Car Insurance for Non-US Citizens

The United States attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors every year. Some of them stay for a just a couple of weeks and some for a lot longer. One of the things that all visitors to the US have in common is that if they intend to drive a car here they must have insurance. With no exceptions. Short term visitors will usually either rent a car or borrow one from friends or family. In either case it is the responsibility of the hirer or lender to make sure that the new drivers will be fully covered by insurance. Those staying longer term may by a car to get around in. In this case it is their responsibility to ensure that the car is fully covered.Car insurance for non US citizens

Car Insurance for Non- US Citizens- Is it a must?

Any car on the US road system must have insurance. However, not all cars on the road are owned by Americans. The law clearly states that drivers who arrive in the US from a foreign country can drive on US roads as long as they have taken the necessary steps to ensure that their insurance has been extended to cover the United States. Every year thousands of cars enter the US, usually from either Canada or Mexico. The border patrol guards will check to make sure that they have valid insurance before entering the country. The driver must also have a valid international driving license.

What kind of insurance policy should I get?

The extent of car insurance coverage that a non- US citizen will be required to take out should depend on the type of vehicle, who owns it and its value. The law states that all vehicles must have liability only, or liability with fire, theft, willful damage, personal injury protection (PIP) as well as accident. This cover should take in private passenger vehicles, motorcycles, and light passenger vans.

If a Non US Citizen is renting a car they can be sure that the rental company will take care of every detail of the insurance as the car will have a relatively high value and will be comprehensively insured.

If a Non US Citizen is borrowing a car from a family member or friend then the value of the vehicle has to be taken into account. If the car owner only has liability insurance then it might not be necessary to take out a policy at a higher level. If the owner has fully comprehensive insurance on their vehicle then it should also be matched. A relatively low cost method of ensuring that the car is fully covered is to add the foreign guest as a temporary additional driver on the owner’s policy

If a Non US Citizen is buying a car then the value of the car will again play a part. If the car is of low value then liability only or liability with fire, theft, willful damage, personal injury protection (PIP) as well as accident will probably be sufficient. If the car is of a higher value then comprehensive insurance will be a must. Foreign visitors should take into account a few factors to keep the cost of insurance under control. Taking out short term comprehensive insurance can be an expensive business, and it may be more cost effective to take out long term insurance and cash it in at the end of the visit.

Non US Citizens who intends to drive a car during their visit should make a few inquiries on the steps involved before arriving. Knowing a local insurance broker will certainly help. An international driver’s license is a must and it will need to be applied for and issued in the visitor’s country of origin.

Contrary to many reports, visitors to the US are not required to have a local social security number (SSN) in order to apply for car insurance in America.

The Final Word On Car Insurance For Non US Residents

Buying car insurance for a Non US citizen who is visiting the country need not be a complicated matter. All that is needed is some local knowledge and a lot of common sense. Renting a car is usually the first option for most short term visitors, in which case the rental company will take care of all of the details before releasing the car. Borrowing and buying is where common sense comes into play.

The visitor must apply levels of judgment to ensure that they are fulfilling their obligation to insure a care that will be driven anywhere in the United States and keeping the costs at a reasonable level.


  Comments: 28

  1. Debbie Trunks

    i am requesting information on auto liability insurance for a hire vehicle in USA for non US resident.
    We are a party of travellers from Australia and the van hire company we want to go through does not have auto liability insurance we can purchase with the hire vehicle , we require 20 days of insurance , 3 drivers over the age of 25
    ( 53 , 52 & 49 ) all current auto insurance holders with A1 rating in Australia….can you please advise me on insurance costs and availability.
    We plan to drive from New York to Toronto , Detroit , Chicago , Dayton , Nashville, Memphis , New Orleans and finish in Austin TX.
    Any help or advice would be appreciated.
    Thank You,

    • What did you find was the best way to get the insurance you needed? Like you I wish to hire a van from a company that does not have its own auto insurance. The region would only be Montana & Wyoming.

  2. Hi,
    I am a New Zealand resident and wanting to insure a leased vehicle whilst travelling in the US. The leasing vehicle company does not offer insurance for non residents to the USA.
    The vehicle details are 2016 Ford Transit cargo van XLT valued at US$31,000.
    My wife would be the main driver, she is aged 55 years has held auto insurance for the last 15 years or more, has made no claims and has no citations/convictions. My details are similar. We are currently insured for our NZ vehicles.
    We are wanting to insure the van for a one way rental (lease) pick up Savannah GA or nearby on 25th of July 2016 and drop off in Los Angeles. 42 days insurance duration. Fully comprehensive insurance with no excess, personal driver liability cover and breakdown insurance required.

    Jim Denham.

  3. I am a non-US citizen about to purchase a 1972 Gran Torino Elite in STL, Mo. I can buy car in my name or in US-citizen name.

    Which was can i go to get suitable insurance cove on car and drivers?

  4. Hi. I will be visiting the USA/Canada for 2 months in 2016. I am a UK passport holder and want to freight my UK registered vehicle to drive in USA/Canada. Can you please advise on insurance?

    Thanks, Kevin

  5. Hi,

    I am an Australian wanting to buy a car and drive it across North America to export home to Australia. Can you please advise what is required for me to insure the vehicle. I am hoping to buy a car in Milwaukee and drive it to San Francisco over a 4 week period.

    The car will cost me $22000 USD.

    Look forward to hearing from someone soon.

    Adrian Deede.

