-resources/car-insurance/renting-a-car-abroad.aspx
  2. http://oci.wi.gov/pub_list/pi-207.htm
  3. https://www.thebalance.com/temporary-car-insurance-what-are-the-options-2645566
  4. https://www.iii.org/publications/insurance-handbook/insurance-basics/auto-insurance-basics
  5. http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/pubs/consumer/alerts/alt126.shtm