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Learner drivers are required to ride with an adult in the car at all times while behind the wheel
Driving without insurance is a serious offense. Anyone who owns a vehicle and is licensed to drive should have insurance at all times.
The challenge comes when someone who doesn’t have a car or a license starts to drive. Learning to drive is a lot like learning to ride a bike. You can read all you want about it but you have to physically drive to develop your skill.
As a learner driver, you can pose a threat to other people who are on the road. Learning on public roadways is the best way to learn in real life conditions but there’s always a chance that you could have an accident.
You don’t have to have insurance just because you have a permit but the car you drive does need to be insured. Enter your ZIP code to find insurance quotes today!
The State Requires All Drivers to Have Insurance
State law says that all personal vehicles need to be insured. The laws may vary from state to state, but almost everywhere you go insurance is mandatory and not optional.
You can’t drive a car without your license unless you have a permit. You also can’t stroll into the DMV and expect to get a learner’s permit whenever you want. Anyone who wants to get a provisional license needs to meet age and training requirements.
When you reach the age of 15 or 16, you can probably start planning so that you can get your permit.
Then, you’ll have to pass a written exam about the laws of the road and an eye exam with or without your glasses. After you’re eligible, you’ll have to sign a paper saying you understand your duties as a restricted driver and your permit will be issued.
Do you need insurance if you have a permit and own your own car?
You don’t have to have your driver’s license to buy a car. If you’re old enough to own property, you’re old enough to invest in a car and register it in your name.
If your car is parked and the parking official checks the system and finds out it’s not insured, the car can be towed and impounded.
If you let your friend drive the car, you could be fined and ordered to appear in court. Even worse, you could have to pay for an uninsured loss out of your own pocket.
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Are learner drivers covered under their parents’ insurance?
If you still live with your parents and you’re getting a permit as part of a graduated driver’s license program, you probably won’t need any insurance because you’ll be automatically covered.
It’s standard protocol for auto carriers to give their policyholders coverage when teens are learning to drive. The parent still needs to keep their policy active and inform them that there’s a teen in the home getting ready to be licensed.
The parent still needs to keep their policy active and inform them that there’s a teen in the home getting ready to be licensed.
Is there a charge to cover a learner driver?
As long as the learner driver lives in the same home as the named insured and they are related, the insurer should provide automatic coverage.
Whether or not there’s some type of permit driver coverage fee depends on where you live and what company you’re with. You’ll have to inquire with your agent to find out if there will be a bill.
Are learner drivers covered to drive other cars?
Most of the time, someone who has a permit is only covered to drive cars in their own household. If a teen is borrowing a friends car there’s no guarantee they will be covered to drive under the car’s primary policy. Permissive users have coverage when they borrow cars but there are restrictions.
Usually, permissive drivers have to be licensed for coverage. There is a possibility that the parents’ insurance will pay for third-party liability claims when their teen is borrowing a friend’s car and gets into an accident. This is something you’ll have to ask your agent.
Learner drivers can legally drive without buying their own insurance. The rule of thumb is that you’ll have to have insurance when you have your own car.
Until then, you can lean on the primary car insurance policy that’s covering the vehicle at the current time. If you’re not comfortable with the limits that you have, see if you should raise them. Use an online quote tool, get quotes, and see if it’s cheaper to switch carriers.
It is very rare that an auto insurance provider will allow you to pause your car insurance coverage for a month at a time
If you are an active military member and going to deploy, then you should contact your provider and speak to them about suspending your auto insurance during your deployment
If you are not going to have car insurance coverage for a certain period of time, it is important not to drive during that period
Rather than canceling your policy because you will not be using your car for a while, you may want to simply reduce the amount and types of coverage that you have temporarily
If you cancel your coverage, then it might be more expensive or difficult to pick up coverage when you need it again
If you are not going to be driving for an extended period of time, then it is understandable that you would not want to pay for auto insurance coverage. The bad news is that you cannot simply flip your auto insurance coverage on and off like a light switch.
Depending on the insurance provider that you have, there may be some workable options for you.
Pausing Your Insurance Coverage as an Active Duty Military Member
If you will be away serving your country in the military, this is an excellent reason to not have to pay your car insurance premiums.
Almost every car insurance provider in the U.S. has a procedure for allowing active duty military members to stop their premium payments in the case of a deployment.
The fastest way to get your auto insurance coverage stopped if you are in the military is to call your insurance company. They may require some sort of statement verifying that you are a member of the military.
Remember that you may also be eligible for discounts on your car insurance policy based on your military service.
