Auto Insurance for Foreigners

If you're planning to drive in the U.S., you will need to purchase the amount of car insurance coverage legally required in the state(s) where you're planning to drive. Several companies offer auto insurance for foreigners.

UPDATED: Jul 19, 2022Fact Checked

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Sara Routhier, Managing Editor and Outreach Director, has professional experience as an educator, SEO specialist, and content marketer. She has over five years of experience in the insurance industry. As a researcher, data nerd, writer, and editor she strives to curate educational, enlightening articles that provide you with the must-know facts and best-kept secrets within the overwhelming world o...

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Written by Sara Routhier
Director of Outreach Sara Routhier

Cynthia Lanctot is an insurance professional with ten years of industry experience. Cynthia is licensed in several states, and holds an associate in claims law, as well as a bachelor’s degree in English. Cynthia’s experience includes the New England and Northeast states. She currently works as a liability claims professional and an occasional online contributor.

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Reviewed by Cynthia Lanctot
Licensed Agent Cynthia Lanctot

UPDATED: Jul 19, 2022

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A Concise Overview

  • You may be able to use an international license to purchase auto insurance in the U.S.
  • If you live in the United States for more than one year, you will need a driver’s license issued by the U.S.
  • Car insurance rates are often higher for foreigners because there is insufficient information concerning a driving record

If you plan to visit the United States for work, fun, or a mixture of both, you may wonder what you need to do about auto insurance coverage. Of course, if you will be riding with other people during your time in the States, you don’t have to worry about an auto insurance policy. But you’ll need proper coverage if you plan to drive while in the country.

Depending on your home country and the length of time you plan to be in the States, you may be able to purchase an auto insurance policy with an international driver’s license. But if you plan to stay in the U.S. for a year or more, you’ll need a valid U.S. license to drive. 

Can foreigners buy car insurance in the U.S.?

Non-U.S. citizens can purchase car insurance if they are traveling to the country. And car insurance for foreigners in the U.S. is not all that difficult to find. 

Many major insurance companies offer car insurance for international drivers in the U.S., but you will need a valid driver’s license to purchase coverage. 

Major insurance providers may accept your original driver’s license issued in your home country. If not, you can apply for an international driving permit (IDP) to drive legally in the U.S.

If you need to purchase a car insurance policy as a foreign driver, you may find that most companies offer policy terms in either six- or 12-month increments. Still, you may be able to find options with some insurers for temporary policies or shorter options, such as a three-month policy.

If you will only be in the U.S. for a short time and plan to rent a car for the duration of your visit, you should be able to purchase proper car insurance coverage through the rental company.

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Do I need car insurance as a short-term visitor?

Regardless of how long you plan to be in the U.S., you will need proper car insurance coverage if you plan to drive. However, if you will only be in the States for a few days or weeks, your best bet is to purchase coverage through a rental car company. This is often the easiest way to get car insurance for tourists in the U.S.

You may also have the option to purchase auto insurance through your credit card company when you use your card to purchase your rental car, as some credit card companies offer this type of coverage when you book your rental. Here are some of the most popular credit cards to provide auto insurance coverage for rental cars:

  • Chase Freedom Flex
  • United Club Infinite
  • Capital One Venture X Rewards 
  • U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve Visa
  • United Explorer
  • Chase Sapphire Reserve
  • Bilt World Elite Mastercard
  • Hilton Honors Aspire

Many international travelers find that credit cards offer lower rates for rental car insurance than rental car companies. Keep this in mind when you’re planning your trip.

Should I get car insurance as a long-term visitor to the U.S.?

If you plan to buy or lease a car while spending time in the U.S., you’ll need an insurance policy that meets the requirements of the state you’ll be staying in. Many states require that you get a U.S. license to purchase an insurance policy if you’ll be living and driving in the country for more than six months.

The table below shows the requirements for coverage in each state.

