Auto Insurance for Non-U.S. Residents and Non-Citizens (Rates & Discounts)

Auto insurance for non-residents is required if you're planning to drive on your next trip to the U.S. Depending on where you will be visiting, auto insurance requirements for foreigners in the USA may include obtaining an international driving permit as well. Before you buy auto insurance for non-U.S. residents and non-citizens, consider comparing insurance quotes online for free. It's the easiest way to find cheap auto insurance rates for non-U.S. residents.

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Rachel Bodine graduated from college with a BA in English. She has since worked as a Feature Writer in the insurance industry and gained a deep knowledge of state and countrywide insurance laws and rates. Her research and writing focus on helping readers understand their insurance coverage and how to find savings. Her expert advice on insurance has been featured on sites like PhotoEnforced, All...

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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 insurance...

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Reviewed by Leslie Kasperowicz
Farmers CSR for 4 Years

UPDATED: May 28, 2021

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What You Should Know: Auto Insurance for Non-US Residents
Auto Insurance for Non-US ResidentsSource
Anyone driving in the U.S., regardless of citizenship or country of origin, must have a valid driver's licenseUSA.gov
Some states require foreign drivers to carry an international driving permitUSA.gov
The U.S. does not provide International Driving Permits to foreign visitors, so you'll need to obtain one prior to your trip to the U.S.USA.gov
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Do you need auto insurance as a tourist in the United States? Can non-U.S. citizens drive in the U.S.? Something all visitors to the U.S. have in common is that, if they intend to drive a car, auto insurance for non-U.S. residents and non-citizens is required.

There are no exceptions to this rule of required auto insurance for visitors to the USA. Short term visitors usually either rent a car or borrow one from friends or family.

It is the renter or lender’s responsibility to make sure visitors will be legally covered by auto insurance for foreigners in the USA. Visitors staying longer may consider buying a car instead. It is the visitor’s responsibility to ensure the car has enough auto insurance to drive in America legally.

We know understanding auto insurance laws in the U.S. can be frustrating. In this article, we’ll cover minimum auto insurance requirements, ways you can obtain insurance coverage as a visitor, whether you’ll need to obtain an international driving permit, and more.

Before we get started, find affordable auto insurance for non-U.S. residents and non-citizens by entering the ZIP code of the hotel or area in which you’ll be staying.

Non-U.S. Residents’ Auto Insurance Requirements

The requirement that every driver on the road maintains auto insurance is in place to protect everyone on the road financially. Auto insurance for foreigners in the USA is no exception to this.

So what is the auto insurance for non-residents’ requirements? Are international driving permits required? What is an international driving permit?

Before you purchase a vehicle or insurance coverage, learn a bit more about local auto insurance laws. That way, you’ll be prepared. Keep reading to learn more.

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What are the insurance requirements in the USA?

The USA auto insurance law states that all vehicles must have liability coverage only, or liability coverage with fire, theft, property damage coverage, bodily injury coverage, and personal injury protection (PIP).

These coverage requirements vary by state and apply to private passenger vehicles, motorcycles, and light passenger vans.

Take a look at this table to see a quick summary of the minimum insurance coverage requirements by state, according to the Insurance Information Institute (III).

Minimum Liability Auto Insurance Requirements by State
StatesAuto Insurance RequirementsMinimum Auto Insurance 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
KansasBI & 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
MississipiBI & 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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For reference in looking at the information in the table,

Minimum Liability Auto Insurance Abbreviations
AbbreviationMeaning
BIBodily Injury
PDProperty Damage Liability
PIPPersonal Injury Protection
UMUninsured Motorist
UIMUnderinsured Motorist
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Ultimately this means that any vehicle on U.S. roads must have insurance. This includes both drivers who are not residents and cars on the road owned by non-residents and non-citizens.

The law clearly states that drivers who arrive in the U.S. from a foreign country can drive on U.S. roads as long as they have ensured they have appropriate insurance coverage in the United States.

For drivers entering the country from Canada or Mexico, this is certainly something to take into consideration. If you are from either of these countries, make sure your existing auto insurance policy will cover you when you cross the border.

The patrol guards at the border check-points will often check to make sure you have valid insurance before entering the country. They will also make sure you have a valid driver’s license.

As for auto insurance for USA visitors entering the country by plane or boat and not driving their vehicle over the border, you’ll need to buy auto insurance independently. Your auto insurance coverage back home most likely won’t cover you in the U.S.

Continue reading below to find out what is needed for auto insurance for a tourist in the USA.

What kind of auto insurance coverage should I get?

The extent of auto insurance coverage that a non-U.S citizen will be required to buy depends on the type of vehicle, who owns it, and its value.

The following options of rental auto insurance for foreigners in the USA are available if you’re looking for auto insurance for UK drivers and drivers from any other country besides Canada and Mexico.