  6. Hi, I require insurance for a 1964 Buick Riviera which I have purchased in Maine US. I am an Australian citizen and plan completing route 66 in May’16. I attempted to hit the Quote button however the screen kept freezing.

    Regards David

    • Hi David, did you get an answer to your query and if so what was it and what did yu eventually end up doing abut classic car insurance.
      I’m doing similar and buying a Camaro in PA and wish to drive it back to LA to ship, a trip of about 17 days driving. thanks for any advice regards kevin

  7. Kevin,

    i am in a similar situation to yourself. Please let me know if you find an answer to this problem. i am struggling to find the answer.


  8. hello

    Can you insure a car of canadian citizen in Canada?

  9. Hello, i am italian resident with an italian car. I need an insurance for 3-6 months for Usa and Canada.
    Tank you

  10. Hi 4Auto Insurance

    It says on you web page that you provide auto insurance for foreigners.

    I’m a Danish person living in Denmark, that want’s to know about RV insurance for a converted bus located in Indiana.

    I would like to get an estimated price for the legal insurance and optional full covered insurance.

    The vehicle is a 1997 converted bus International Thomas build RV – price for the vehicle is 2350$

    Probably a three or six month temporary insurance is most interesting for me. If possible I would also like to know about price for insurance that allows driving in Mexico.

    Best Regards – Anders

    • Christian Söderblom

      Hi Anders!

      Last time I bought a car in Los Angeles we got our insurance through a 3rd party and a mexican insurance company. It was a crappy insurance of up to 50 000$ liability only but got us going. I am coming back to the states and was thinking of buying a second car in the same ballpark of about 2000-2500$. Did you get a quote for an insurance and with what terms?

      • Did anyone get a reply about any of these questions? I’m buying a car in the us (I’m British) and would like to drive it while I’m there.

  11. 2009 Mazda CX-9 insurance quote for a year in west Hollywood driver female 30 driving 12 years in Canada no accidents or tickets

  12. I am a 18 years old student from Germany and just started at a University in Florida. I will stay for a couple of years in Florida.
    I would like to buy a car and have a German licence. Can you please advise on insurance?
    Best regards

  13. I am a New Zealand Citizen who is buying a new car in Texas to drive in the USA for around 12 months.
    Do you offer a comprehensive car policy?

  14. Insurance for two weeks in texas

  15. Michaela Oberger

    Hi from Austria,

    we are planning to ship our car from Europe to Halifax/Canda and will stay about 6-9 months in Canada and USA. We are leaving the country to Mexico by car. We are looking for a liability insurance for the car and for us. We both are Austrians and the car has an Austrian registration. Do you know which insurances can make this for us?
    Thanks in advance to your reply
    Regards from Austria

    • Cornelia Suttner

      Hi Michaela,

      Did you find a insurance for your car? Is it a car or RV? We do the same trip in April. We had a offer from a company (lions group) for our RV/Motorhome but suddenly they said our motorhome will be not accepted as a motorhome anymore, just like a normal cat. That means four times more expensive. But it is definitely a motorhome.


  16. I AM a mexicana citizen who will be staying in CALIFORNIA for 2 weeks and will be borrowing a friend’s car. Does the insurance cover me ifI Drive with a m xican drivers license?

  17. Im a non u.s citizen with a valid international and local driver’s license in the Philippines. Will be buying a cheap car of around $3000 and will be needing car insurance for about 3 months. I can’t transfer the title onto my name can I? How to get some insurance need help

  18. Where can one purchase insure for a vehicle registered in Belize? I will be touring Canada and US with no fixed address.

  19. Steven Christen


    We will be in California, Nevada, Arizaona and maybe New Mexico. We rent a car (Chev. Suburban) at Entrerprise RENT a car. As the insurance there is so expensive for 28 days more than 2000 US $ I am asking you if it is possible to make an insurance with YOU. Enterprise rent a car confirmed me, that it would be possible if it contains for EVERYTHING (full coverage). Is it possible to make an insurance with you for 4 Weeks and for a Tourist from OUTSIDE of the US???
    For a fast answer I would be very happy! If you don’t do it – I am asking – do you know if this is possible in the US or isn’t it possible with any inusrance???
    Thank you in advance

  20. Hi,
    My girlfriend and I are planning a US roadtrip from NY to LA. We are both 21 years old and the carhire is so expensive because of our age (young drivers fee) and oneway-fee that we are thinking about buying a car in the US. We will be travelling by car for 38 days and we will of course need car-insurance and roadside assistance. We will buy a used car with a price from 3-5000 $. Which insurance would you recommend for us and what are the costs?
    Thank you! :)
    Kind Regards
    Mikkel Boye

  21. I am a Canadian living in Belize , my truck is now with Belize plates and I need to drive back to Canada to pickup a trailer of my belongings to bring down . I have been searching for over a year and cannot find a company that will insure me through the States. Every other country is simple and easy to obtain but it seems it is impossible in the US , although I am sure it has been done. Your help would be appreciated.

  22. Helena Kubickova


    I am Czech Republic resident, I would like to hire a car for 20 days in May. I am an international driving license holder, of course.
    Actually, a price per insurance from my rental company is ridiculously high.
    I am seeking for other options, some insurance package, or simply SLI/SLP or CDW/LDW.

    Please, help me. I am a really desperate.

    Thank you, Helena

  23. Linda M. McIntosh

    Own a vehicle in Florida. Due to illness have not been there in 2 years. Am looking for insurance on my car for a 4 week period. I am from Nova Scotia but car is registered in Florida to my address there! Please help!

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