Expert Guide to Auto Insurance for Foreign License Holders

You can get auto insurance with a foreign driver's license if your license meets specific requirements. In some cases, you'll need an International Driver's Permit (IDP) and your country of origin's driver's license to drive in the United States. Auto insurance for foreign drivers is required for all vehicles and averages $43/mo. You may be able to get temporary car insurance with an international driver's license for a short visit.

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Leslie Kasperowicz holds a BA in Social Sciences from the University of Winnipeg. She spent several years as a Farmers Insurance CSR, gaining a solid understanding of insurance products including home, life, auto, and commercial and working directly with insurance customers to understand their needs. She has since used that knowledge in her more than ten years as a writer, largely in the insuranc...

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Dan Walker graduated with a BS in Administrative Management in 2005 and has been working in his family’s insurance agency, FCI Agency, for 15 years (BBB A+). He is licensed as an agent to write property and casualty insurance, including home, auto, umbrella, and dwelling fire insurance. He’s also been featured on sites like Reviews.com and Safeco. He reviews content, ensuring that ex...

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Reviewed by Daniel Walker
Licensed Auto Insurance Agent

UPDATED: Oct 8, 2021

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Things to remember...

  • You do need auto insurance with a foreign driver’s license to drive in the U.S.
  • An International Driver’s Permit is used in conjunction with your home driver’s license to drive in the United States
  • You are required to have auto insurance on any car you drive whether you own, rent, or borrow it
  • Short-term policies are available through different companies, and you can shop around to find more appealing auto insurance rates for drivers from foreign countries

When visiting the United States, you may want to take a drive to see the countryside or tour nearby cities.

Can you get auto insurance with an international drivers license? Can a foreigner get auto insurance in the USA? Driving in the United States with a foreign license is allowed if you follow all local and federal laws.

Before getting on the road, you’ll need to be sure that you’re following state guidelines by having the appropriate license and insurance. There are many different types of auto insurance coverage to choose from, depending on your needs.

As you plan your visit to the United States, you should expect to take a few steps before your trip. This includes finding out how to get auto insurance with a foreign driver’s license.

Get the coverage you need at the best price. If you want auto insurance quotes for foreign drivers, enter the ZIP code of the area you’ll be visiting to find auto insurance with a foreign driver’s license. Which foreign driver auto insurance company is for you? Find out now.

Can I get auto insurance in the U.S. with a foreign license?

The short answer is possibly. Some insurance companies will sell you coverage with a foreign driver’s license, while others may require you to obtain an international driver’s license in addition to regular drivers license from your original country.

Keep reading to learn how to get car insurance with an international driver’s license and ways to find affordable foreign driver auto insurance.

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How do I buy auto insurance in the U.S.?

There are plenty of scams going around the globe, including fake auto insurance for a foreign license. Learn how to spot a phony company so that you’ll have the coverage you need when you arrive rather than a worthless document.

Keep in mind that if you’re driving with a phony insurance plan, then you are in violation of the law and can be ticketed for driving without insurance. The good news is that all the answers you’re looking for about a company are right at your fingertips.

Take the time to check for:

  • License information – Available online through the state’s Department of Insurance
  • Fully detailed documents – Itemized insurance information will detail what type of coverages you have
  • Realistic costs – If the fees quoted seem impossibly low, then the company is probably fake

Start your vacation or extended trip off on the right foot by getting the coverage that you need to drive. It doesn’t matter if you’re borrowing a car or buying one to drive for the year.

You’ll need to have at least the state minimum insurance levels (which we’ll discuss in the next section), but you can also choose to go with a more thorough level of protection.

How much auto insurance is required in the U.S.?

Can I get car insurance with a foreign driver’s license? You can, but auto insurance with a foreign license still has to meet the same requirements as insurance for a US driver.

Each state creates its own laws about driving, including who is at-fault in an accident and how much auto insurance you must carry.

Most states outline specific car insurance requirements drivers must meet in order to drive in that state.

The state requirements are typically for liability coverage for property damage that you cause in an accident, personal injuries to a single person in a single accident, and personal injuries sustained by multiple people in a single accident. Look at this table to see the requirements in the state you plan to visit.