What to Do if You are Not in the Military
For anyone else, stopping your auto insurance coverage for just one month is a bit more complicated.
The reason for this is that car insurance is a legal necessity, so the state and car insurance companies do not want licensed drivers to just stop and start their coverage as many times as they want.
If you know that you will not be driving your car for a period of one month, you may want to start by removing some of the optional coverages from your policy such as the following:
Comprehensive and collision – A good place to start for this would be to put a hold on your comprehensive and collision coverage. If you are certain that your car will not be driven, then you may not need this extra layer of protection temporarily.
Increased deductible – Another way to reduce your premium would be to increase the amount of your deductible. Since you do not intend to file a claim because the car will not be in use for some time, then it should not matter to your bottom line if your deductible is higher.
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Flexible Car Insurance Options
If having flexibility is important to you in a car insurance provider, then price should not be the only thing you take into account when you shop for insurance.
You can ask the auto insurance company about their policies for temporarily suspending insurance before you go ahead with signing up for a car insurance policy.
In addition, you will want to check and see if there are any special notice requirements from your insurance provider for any other changes you want to make to your policy.
You may even opt to go with an auto insurance provider who allows these sorts of changes to be made using an online account.
The Trouble with Canceling Coverage
It is generally not recommended that you cancel your car insurance coverage outright. Even though you could avoid paying a bill for car insurance in the short term, you just might find yourself with a bigger bill for insurance in the future.
Other insurance companies can see that you do not have current car insurance coverage when you go to get a new policy, and they may charge you more for this reason.
The state department of insurance will also get a notice that you decided to cancel your coverage.
If you do end up driving and getting pulled over since your car insurance coverage was stopped, this is an expensive and frustrating situation to be in.
Recap on Suspending Your Car Insurance Coverage for a Month
Having your car insurance coverage put on pause is not as simple as suspending many of the other accounts that you are probably used to dealing with.
There are some very specific reasons why an auto insurance company would allow a policy to be suspended temporarily, such as for a military deployment, but you may not be able to suspend coverage so easily in other scenarios.
The best place to start to find out is by contacting your auto insurance provider and consulting your insurance policy itself.
Click here to view the interactive graphic and click here to view the table
Things to remember...
There is a zero to five rating system that indicates the levels of automation
The federal government recently passed a 15-point guideline for manufacturers
Ten states have already passed legislation for the operation of autonomous vehicles
States still require a driver’s license and proof of insurance
Have you ever wished that you could get in your car and let it do the driving for you? If you have, that futuristic fantasy is no longer so far out of reach. Experts are now anticipating an autonomous revolution in the next three to five years.
With nearly 35,000 traffic-related deaths in 2015, an increase of 7.7 percent from 2014, nearly 96 people died per day. According to an official from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), nearly 90 percent of all traffic-related deaths are caused by human error.
With automated cars, we could be looking at saving thousands of lives, making for a much safer future.
An automated vehicle is a car that operates without direct driver input to control steering, acceleration, and braking. It is designed so that the driver is not expected to constantly monitor the road.
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How do you know which cars are autonomous?
There are ratings that define a vehicle’s level of automation. This zero to five rating system indicates the levels of automation; the higher the level, the more automated the vehicle is.
The NHTSA recently switched (Sept. 2016) from a Zero to Four Level rating system to the Society of Automotive Engineers’ (SAE) Zero to Five Level rating scale. Level Five is autonomous while levels one to four are varying degrees of automated.
Level Zero: No automation – “Full-time performance by the human driver…”
Level One: Driver assistance – “The driving mode-specific execution by a driver assistance system of either steering or acceleration/deceleration…with the expectation that the human driver performs all remaining aspects of the dynamic driving task.”
Level Two: Partial automation – “The driving mode-specific execution by one or more driver assistance systems of both steering and acceleration/deceleration using information…with the expectation that the human driver performs all remaining aspects of the dynamic driving task.”
Level Three: Conditional automation – “The driving mode-specific performance by an automated driving system of all aspects of the dynamic driving task…with the expectation that the human driver will respond appropriately to a request to intervene.”
Level Four: High automation – “The driving mode-specific performance by an automated driving system of all aspects of the dynamic driving task, even if a human driver does not respond appropriately to a request to intervene.”
Level Five: Full automation – “The full-time performance by an automated driving system of all aspects of the dynamic driving task under all roadway and environmental conditions that can be managed by a human driver.”
The NHTSA recently passed guidelines for manufacturers and states when it comes to developing and testing of vehicles.
