If you plan to travel outside the United States, you should carefully consider your auto insurance policy because, most of the times, it doesn’t cover your for driving out of the country. If you travel to neighboring countries, such as Canada or Mexico, maybe your domestic auto insurance policy covers you, but you should make sure that it meets the country’s minimum requirements to avoid being under-insured. If you’re driving to Canada or Mexico with your U.S. registered vehicle, you may purchase instant auto insurance that covers you solely for the duration of your travel. Originally, instant auto insurance was exclusively available by independent agencies in the borders, but nowadays you can purchase it by your insurer before departing for your travel.
If you’re traveling overseas, your domestic auto insurance policy doesn’t cover you. In this case, you should consider purchasing additional auto insurance policy as car rental companies overseas typically offer the minimum required coverage, which is not enough. So, the least you should purchase is an auto insurance policy that is equivalent to your U.S. auto insurance policy.
The following are things to consider when driving abroad with a U.S. license.
What Are The Required Documents?
Before departing for your overseas travel it is important to obtain the required documents in order to comply with the law, but also to be covered in case of an accident.
1. International Driving Permit (IDP)
An International Driving Permit (IDP) is, in effect, an official translation of your U.S. license to prove that you hold a valid driver’s license in the United States. The IDP is recognized in more than 150 countries outside the U.S. and is translated in the 5 official UN languages – English, French, Spanish, Russian and Chinese – but also in German, Italian, Portuguese, the Scandinavian languages and Arabic.
The IDP can be obtained by the American Automobile Association (AAA) or the National Auto Club, which are both authorized by the U.S. Department of State. You can apply if you are at least 18, possess a valid U.S. license and present two recent passport-size photographs. The current cost of the IDP is $15.
2. Certificate of Motor Insurance
The Certificate of Motor provides details of your auto insurance policy. If you have an accident in the foreign country with your U.S. registered vehicle, you can use your Certificate of Motor to prove that your vehicle is insured.
3. Green Card
The green card, also known as International Motor Insurance Card, is a proof that your U.S. registered vehicle meets the minimum insurance requirements in the foreign country. However, if you’re traveling to the member-states of the EU plus Iceland, Norway, Switzerland, Croatia and Liechtenstein, you don’t need a green card.
Find Out the Countries You Are Covered For
Most reputable insurers provide auto insurance coverage for all 27 member states of the European Union (EU), namely Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom, but also Iceland, Norway, Switzerland, Croatia and Liechtenstein, which are non-EU members.
Overall, driving abroad with a U.S. license requires to ensure that you meet the minimum requirements in the foreign country and to obtain the required documents. It is advisable to have both your IDP and your U.S. state driver’s license in the vehicle because driving rules vary in different countries. You may also visit the foreign country’s embassy in the United States to obtain information about the country’s driving laws before departing for your travel.