Minimum Liability Auto Insurance Coverage Requirements by State
StatesInsurance Coverage Required Minimum Liability Limits
AlabamaBodily injury and property damage liability25/50/25
AlaskaBodily injury and property damage liability50/100/25
ArizonaBodily injury and property damage liability15/30/10
ArkansasBodily injury and property damage liability, Personal injury protection (PIP)25/50/25
CaliforniaBodily injury and property damage liability15/30/5
ColoradoBodily injury and property damage liability25/50/15
ConnecticutBodily injury and property damage liability, uninsured motorist, underinsured motorist25/50/20
DelawareBodily injury and property damage liability, Personal injury protection (PIP)25/50/10
Washington, D.C.Bodily injury and property damage liability, uninsured motorist, underinsured motorist25/50/10
FloridaBodily injury and property damage liability, Personal injury protection (PIP)10/20/10
GeorgiaBodily injury and property damage liability25/50/25
HawaiiBodily injury and property damage liability, Personal injury protection (PIP)20/40/10
IdahoBodily injury and property damage liability25/50/15
IllinoisBodily injury and property damage liability, uninsured motorist, underinsured motorist25/50/20
IndianaBodily injury and property damage liability25/50/25
IowaBodily injury and property damage liability20/40/15
KansasBodily injury and property damage liability, Personal injury protection (PIP)25/50/25
KentuckyBodily injury and property damage liability, Personal injury protection (PIP), uninsured motorist, underinsured motorist25/50/25
LouisianaBodily injury and property damage liability15/30/25
MaineBodily injury and property damage liability, uninsured motorist, underinsured motorist, medical payments (MedPay)50/100/25
MarylandBodily injury and property damage liability, Personal injury protection (PIP), uninsured motorist, underinsured motorist30/60/15
MassachusettsBodily injury and property damage liability, Personal injury protection (PIP)20/40/5
MichiganBodily injury and property damage liability, Personal injury protection (PIP)20/40/10
MinnesotaBodily injury and property damage liability, Personal injury protection (PIP), uninsured motorist, underinsured motorist30/60/10
MississippiBodily injury and property damage liability25/50/25
MissouriBodily injury and property damage liability, uninsured motorist25/50/25
MontanaBodily injury and property damage liability25/50/20
NebraskaBodily injury and property damage liability, uninsured motorist, underinsured motorist25/50/25
NevadaBodily injury and property damage liability25/50/20
New HampshireFinancial responsibility only25/50/25
New JerseyBodily injury and property damage liability, Personal injury protection (PIP), uninsured motorist, underinsured motorist15/30/5
New MexicoBodily injury and property damage liability,25/50/10
New YorkBodily injury and property damage liability, Personal injury protection (PIP), uninsured motorist, underinsured motorist25/50/10
North CarolinaBodily injury and property damage liability, uninsured motorist, underinsured motorist30/60/25
North DakotaBodily injury and property damage liability, Personal injury protection (PIP), uninsured motorist, underinsured motorist25/50/25
OhioBodily injury and property damage liability25/50/25
OklahomaBodily injury and property damage liability25/50/25
OregonBodily injury and property damage liability, Personal injury protection (PIP), uninsured motorist, underinsured motorist25/50/20
PennsylvaniaBodily injury and property damage liability, Personal injury protection (PIP)15/30/5
Rhode IslandBodily injury and property damage liability, Personal injury protection (PIP) 25/50/25
South CarolinaBodily injury and property damage liability, uninsured motorist, underinsured motorist25/50/25
South DakotaBodily injury and property damage liability, uninsured motorist, underinsured motorist25/50/25
TennesseeBodily injury and property damage liability25/50/15
TexasBodily injury and property damage liability, Personal injury protection (PIP)30/60/25
UtahBodily injury and property damage liability, Personal injury protection (PIP)25/65/15
VermontBodily injury and property damage liability, uninsured motorist, underinsured motorist25/50/10
VirginiaBodily injury and property damage liability, uninsured motorist, underinsured motorist25/50/20
WashingtonBodily injury and property damage liability25/50/10
West VirginiaBodily injury and property damage liability, uninsured motorist, underinsured motorist25/50/25
WisconsinBodily injury and property damage liability, uninsured motorist, medical payments (MedPay)25/50/10
WyomingBodily injury and property damage liability25/50/20
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As you can see, most states require at least property damage and bodily injury liability. Some states require additional coverage, like personal injury protection (PIP), medical payments (MedPay), and uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. 

If you are traveling in several U.S. states, you should consider carrying more than a liability policy to ensure you’re adequately covered. Adding collision and comprehensive coverage to your liability policy will help make sure your vehicle is covered if you’re in an accident or if your car is damaged due to something like theft, vandalism, or inclement weather. 

Is it easy for foreigners to get car insurance in the U.S.?

Plenty of companies in the U.S. offer auto insurance to noncitizens, but everyone applying for an auto insurance policy must have a valid driver’s license. 

Each state in the U.S. has laws regarding foreign visitors who plan to drive and insure their vehicles. Some states allow you to drive with an international license, while others require that you get an IDP. 

To get an IDP, you should apply before you begin your travels. You will need a valid passport and license in your home country to be eligible for an IDP. Once you apply for an IDP, getting your official permit in the mail could take several months.

Once you have the proper identification, you can purchase a car insurance policy. But don’t be surprised if you pay more for coverage because you’re a foreign driver.

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How much is car insurance for non-U.S. citizens?

Car insurance rates vary for many different reasons. Car insurance companies consider many factors when determining a person’s rates, so there’s no way to know how much you will pay for coverage until you begin your search.