The federal government is taking steps to harness the benefits of transformative technology by providing a framework of how to accomplish it safely.
Manufacturers are given a 15-point guideline, but the guidelines issued by the NHTSA were intentionally ambiguous to allow for innovation and prevent over-regulation.
States are provided with a template so those states currently lacking legislation have a base model approved by the NHTSA. The automated vehicle policy is the foundation for an autonomous vehicle future. The federal and state-level responsibilities are as follows:
Setting safety standards for new motor vehicles and motor vehicle equipment
Enforcing compliance with the safety standards
Investigating and managing the recall and remedy of non-compliances and safety-related motor vehicle defects on a nationwide basis
Communicating with and educating the public about motor vehicle safety issues
When necessary, issuing guidance to achieve national safety goals
Licensing (human) drivers and registering motor vehicles in their jurisdictions
Enacting and enforcing traffic laws and regulations
Conducting safety inspections, when states choose to do so
Regulating motor vehicle insurance and liability
We are tracking all states’ automated vehicle efforts and will update this post as legislative changes are made. The definitions given are based on the SAE’s Five Levels of automation (see above).
Sources for this article can be found through the following links:
Some states have already passed legislation and are on on the road to a safer future; however, other states’ legislative efforts are either still pending a vote or have yet to even embark on the new journey.
Although we have progressed, states will most likely still impose a driver’s license for operation of a vehicle and require insurance.
Because most laws require a licensed driver in the vehicle, the driverless cars are causing some patchwork of the state regulations. In the past three years, about a dozen states have introduced specific laws addressing driverless vehicles.
States That Have Passed Legislation
Governor Doug Ducey signed an executive order in August 2015 instructing various agencies to take necessary steps to support the testing and operation of self-driving vehicles on public roads. He also allowed universities to begin pilot programs, developing guidelines for them to follow.
California’s Highway Patrol is required to adopt performance requirements and safety standards to ensure safety while autonomous vehicles are being operated on public roads.
– District of Columbia
The District of Columbia restricts the conversion of recent vehicles and addresses liability of the original manufacturer of a vehicle that has been converted.
The state defines “autonomous vehicle” as a vehicle able to navigate the road and interpret traffic control devices without an active driver. The District of Columbia requires a human driver ready to take control at any moment.
In 2012, Florida declared intent to encourage safe development, operation, and testing of vehicles with autonomous technology. They found that the state doesn’t prohibit or specifically regulate the operation or testing of autonomous vehicles on public roads.
In 2016, legislation expanded allowing the operation of automated vehicles on public roads and eliminated requirements in relation to testing and the presence of a driver in the car.
In 2016, Louisiana defined “autonomous technology” for purposes of the Highway Regulatory Act.
Michigan permits the testing automated vehicles under certain conditions, by certain parties, defines the operator, and addresses the liability of the original manufacturer on which a third party has installed an automated system.
It limits the liability of the manufacturer for damages in a suit of product liability resulting from modifications made by a third party, relating to automated mode conversions.
In 2011, Nevada was the first state to authorize the operation of autonomous vehicles. The state directs the DMV to adopt rules for license endorsement and operation. Nevada requires proof of insurance and prohibit an autonomous vehicle from being registered, tested or operated within the state unless it meets certain conditions.
The state provides immunity to the manufacturer of a vehicle that has been converted to an autonomous vehicle by a third party. The law prohibits the use of cell phones or other wireless handheld devices while driving; however, it permits the use of such devices for those in a legally operating autonomous vehicle.
– North Dakota
North Dakota allows research and provides for the study of autonomous vehicles. The state is interested in the reduction of traffic fatalities and crashes by eliminating driver error and how it can reduce congestion and improve fuel economy.
Tennessee prohibits local governments from banning motor vehicles with autonomous technology from being used. It allows a motor vehicle to be operated or equipped with an integrated electronic display that the operator can see while the autonomous technology is engaged.
The state has established a certification program through the department of safety for manufacturers of autonomous vehicles before they are tested, operated or sold. The program creates a per mile tax structure for autonomous vehicles.
Utah requires a study evaluating appropriate safety features and regulatory strategies and developing recommendations, including the evaluation of NHTSA and AAMVA standards and best practices.
States with Pending and Failed Legislation
Not all attempts to pass legislation has been successful. Several states have attempted but failed.
According to NCSL, “Sixteen states introduced legislation related to autonomous vehicles in 2015, up from 12 states in 2014, nine states and D.C. in 2013, and six states in 2012. Since 2012, at least 34 states and D.C. have considered legislation related to autonomous vehicles.”