You may also be able to obtain auto insurance under a rental car agreement, which we’ll discuss in greater detail later.

When borrowing a car from someone, you typically won’t need to purchase insurance to drive that vehicle in the USA.

If the owner has full coverage insurance on their vehicle, it should be safe to drive regardless, though the vehicle owner will still need to check with their insurer (for example, GEICO car insurance).

A foreign license to drive may or may not be sufficient when the visitor drives your vehicle (more on this later).

If the car owner has liability insurance that meets their state’s minimum requirements, it might not be necessary to take out a policy with higher coverage, but it’s still a good idea.

To be completely safe, a relatively low-cost method of ensuring the car is fully covered is for the policyholder to add the foreign guest as a temporary additional driver on their policy.

If a non-U.S. citizen is buying a car in the United States, the car’s value will again play a role in determining how much insurance coverage is needed. If the car is of low-value, auto liability insurance will probably be sufficient.

If the car is of a higher value, then comprehensive or full coverage insurance is recommended.

How do I purchase auto insurance as a non-U.S. citizen?

Once you have your IDP, local license, or have confirmed your existing driver’s license eligibility, you can start looking for coverage.

If you choose to purchase a policy (rather than getting coverage through a rental agency), you’ll need to shop around to find out which companies sell auto insurance for foreign drivers.

For example, Progressive offers auto insurance for foreigners in the USA, as does Farmers, but many other companies do not sell auto insurance to visitors.

Once you’ve identified insurance companies that will sell you coverage, it’s a good idea to compare quotes to make sure you’re getting a fair rate.

What factors might affect your insurability? Your age and driving record (or lack of driving record in the U.S.) can affect insurability because a poor record or minimal record increases your risk in the eyes of insurance companies.

Your age may also be a factor because younger drivers are typically considered higher-risk than older, more experienced drivers.

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Do I need an international driver’s license for driving in the USA?

Every driver on the road in the U.S. must have a valid driver’s license. So while you may be able to purchase auto insurance for tourists in the USA with a passport, you won’t be able to drive without a license.

According to USA.gov, Canadian and Mexican driver’s licenses will be valid for use in the United States, but drivers entering the country that are citizens of other countries might need to have an international driver’s license or an international driving permit (IDP) to drive in the U.S.

While IDPs are not a federal requirement, they may be required at the state level, depending on where you’re planning to visit. Additionally, some rental car companies may require an IDP before they will rent you a vehicle.

So if you want to purchase insurance and don’t have an IDP, your ability to do so will be dependent on where you’re planning to drive and the insurance company.

Want a U.S. driver’s license? A U.S. driver’s license is not always required to purchase insurance (though this depends on the insurer). You’ll only be able to get a U.S. driver’s license if you are in the country long enough to establish residency in a particular state.

You don’t have to be a citizen, but you’ll need to be able to provide proof of residency as a first step.

Having a U.S. driver’s license may make it easier (and cheaper) to purchase auto insurance as a non-U.S. citizen, but again, this depends on the insurance company.

Where can I obtain an IDP?

As a foreign visitor to the U.S., you’ll need to obtain an IDP in your home country before coming to the states because the U.S. does not issue IDPs to foreign visitors.

Can I rent a car instead of purchasing auto insurance?

If a non-U.S. citizen is renting a car, the rental car company will work with you on the insurance requirements before renting it.

Rental auto insurance is not automatically included, so if you want rental auto insurance for foreigners in the USA, you’ll need to purchase it as an add-on to the rental agreement.

Rental car companies want to protect their product, so they will go over every insurance detail with a fine-toothed comb before renting it.

However, before purchasing insurance from a rental car company, check to see if your credit card company covers car rental insurance for non-U.S. residents. Companies like Resident Insure may be able to offer you rental insurance.

Insuring a rental car on your trip may require additional coverage if what is offered by the rental agency is not sufficient.

Should I purchase short-term or long-term insurance as a foreign visitor?

If you’re only going to be in the country for a short time, it may make more sense to purchase coverage through your rental agency. But if you’re going to be in the U.S. for an extended period of time, longer-term and more traditional coverage may make more sense and be more cost-effective.

What steps should I take to prepare for driving in the USA?

Non-U.S. citizens who intend to drive a car during their visit should make a few inquiries on the steps involved before arriving. Asking friends and acquaintances for tips is always a good idea.

However, contacting an American insurance agent is probably the best option before getting behind the wheel in the U.S. They’ll help you find the best visitor insurance in the U.S.

Buying auto insurance for non-U.S. citizens who are visiting the country does not need to be complicated. All you need is some local knowledge and a little common sense, both of which are things a local insurance agent can provide.

Is there anything else I need to know about auto insurance coverage as a visitor to the US?