Most companies consider a person’s driving record when determining their rates. But if you are from another country, your driving record may not be accessible to any U.S. insurance companies willing to offer you coverage. Because of this, you can expect to pay anywhere from 10% to 25% more for your car insurance. 

You can see the average auto insurance rates based on the coverage type below.

Average Annual Auto Insurance Rates by State and Coverage Type
StatesAverage Annual Liability Coverage RatesAverage Annual Collision Coverage RatesAverage Annual Comprehensive Coverage RatesAverage Annual Full Coverage Coverage Rates
North Dakota$282.55$252.21$112.74$741.11
South Dakota$289.04$251.30$110.12$1,206.46
Iowa$293.34$251.46$230.65$819.14
Wyoming$323.38$270.48$222.86$816.71
Maine$333.92$331.72$146.77$1,077.97
Idaho$337.17$284.92$117.98$833.44
Vermont$340.98$278.38$118.31$737.67
Kansas$342.33$255.33$130.15$904.39
Nebraska$349.07$293.78$116.79$1,057.63
North Carolina$357.59$227.44$227.64$737.63
Wisconsin$359.84$209.93$126.34$696.11
Indiana$372.44$207.10$171.58$672.01
Alabama$372.57$299.10$146.28$817.95
Ohio$376.16$298.21$201.56$941.34
Arkansas$381.14$304.87$183.36$869.37
Montana$387.77$223.50$206.24$778.81
New Hampshire$393.24$365.23$123.18$1,353.96
Tennessee$397.73$290.39$135.62$823.74
Missouri$399.41$254.90$199.87$842.54
Virginia$413.12$264.70$129.89$807.71
Illinois$430.54$237.19$115.02$724.65
Mississippi$437.38$259.65$166.34$825.40
Minnesota$439.58$302.96$194.74$935.08
Oklahoma$441.57$212.47$89.66$855.57
Hawaii$458.49$209$110.78$656.95
New Mexico$462.21$358.45$156.66$1,300.09
California$462.95$364.56$99.29$926.79
Utah$471.26$254.41$106.57$832.24
Colorado$477.10$263.36$158.34$898.79
Arizona$488.59$259.31$184.20$932.10
Georgia$490.64$297.75$100.09$856.33
Pennsylvania$495.02$377.06$122.17$1,219.29
South Carolina$497.50$200.10$228.59$717.73
Texas$498.44$340.51$186.70$1,025.64
West Virginia$501.44$319.10$195.04$1,015.57
Kentucky$518.91$391.03$208.59$1,326.78
Alaska$547.34$360.18$141.08$1,048.60
Oregon$553.43$307.31$132.01$934.34
Washington$568.92$250.13$104.11$923.16
Massachusetts$587.75$383.21$147.02$1,252.27
Maryland$599.48$358.68$128.92$1,075.35
District of Columbia$628.09$449.27$230.25$1,307.62
Connecticut$633.95$348.70$126.02$1,108.67
Nevada$647.07$281.70$103.03$777.98
Rhode Island$720.06$247.62$165.38$910.51
Michigan$722.04$214.02$173.04$826.64
Louisiana$727.15$249$96.66$679.56
Delaware$776.50$296.60$113.23$1,186.33
New York$784.98$264.58$123$745.17
Florida$845.05$320.45$153.61$964.70
New Jersey$865.55$267.48$166.89$896.58
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If you find that most auto insurance companies in the U.S. charge too much for coverage, you may want to consider a company that markets explicitly to foreign drivers.

What are the best insurance companies for foreigners?

Finding affordable car insurance for people with a foreign license can take some time, but the following companies are known for offering affordable policies to foreign drivers:

  • Dairyland
  • Hallmark
  • Infinity
  • Gainsco
  • Kemper
  • Assurance

If you have questions about your foreign license or how your IDP works, you can speak to a local department of motor vehicles or call the companies listed above and speak to a representative.

Before committing to any insurance company, compare quotes from multiple providers to see which companies offer you the best price for coverage. 

Car Insurance for Foreigners: The Bottom Line

If you are traveling to the U.S. and are planning to drive, you need car insurance. You can purchase an auto insurance policy through the rental car company or a credit card company if you plan to rent a car for a few days. But if you plan to buy a car to drive, you’ll need a personal auto insurance policy. 

You may be able to get auto insurance with a foreign driver’s license, or you may be required to get an IDP. But if you’ll be in the States for more than six to 12 months, you will likely need to apply for a U.S. driver’s license.

Many companies offer auto insurance policies to foreign drivers with the proper license. Still, you can expect to pay higher-than-average rates because you’re a bit of a wild card regarding a driving record.

The best way to save money on car insurance with a foreign license is to find and compare quotes from multiple insurance companies.

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