The train has left the station and eventually all 50 states will have to have some kind of legislation on the books for autonomous vehicles.
– States Pending:
– States Failed:
The Future Is Here
The wheels of change are in motion and manufacturers have been given a great incentive to innovate. States have been given a base model to form legislation, taking an idea and making it a reality. Consumers are being encouraged to provide feedback in order to effect change.
Continue to check this page after each session to see what your state is doing to work with automated vehicles.
Click here to view the interactive map and here to view the data table.
Driving is a pretty uniform practice across the United States, so most of us don’t think twice before hitting the road in a different state. However, many states have their own traffic laws that pose legal penalties and physical dangers if not obeyed.
Imagine you are on the interstate and you find yourself coasting along in the left lane. Soon, you hear a wail of sirens and realize that you’re getting pulled over. Do you have a busted taillight? Did you forget to signal? Have you neglected to renew your tags? Nope. You’re just driving in the left lane.
Though only a few states ban left-lane driving, knowing which states have done so before you travel can save you a lot of hassle and money.
In July 2016, Tennesse enforced a new “slow poke” law. Slow drivers who do not yield to drivers moving faster than them, regardless of the speed limit, will face a misdemeanor charge or $500 fine if caught.
Passing in the Left Lane
In many states, left lanes can only be used for passing on interstates, and this is only the case if the drivers are actually passing another car moving slower than them and not simply trying to get away from traffic altogether.
The left-lane laws seem to be a trend in the nation’s Southern states, with Indiana and Georgia enforcing their own slow poke laws in 2015 and 2014 respectively.
Left-lane cruisers, as they’re known, will no longer be able to hog the country’s busy motorways and interstates.
For most of us, this is cause for celebration. But if you happen to be one of the “slow pokes,” perhaps it’s time to work on driving the minimum posted speed limit or prepare to switch lanes a lot.
The Dangers of Left-Lane Drivers
In 2015, Vox, a digital media company and news site, posted a YouTube video about the controversy surrounding left-lane drivers from the perspective of one who was pulled over.
The video details the dangers behind hanging out in the left lane, mostly associated with the faster drivers who have to continually stop and accelerate in order to meet the traffic interruptions left-lane drivers create.
Driving just 5 mph slower than everyone else on the highway increases the risk of another driver causing an accident while attempting to pass you.
When left lanes are used only for passing, however, the risk of collision is decreased since drivers can pass multiple cars at once and quickly resume their place on the right-hand side.
This not only makes the motorway a safer place for everyone involved but also decreases the frequency of drops in speed and disrupted traffic flow.
“What if I’m driving the speed limit?”
Perhaps you’re offended at the implication all left-lane drivers are going 10–15 mph below everyone else. In many cases, in fact, a slow poke is often someone driving the speed limit.
Vox’s video states that studies have found driving the speed limit — when it causes other cars to switch lanes repeatedly — is actually more dangerous than speeding.
This is because “the strongest predictor of an accident is variance from the average speed of traffic” (Vox, 2015).
The Future of Left-Lane Laws
Although every state has some type of restriction regarding the left lane, these restrictions vary greatly.
In 29 states, any driver who is moving slower than the surrounding speed of traffic should always keep to the right lane while in 12 states, the left lane is to be used only for turning or passing.
What This Means
You should be aware of the driving laws in both your home state and any state to which you plan on traveling. Highways and interstates always pose a greater risk of collision to drivers, but you can ensure your safety by being a responsive driver and paying attention to surrounding traffic.
Also, make sure that you are fully covered by your auto insurance policy. In the event of a collision, having adequate coverage often makes the difference between speedy recoveries and financial ruin.
Make sure that you have the right amount of auto insurance. Compare rates from local companies today and make sure you’re always ensured no matter where you are!
All states except Virginia and New Hampshire require that cars have basic liability insurance, and this coverage stays with the vehicle. The individual states set the minimum level that must be maintained, and officers may ask for proof of insurance when you’re pulled over.
Liability insurance is the minimum state requirement, and this coverage is generally very affordable. If you’re going to drive a car that’s been uninsured previously, then shop around for attractive liability rates before taking it out on the road.
Depending on the coverage, auto insurance can follow the car or the driver. Liability insurance, for example, is assigned to the driver, so it stays with that person even when they drive other eligible cars.