There are a few more items to keep in mind as you plan for your next visit to the U.S. and consider whether to purchase auto insurance for travelers, obtain an IDP, etc.:

  • Unless you are entering from Canada or Mexico, an international driver’s license might be required, and it will need to be applied for and issued in the visitor’s country of origin.
  • Contrary to many reports, visitors to the U.S. are NOT required to have a local social security number (SSN) to apply for auto insurance in America. Just let the insurance company know you don’t have one, and it shouldn’t be a problem.
  • For a foreign visitor, purchasing short-term tourist auto insurance in the USA (under six months) can be an expensive endeavor, and it may be more cost-effective to take out long-term insurance and then cancel your auto insurance coverage before the end of the visit.
  • Auto insurance rates for non-U.S. citizens for traditional coverage will likely be higher than for residents, in part because foreign visitors do not have a proven driving record in the U.S., so that they may be perceived as higher-risk.

Regardless of what you choose, as long as you plan to drive in the U.S., some form of insurance coverage is required, so make sure to comparison shop for the best auto insurance quotes for non-U.S. residents and non-citizens.

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Frequently Asked Questions: Auto Insurance for Non-U.S. Residents and Non-Citizens

Do you still have questions about auto insurance for non-U.S. citizens and non-U.S. residents? Read through these frequently asked questions to learn more.

#1 – How much does minimum liability auto insurance cost?

If you choose to purchase a long term policy with the intent to cancel once you leave the U.S., the average cost for a policy by state is summarized in this table, populated with data from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC).

Average Annual Liability-Only Auto Insurance Rates by State
StateAverage Annual Liability Rates
Alabama$372.57
Alaska$547.34
Arizona$488.59
Arkansas$381.14
California$462.95
Colorado$477.10
Connecticut$633.95
Delaware$776.50
District of Columbia$628.09
South Dakota$289.04
Florida$845.05
Georgia$490.64
Hawaii$458.49
Idaho$337.17
Illinois$430.54
Indiana$372.44
Iowa$293.34
Kansas$342.33
Kentucky$518.91
Louisiana$727.15
Maine$333.92
Maryland$599.48
Massachusetts$587.75
Michigan$722.04
Minnesota$439.58
Mississippi$437.38
Missouri$399.41
Montana$387.77
Nebraska$349.07
Nevada$647.07
New Hampshire$393.24
New Jersey$865.55
New Mexico$462.21
New York$784.98
North Carolina$357.59
North Dakota$282.55
Ohio$376.16
Oklahoma$441.57
Oregon$553.43
Pennsylvania$495.02
Rhode Island$720.06
South Carolina$497.50
Tennessee$397.73
Texas$498.44
Utah$471.26
Vermont$340.98
Virginia$413.12
Washington$568.92
West Virginia$501.44
Wisconsin$359.84
Wyoming$323.38
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These are average annual rates and may vary based on your specific circumstances.

#2 – Is there anywhere near me that offers international driver’s licenses?

If you’re planning to visit the U.S. and would like to obtain an international driver’s license, you’ll need to speak with experts in your country, as the U.S. does not issue international driver licenses or permits to foreign visitors.

If you’re a U.S. citizen looking to obtain an international driver’s license before traveling abroad, you’ll need to do so either through the Automobile Association of America (AAA) or the American Automobile Touring Alliance (AATA).

They are the only two organizations in the country that currently provide IDPs to U.S. citizens.

And don’t forget you’ll probably need international driving insurance as well; to obtain this, you can start by speaking with your insurer and your credit card company to find out your options.

#3 – Can a foreign visitor drive my car?

Technically the answer is yes, but as we noted above, you’ll need to make sure your insurance policy is adequate and temporarily includes your foreign visitors, which you can do by calling your insurance agent.

#4 – Can I buy U.S. auto insurance for ex-pats?

If you’re a U.S. citizen living in another country as an ex-pat, you’ll likely need to purchase auto insurance through a provider in your country of residence.

Depending on how long you plan to live abroad, you may also be able to purchase temporary international auto insurance coverage, which you may or may not be able to obtain through your U.S. insurer; you’ll need to speak to a licensed insurance agent to find out whether they offer this ex-pat auto insurance in the USA.

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 renting you the car.

Borrowing a vehicle requires little of a visitor, as the vehicle’s owner is responsible for ensuring any visitors are temporarily added to the policy. However, buying a vehicle is a more complicated issue that requires the visitor to contact a local auto insurance company.

No matter what, it is of extreme importance that the visitor follows all local laws and meets the local insurance requirements of whatever place they intend to travel.

The United States is a great place to visit but has a vast, complex legal system that is not always forgiving to foreign visitors who do not respect the law.

Before you go, enter the ZIP code of the area you’ll be visiting below to get cheap auto insurance rates for non-U.S. residents and non-citizens today.

Which auto insurance company for non-U.S. residents and non-citizens is for you? Find out now.

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