Minimum Auto Insurance Requirements by State
StateInsurance requiredMinimum liability limits
AlabamaBI & PD Liab25/50/25
AlaskaBI & PD Liab50/100/25
ArizonaBI & PD Liab15/30/10
ArkansasBI & PD Liab, PIP25/50/25
CaliforniaBI & PD Liab15/30/5
ColoradoBI & PD Liab25/50/15
ConnecticutBI & PD Liab, UM, UIM25/50/20
DelawareBI & PD Liab, PIP25/50/10
District of ColumbiaBI & PD Liab, UM25/50/10
FloridaPD Liab, PIP10/20/10
GeorgiaBI & PD Liab25/50/25
HawaiiBI & PD Liab, PIP20/40/10
IdahoBI & PD Liab25/50/15
IllinoisBI & PD Liab, UM, UIM25/50/20
IndianaBI & PD Liab25/50/25
IowaBI & PD Liab20/40/15
KansesBI & PD Liab, PIP25/50/25
KentuckyBI & PD Liab, PIP, UM, UIM25/50/25
LouisianaBI & PD Liab15/30/25
MaineBI & PD Liab, UM, UIM, Medpay50/100/25
MarylandBI & PD Liab, PIP, UM, UIM30/60/15
MassachusettsBI & PD Liab, PIP20/40/5
MichiganBI & PD Liab, PIP20/40/10
MinnesotaBI &PD Liab, PIP, UM, UIM30/60/10
MississippiBI & PD Liab25/50/25
MissouriBI & PD Liab, UM25/50/25
MontanaBI & PD Liab25/50/20
NebraskaBI & PD Liab, UM, UIM25/50/25
NevadaBI & PD Liab25/50/20
New HampshireFR only25/50/25
New JerseyBI & PD Liab, PIP, UM, UIM15/30/5
New MexicoBI & PD Liab25/50/10
New YorkBI & PD Liab, PIP, UM, UIM25/50/10
North CarolinaBI & PD Liab, UM, UIM30/60/25
North DakotaBI & PD Liab, PIP, UM, UIM25/50/25
OhioBI & PD Liab25/50/25
OklahomaBI & PD Liab25/50/25
OregonBI & PD Liab, PIP, UM, UIM25/50/20
PennsylvaniaBI & PD Liab, PIP15/30/5
Rhode IslandBI & PD Liab25/50/25
South CarolinaBI & PD Liab, UM, UIM25/50/25
South DakotaBI & PD Liab, UM, UIM25/50/25
TennesseeBI & PD Liab25/50/15
TexasBI & PD Liab, PIP30/60/25
UtahBI & PD Liab, PIP25/65/15
VermontBI & PD Liab, UM, UIM25/50/10
VirginiaBI & PD Liab, UM, UIM25/50/20
WashingtonBI & PD Liab25/50/10
West VirginiaBI & PD Liab, UM, UIM25/50/25
WisconsinBI & PD Liab, UM, Medpay25/50/10
WyomingBI & PD Liab25/50/20
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To help you better understand the information, we’ve summarized the acronyms and abbreviations.

Liability Auto Insurance Abbreviation Definitions
AbbreviationMeaning
BIBodily Injury
PDProperty Damage Liability
PIPPersonal Injury Protection
UMUninsured Motorist
UIMUnderinsured Motorist
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Keep reading for more on how much insurance costs in the U.S.

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How much does auto insurance cost in the U.S.?

To get an idea of the cost of minimum coverage (so you have a ballpark for what you’ll need to pay), take a look at this table for average rates for liability coverage by state.

Average Annual Liability Auto Insurance Rates by State
StateAverage Annual Liability Auto Insurance
Rates
North Dakota$282.55
South Dakota$289.04
Iowa$293.34
Wyoming$323.38
Maine$333.92
Idaho$337.17
Vermont$340.98
Kansas$342.33
Nebraska$349.07
North Carolina$357.59
Wisconsin$359.84
Indiana$372.44
Alabama$372.57
Ohio$376.16
Arkansas$381.14
Montana$387.77
New Hampshire$393.24
Tennessee$397.73
Missouri$399.41
Virginia$413.12
Illinois$430.54
Mississippi$437.38
Minnesota$439.58
Oklahoma$441.57
Hawaii$458.49
New Mexico$462.21
California$462.95
Utah$471.26
Colorado$477.10
Arizona$488.59
Georgia$490.64
Pennsylvania$495.02
South Carolina$497.50
Texas$498.44
West Virginia$501.44
Kentucky$518.91
Alaska$547.34
Oregon$553.43
Washington$568.92
Massachusetts$587.75
Maryland$599.48
District of Columbia$628.09
Connecticut$633.95
Nevada$647.07
Rhode Island$720.06
Michigan$722.04
Louisiana$727.15
Delaware$776.50
New York$784.98
Florida$845.05
New Jersey$865.55
U.S. Average$516.39
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Liability-only insurance will cost you about $43 per month. Most policies are six or 12 months long. Keep in mind these rates are averages. Your costs may be higher, particularly given that as a foreign driver, you won’t have a driving record in the U.S. that auto insurance companies can use as a baseline for adjusting your rates.

One option for foreign driver auto insurance for short-term visitors is temporary auto insurance on an international driving license. This would allow you to have the coverage you need for the timeframe you will be driving.

It may take a little longer to find short-term auto insurance companies, but you can still look around for different rates.

Not every company will offer a short-term policy, so be sure to shop around to find the coverage at a great price.

Can I get any discounts as a foreign driver?

If you’re planning a short visit to the U.S. in which you’ll be borrowing or renting a vehicle, you probably won’t qualify for any discounts. However, if you’re planning an extended stay with a traditional insurance plan, you may be able to lower your rates with discounts like passive restraint usage, safety features, and multiple vehicle or bundling policies.

Do I need auto insurance when borrowing a car? 

If you’re visiting friends or family in the United States, you may have a car that you can borrow for the duration of your trip.