However, comprehensive and collision coverages are assigned to a particular car, so they stay with that car. If the vehicle is loaned out to another covered driver, the car itself will still be covered in the event of an accident.
Be aware that some insurance companies are very particular about whom is covered. Most plans are automatically extended to other people living in the household.
However, friends and family members who don’t live with you may not be covered. Refer to your individual policy or speak with your agent to find out about that.
The insurance company may also look at why a person was driving your car, whether they had permission, and if the car was a rental or loaner.
With medical payments and bodily injury coverage, the driver’s coverage will probably take precedence, but the insurance on the car may kick in if the first plan is not enough.
If you want your coverage to extend to people you loan your car to, then you should specifically look for this option when buying a plan. You can shop around for different companies to find one that will protect you in any type of car while also helping you save money.
Driving without Insurance is a Crime
In all 50 states, driving a car without insurance is a crime. If you drive a vehicle that is registered but not insured, then you are driving uninsured and will be subject to harsh penalties. In states like Oregon, these penalties could include:
A fine of up to $427
License suspension for up to one year
Carrying SR-22 insurance for up to three years
Keep in mind, cars must be insured before they can be registered with the state. In Michigan, for example, no-fault insurance must be purchased before the state will issue a tag. The same requirement is in place for renewing registrations.
This means that a car with expired insurance is likely to also have expired tags, and the police routinely check for plates that are beyond their effective registration dates.
If you’re pulled over and cannot show that the vehicle has insurance, then you could face some serious penalties.
In states like Nevada, your plates must be surrendered if the insurance on the vehicle is canceled, and you cannot drive cars without license plates.
New York takes a more proactive approach and requires insurance companies to notify the state when coverage on a car is dropped, reinstated, or changed.
Protect yourself from tickets and criminal charges by insisting that any car you drive is properly insured. Whether you own it or you’re borrowing it from a friend, insist on state minimum liability levels.
It is legal to have two car insurance policies on the same vehicle. However, one insurance company will not insure the same car twice. This means that you will have to purchase a second insurance policy with a different insurance carrier and pay both bills.
If you choose to double insure your car, you may be violating the policies of one or both insurance carriers.
When you register your vehicle or when the DMV is notified of your insurance policy, they may alert both your insurance companies, which could cause you problems.
In the insurance world, double dipping is called unjust enrichment. This occurs when you get into a car accident and file claims with both of your insurance companies in an attempt to give yourself a financial windfall.
If both of your car insurance claims are approved, you would get twice the money for the accident that you would normally receive. Once you have the checks, you decide to repair your vehicle with the first settlement and keep the second for your own financial gain.
This is absolutely illegal and constitutes insurance fraud. You may even be charged with a felony.
Reasons Drivers Consider Two Insurance Policies
There are several reasons that drivers use when they insure the same car with two different insurance companies.
They want to make sure they are covered in the event of an accident.
Two people drive the vehicle and both individuals want different coverage amounts.
One driver is listed as high-risk and including that driver on the policy would result in exorbitant rates.
Solutions to Insuring a Car Twice
Instead of taking out two insurance policies on the same car, which would be a waste of money in most instances, explore your options.
If the other driver has a clean driving record and zero accidents within the last three to five years, consider adding them to your policy as a driver of the vehicle.
Then, simply collect the amount of money from them for the portion of the car insurance that is theirs.
If the other driver is a high-risk driver, or you both want different insurance coverages because of the costs, consider using a comparison tool to find a policy that you can both afford.
A car insurance comparison tool will allow you to input the information for all of the drivers for the vehicle and the vehicle’s information.
The tool will then compare your information and car insurance desires with all of the available policies.
This means that you can find a policy that you can both afford with your desired coverage amounts, which would be cheaper and safer than trying to insure the same vehicle twice.
While your occupation can qualify you for a credit with some insurers, the company won’t penalize you for being unemployed. Both working and unemployed drivers can qualify for preferred or standard auto insurance
Being unemployed can help you keep your rates down. Since you don’t use your vehicle to commute to and from the office, you will qualify for a pleasure usage rating
You may be able to keep your mileage low when you’re unemployed. If your annual mileage is below what the average vehicle is driven, you can lower your premiums by taking advantage of a low mileage discount
If you’re out of work, it’s difficult to qualify for things like auto loans or credit cards. Lenders and credit card issuers only offer credit to people who have a regular and reliable source of income.
While you might assume that auto insurers do the same, your employment status has little to do with your eligibility for coverage through any carrier.
