• The specifics of insuring your car while driving abroad depend on where you live, in what country or countries you will be driving while abroad, how your car will be crossing the border and what options are offered by the company that insures your car at home.

    Driving Across the Border

    If you will be driving to your destination from your home country, the first thing to do is find out whether your current insurance can be extended to cover the trip. The answer will vary depending on how long you will be out of the country, laws of the country you will be visiting, and your insurer. If the answer is yes, buying extended coverage is almost certainly your best option. If your home country insurance can't be extended, you can often buy temporary coverage at major border crossings. This is the case when traveling from the U.S. to Mexico or crossing from European Union countries into countries that don't recognize EU coverage. Such insurance is typically expensive and is best used for short visits. In cases in which buying a policy at the border is not an option and your local coverage cannot be extended, you will need to buy international insurance ahead of time.

    Shipping Your Car

    Whether you are shipping overland or by sea, you will need proof of insurance when you pick up your vehicle at the port of entry. Arrange for international insurance before you leave home. Only a few companies offer international coverage. See the Resource links for three companies that accept online applications. The process of getting an international policy is very much like getting a local policy. You must fill out an application and provide documentation. You can complete some of this online or by telephone. Expect to submit signed documents and proof of identification by fax. Upon approval, you will typically receive your policy by mail. Ask whether your car will be covered while it is being shipped. If not, which is common, arrange for coverage with the shipper.

    Cost and Other Considerations

    Expect to pay much more for an international policy than you have been paying for coverage at home. In some cases it may make sense to leave your car at home and use public transportation while visiting abroad. For extended stays, look into establishing an address and buying a policy from a reputable local company. If the laws of your host country permit this, you will likely pay much less for equivalent coverage. Find out what the requirement is regarding a driver's license. In some places your international insurance is invalid unless you have an international or local license.


    International Car Insurance Guide

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