Some insurance companies will cover visitors and allow them to drive the policyholder’s car, but it all depends on the company.

Rather than taking chances with coverage, ask your friend to add you to their policy as a short-term visitor.

If you’re going to rent a car, you have a few different options for coverage.

In addition to the plans offered by the company, you also may have protection through:

  • The credit card you used to make the reservation
  • Your regular insurance company from home
  • Your employer if you’re traveling on their behalf
  • A motor club membership

If you don’t have any of these coverages, you can easily purchase the insurance you need from the rental car agency. However, you’ll want to make sure that you have the right coverage before you drive off the lot. You should ask about:

  • Collision Damage Waiver – This coverage pays for any damage or theft to a rental car while it’s in your possession. As a visitor, it can provide you with peace of mind because you won’t necessarily know where the high-risk areas are to avoid them.
  • Supplemental Liability Insurance – Most people don’t really have enough liability coverage, and that includes renters. However, you can also get the protection you need with an umbrella policy and go with the minimum amount required at the rental counter.
  • Personal Accident Insurance – This covers medical expenses for you and your passengers in the event of an accident, but it’s not necessary if you have purchased health insurance for your trip.
  • Personal Effects Coverage – Items that are stolen out of your vehicle would be covered with this plan, but you may already have protection through the homeowner’s policy you have at home. Before you leave for your trip, call your company to see if you have protection.

There is no one size fits all when it comes to auto insurance. Speak with your agent to determine exactly what coverages you need.

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Should I rent or buy a car?

In addition to educating yourself on rental car insurance, you may want to make sure you’re fully prepared by booking your car in advance. If you’re purchasing the insurance ahead of time, you can learn more about the options and make a fully informed decision.

If renting a car isn’t feasible due to the length of the stay, then buying a car is a smart choice. The vehicle can always be sold when you return home. However, in this case, you’ll have to invest in short-term auto insurance (or long-term if you plan to be in the U.S. for an extended period).

The great news is that several companies are offering short-term plans for visitors. You’ll need to have your international driver’s permit (more on this in the next section) before you can apply for insurance, and you won’t be able to drive until you have the coverage. When applying for a plan, you’ll need to provide the company with:

  • The address where you’ll be staying
  • The make, model, and vehicle identification number of the car you’ll drive
  • Information about your driving record, including tickets or accidents in the last few years

If you don’t know what type of car you’ll have when you arrive and don’t have an address quite yet, then you won’t be able to purchase the insurance. However, you can still shop around ahead of time to find a company that offers these plans and is willing to serve you.

Upon arriving in the United States, either use an insured rental car or let someone else drive you until the insurance is in place. You’re expected to have the state-mandated coverage levels before getting behind the wheel of a car.

Do I need an International Driving Permit to buy auto insurance?

An international driving permit (IDP) is a valid form of identification accepted by 150 countries around the globe. It contains key information about you that is translated into 10 different languages.

It’s a highly recommended piece of identification for travelers because it displays your:

  • Name
  • Photo
  • Driver information

Take note that the IDP is meant to be carried with a valid driver’s license from your home country.

The two must be presented together if you’re ever pulled over for a traffic violation, and it’s usually good for a period of one year.

Additionally, you will need to obtain the IDP in your country of citizenship and bring it with you to the United States, along with your passport and driver’s license.

USA.gov provides resources to help visitors be prepared before entering the country.

When visiting the United States, you may be able to rent a car using your license and the IDP. You can also get auto insurance with an overseas license.

If you’re a resident of the country, you’ll want to check your state’s individual requirements. In most cases, you’ll be required to obtain a state-issued driver’s license.

In general, you can expect your foreign license and IDP to be good for one year. However, at the end of this period, the state you’re visiting may expect you to get a local driver’s license.

Contact your local Department of Motor Vehicles ahead of time to find out if you’re eligible and learn more about the requirements.

One great option is to use a comparison tool to quickly enter what you need and be rewarded with different companies’ information. The process will be faster, and you might save some money on the auto insurance rates when you arrive.

Shop around for car insurance with a foreign driver’s license by using a comparison site. In addition to finding lower rates, you can also look for more thorough coverage that better suits your auto insurance needs for foreign drivers. When you know you’re covered, you can head out on the roads with confidence and start seeing all that the United States has to offer.

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Frequently Asked Questions: Can you get auto insurance with a foreign driver’s license?

Do you still have questions about obtaining auto insurance with a foreign driver’s license? Take a minute to check out these frequently asked questions.

#1 – How do you drive in the U.S. with a foreign license?

You can drive in the U.S. for up to three months on a foreign license. If you intend to drive and purchase car insurance as a long-term international visitor, you must get a United States driver’s license.

#2 – Which companies offer auto insurance for foreign drivers?

Many companies in the U.S. offer car insurance for foreign drivers. These include The General, Kemper, and Assurance America.

Are you ready to buy foreign driver auto insurance? Start by comparing foreign driver auto insurance quotes.

Enter the ZIP code of the area in which you’ll be staying in our free tool to find the best auto insurance for international drivers in the USA.

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