While being unemployed won’t affect your ability to qualify for preferred or standard auto insurance policies, it can have an impact on your rates. You need to understand exactly how auto insurance rates are calculated and personalized when you’re shopping around for coverage.
Here’s how being unemployed might have an impact when you buy a policy:
Understand How Your Rates are Personalized
Auto insurance rates are personalized. This is why you, your friends, and your family members all pay very different premiums. Auto insurance carriers invest time and money into rate making. This helps the company determine how much they must charge to stay profitable.
Each factor that’s used to personalize rates affects the policyholder’s probability of filing a claim based on what the statistics say. Some factors are beyond your control and others aren’t. Here are the most common rating factors used:
Age, gender, and marital status
Driving experience and driving record
Claim history for at-fault and non-fault claims
Mileage and driving habits
Vehicle usage (pleasure, commute, or business)
Garaging zip code and claims reported in the area
Credit-based insurance score (only used in some states)
Vehicle size, claims data, and safety features
Your Employment Status Can’t Affect Your Ability to Buy Insurance
If an insurance company were to deny applications because their applicants were unemployed, the state regulating officials would penalize them.
Using someone’s employment status to qualify or rate a driver is discriminatory in nature. This is why there isn’t insurance specifically for someone who isn’t employed.
Unemployment Can Directly Affect Some Rating Factors
When You’re Unemployed, Your Vehicle Usage Could Change
You agent will ask you how you drive your vehicle regularly. It might sound like a silly question depending on how it’s phrased, but what they’re inquiring about is whether or not you commute to and from work or school.
There are three usage categories. These include pleasure, commute, and business use. If you go from driving as a commuter or for business, you’ll see your rates drop when you become a pleasure user.
If Your Credit Score Goes Down, Your Rates May Go Up
A majority of states allow insurance companies to look at your credit when calculating rates. The company uses insurance scores that are calculated by an agency like FICO or LexiNexis to grade a person’s credit.
While delinquencies and credit mix will affect your score, there are factors that can’t be reported. One of these factors is employment status. The company can raise your rates at renewal if your credit score has gone down.
Covering your regular bills can be difficult when you’re living on a limited income or no income at all. If you’re looking to lower your bills, it’s important to shop around for the best rates. Make sure to update your rating information, solicit quotes, and then you can lower your monthly budget to cover your car.
If you’re planning a long stay for work or school, you may decide to buy your own vehicle and register it in your name. When you have a car registered in your name, you must carry at least a minimum amount of insurance to avoid infractions and other penalties
You may be able to qualify for traditional insurance or short-term insurance with your International Driving Permit. Some companies won’t give you a discount for driving experience unless you can provide your abstract report to the underwriter
Getting car insurance can be a bit more challenging when you’re not a U.S. resident. While it is difficult, it’s not impossible if you follow the appropriate steps.
Since auto insurance is a requirement in most U.S. states, learning about compulsory auto insurance laws is a must before you get behind the wheel of any car.
Before you can be insured to drive in the U.S., you need to be licensed to drive. If you’re planning a short vacation or a longer stay for work or school, it’s important to familiarize yourself with rules and laws that apply to non-U.S. residents.
Here’s a guide to buying insurance when the U.S. isn’t your country of residence:
Apply for Your International Driving Permit Before You Leave
Instead, you must apply for the permit before you leave your home country. Simply fill out an application through your local automobile association, pay the fee, and present your identification to get your permit.
Insuring a Rental Car on Your Trip
If you’re only visiting the U.S. for a short time, the best option to get around is to rent a car.
Your International Driving Permit grants you permission to drive, and by renting a car, you will have access to your own transportation wherever you go. Getting insurance when you’re renting is simple, even as a non-resident.
The best option for getting insurance on a rental car when you don’t have a U.S. driver’s license is to purchase the supplemental insurance that’s offered at the rental counter.
Many experts tell drivers to decline rental insurance, but that’s only suggested if you have coverage in the U.S. If you don’t have your own coverage, you should elect to carry some or all of the supplemental insurance options below:
Supplemental Liability Insurance – provides you with one million dollars of third-party liability coverage that pays for medical bills and repairs
Collision Damage Waiver -pays for the repairs needed to restore a rental car after it’s damaged due to a covered loss
Personal Effects Coverage – will pay to replace property if it’s stolen or damaged while it’s being transported in the car
Personal Accident Insurance – pays for you and your family’s medical treatment if you suffer injuries in an auto accident
Before You Buy a Car, Familiarize Yourself with the Car Insurance Laws
If you are going to be staying in the U.S. for longer than a month, it may make the most financial sense to buy your own car. You don’t have to be a resident to buy a car and register it in the state, but you do have to comply with the state compulsory insurance laws at all times when you’re the legal owner of the car.
