Yes, you can get auto insurance while visiting the US on a visa. You will need to obtain a special driver’s license before you leave your home country first. Once you have this document, you can consider buying car insurance yourself, having your name added to a family member’s existing policy or renting a car for the duration of your stay.
Read on to learn about United States visa car insurance coverage and then be sure to enter a US zip code above to find and compare local car insurance rates!
International Driver’s License
The first step in being eligible to drive and buy car insurance as a visitor to the United States is to get an international drivers license. You will need to apply for this document in your home country. Be sure to give yourself enough time so that you receive your license before coming to the United States.
Once issued, the international driver’s license is valid for one year or when your visa expires, whichever date comes first. You will need it to get insurance coverage in the U.S.
If you plan to stay in the country for more than 12 months, you will need to get a driver’s license issued by the state where you live. The Department of Motor Vehicles in the state where you are staying can provide you with more information.
Coverage Options when Visiting the US on a Visa
Once you have your international driver’s license in place, you can start to consider your coverage options. If you will be staying with a family member while visiting the country, the easiest way to get the coverage you need may be to have your name added to an existing car insurance policy.
This may be the most economical option, since you are being added as an additional driver instead of having to apply for coverage yourself. If you are planning to explore this method of getting the coverage you need, discuss it with your family members who are in the U.S. well before your arrival so that they can make the necessary arrangements.
If your stay is going to be a relatively short one, you may want to consider renting a car for the duration. This option is one to consider if you will be in the country for six months or less. The car rental company will provide insurance coverage as part of the contract you sign with it.
Be sure to ask how much more you will be paying for the cost of your rental if you add the insurance coverage. You may want to consider a number of rental companies before making your final decision, since you may be able to get a better rate for a long-term rental by shopping around.
If you rent a car using your credit card, you may get car insurance through the credit card company. It’s a good idea to check with the card issuer to find out if this is the case. If so, you will want to confirm the level and type of coverage you get by using the card.
Travel insurance companies may provide a certain level of car insurance coverage as part of a plan. In a case where your stay will be relatively short, you may want to investigate this option. Again, you will need to confirm that the level and type of coverage you are being offered meets the minimum requirements set by the state you will be visiting.
Buying a Standard Car Insurance Policy
If you are planning to be in the United States for an extended stay, the best option for you may be to consider buying a car insurance policy yourself. The Department of Insurance in the state where you will be staying can advise you about the minimum coverage level you are required to buy.
Then you can start to shop around for coverage. The Internet makes this a fairly simple process. You can gather information about different insurance providers and ask for quotes for the coverage you need. If you have questions about the coverage options or the quote you have been given, contact the insurance company by e-mail or live chat (where available) to get them answered.
If you are thinking of buying your own car insurance policy while you are visiting the US on a visa, you can start shopping around for coverage today. Just use the free car insurance rate quote tool to get started now!