These coverage options help compensate a third-party driver when you cause an accident. You may also have to carry Medical Payments and Uninsured Motorist Coverage to satisfy some state laws.
Can you get insurance on a car that you own without being a resident?
Every insurance company has its own underwriting requirements. An International Driving Permit grants you permission to drive temporarily in the United States, but having a permit doesn’t guarantee that you’ll qualify for traditional insurance.
It’s more typical for a company to issue a standard policy to a driver with a foreign license if they can meet the U.S. licensing requirement after 45 to 60 days.
If you can’t satisfy the licensing requirements by the end of the 60-day period, the company will cancel your policy and you will receive a refund for unearned premiums.
Can you get a U.S. driver’s license without being a citizen?
It’s far easier to find auto insurance when you have a U.S. driver’s license. You don’t have to be a citizen to qualify for a driver’s license in most states. Instead, you just have to establish residency in the state.
If you can’t get traditional insurance, you have the option to buy a short-term specialty policy until you can. Make sure to have a copy of your abstract driving report to show how long you’ve been driving for credits.
Once you have everything that you need to shop around, use an online rate comparison tool to compare premiums for standard coverage and short-term coverage. With these instant quotes, you can find the most affordable option.
When you’re test driving a vehicle, you’re not legally required to have insurance. Even though you can’t be fined for test driving a car off the lot, you are at risk of being sued if you get into an accident
The dealership carries special fleet insurance that pays for damages that can happen during a test drive. The company will also have liability insurance that pays when they are sued for third-party damages. If you intentionally cause an accident, the victim can seek compensation from you by filing a lawsuit
The dealer will ask for you to hand over your license. They will jot this information down on a waiver form and ask you to sign it. This form must be signed before a test drive for insurance purposes
When you’re buying a car, one of the first things that you need to do before you consider making an offer is drive it. No matter how beautiful a car looks on the outside, it’s the mechanical condition that matters most.
After all, a nice-looking car with a faulty engine or transmission isn’t worth much if it can’t get you where you need to go.
When you test drive a car, you get a feel for the controls and you listen for rattles, clunks or other signs that problems could be looming. While it is important to make sure everything is in good working order, it’s also important to make sure you’re covered under insurance while you do so.
Here’s what you need to know about insurance coverage when you’re test driving:
When You’re Buying from a Dealer, the Dealer Has Insurance
If the cars are vandalized on the lot, stolen, or crashed, there will typically be coverage to pay for the repairs.
With this being said, the dealer’s insurance is expensive and filing a claim brings the rates up even higher. To combat costs, most plans have high deductibles and specific exclusions. It’s important that you verify that you’re covered under the dealer’s policy as a test driver before you go for a spin.
Read the Fine Print Very Closely
At surface value, the dealer’s insurance will be considered the primary coverage if you need to file a claim.
Unfortunately, every state has a different rule and there may be times where you can be held liable for damages to the dealer’s vehicle while it’s in the client’s custody. This is why you should read the documents that you sign closely.
Every reputable dealer in the industry will ask you to sign a document stating that you have a valid license.
Most people don’t like dealing with sales agents at car dealerships, but if you have an accident the chore can turn into a nightmare. Depending on what led to the accident, the auto dealer might find you liable for the damages.
It’s not out of the ordinary for a dealer to claim the car was in your custody and your actions led to the damage.
While this can happen, the dealer’s policy is still primary. The manager may try to get you to buy the car to take over the responsibility of repairing it, but they can’t legally make you do so.
The worst that can happen is the dealer’s insurance company can subrogate and try to collect from your insurer after the car has already been repaired.
Will my insurance pay when I have a loss in the dealer’s car?
The dealer’s policy is primary for damage claims, but that’s not to say the dealer has to pay for all liability claims. Showing proof of insurance before you test drive a car isn’t a requirement, but you might feel more comfortable having at least liability coverage before you operate a car.
One of the unique things about Personal Auto Policies is how the contract is written.
You can only buy a standard form of coverage is you own a vehicle in your name, but that doesn’t mean the coverage only applied while you’re driving your car. Under your contract, your liability coverage will follow you while you’re driving a non-owned car.
What is a non-owned car?
Insurance policies have very detailed definitions to describe what specific terms mean as they apply to the contract. Under the definition of covered autos, it says that
Under the definition of covered autos, it says that non-owned vehicles are covered if they are temporary substitutes to your vehicle. It also says that you’re covered when driving a non-owned vehicle if you make third-party claims.
What happens when you’re test driving a car for sale by a private party?
The situation can get a bit more complicated when you’re buying a car from a private seller. When cars are sold on the private market, they are covered by standard personal auto insurance. In some cases, the primary policy will pay for damage while they car is being operated by someone not listed as a driver.
To protect yourself, you should ask the seller to call their agent and ask if you’re covered to drive the car.
It could be helpful to ask the owner to sign a statement saying that you have permission to drive and that the car is insured. This can help you avoid unfounded claims if there is a crash.
If you don’t already have insurance, it can be helpful to buy a non-owner’s policy for liability protection. It will protect you while you borrow cars, rent cars, or test drive them. To find affordable non-owner’s insurance, use an online rate comparison tool. You can even get instant quotes for the cars you want to buy.
While having coverage that protects your finances as a renter is advised, you don’t legally have to carry insurance on a rental. Since it’s not a legal requirement, you don’t have to present proof of insurance
If you have existing insurance, the broadest form of coverage will pay if you’re in an accident while driving a rental. This is because of the temporary substitute provision on your policy
When you reserve a rental car, you’re quoted a daily rate for the rental. After everything is said and done, you’ll end up paying that daily rate plus fees and taxes when you’re at the rental counter.
One of the products that rental agents are trained to push is supplemental insurance coverage. It’s a product that costs the customer extra money and that’s rarely used.
Surprisingly enough, several renters elect to pay more to buy coverage and damage waivers. You’re not required to purchase the insurance, but if you don’t understand how your insurance works, your fears of having an uninsured loss could force you to spend money when you don’t need to.
Here’s your guide to insuring a rented car:
Do auto insurance laws apply when you’re renting a car?
It’s your legal duty to insure automobiles that you own when they’re registered to be driven. As long as your car has a valid registration, you should have insurance or proof of financial responsibility on file with the Department of Motor Vehicles.
While a rented vehicle is a temporary substitute, you don’t legally own it when you sign the rental agreement. Since you aren’t the registered owner of the vehicle, you’re under no legal obligation to insure it.
If you don’t carry insurance and you don’t buy supplemental coverage through the agency, you have no protection against lawsuits.
Who is obligated to insure a rental car?
You don’t have to have insurance, but the owner of the vehicle does. Vehicles that are available for hire have special rules.
Can the rental company require that you have insurance?
State law doesn’t require you to buy the insurance products that you’re offered when you rental a vehicle. In fact, there’s no such thing as a state insurance requirement that applies to you or your spouse’s rental.
Unfortunately, many consumers don’t do their research and dishonest rental agents insist that insurance is a must. If you’re armed with information, you’ll know that you can’t be refused a car because of insurance.
The Importance of Having Coverage
No matter how optional insurance is, you should always carry coverage when you’re driving any type of car.
If you’re in an accident and you decide to save $20 by taking a risk, you’ll be stuck paying for the damage that you’ve caused on your own. This includes third-party medical bills, repair costs, and even legal defense costs if you go to court.
How does your current insurance protect you when you rent?
If you have an existing personal auto policy, there’s a provision under the policy will provide you with coverage while you’re renting a car.
The temporary substitute vehicle provision says that when you’re renting or borrowing a vehicle that you don’t own for an acceptable reason, your broadest form of coverage will extend while you’re driving the rental.
What does “broadest level of coverage” mean?
You should find out how much coverage you have before you assume that you have enough coverage to comfortably rent a car. Under you auto contract, the insurer will pay up to the highest limits that you have on your policy. If one of your vehicles has full coverage insurance, the rental will as well.
Do you pay a deductible if you have a rental car claim?
Supplemental Liability Protection – pays for third-party damages and medical bills
Collision Damage Waiver – pays to repair the rental vehicle after a covered loss
Personal Accident Insurance – pays for medical bills, ambulance bills, and funeral expenses
Personal Effects Coverage – pays for the theft of your luggage or other personal effects
Are there drawbacks to using your own insurance?
Using your own insurance can keep rental costs down, but there are some drawbacks. The biggest one is that your insurer isn’t obligated to pay for loss of use. The insurer can charge you for missed out rental income profits while the car’s being repaired.
If you’re not happy with your current insurance, you should start to price rates through other carriers. One quick way to do this is to use an online quoting tool that gives you instant quotes. In as little as five minutes, you can find out if you’re getting a deal.