Car Insurance While Traveling Overseas

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In a nutshell...
  • It’s possible to suspend your insurance when traveling for extensive periods of time
  • Renting a car overseas is likely not covered by your U.S. car insurance policy
  • It’s important to have car insurance when you are overseas

There are a lot of different things that happen when you decide to travel overseas. Much of what happens is going to depend on how long you plan on traveling as well as whether you plan on renting a car in the foreign country.

You might need to suspend your own insurance as well as obtain insurance for your rental car. The more you know about your existing policy, the easier it will be to get the coverage you need.

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How to Deal with Your Own Car When Traveling Overseas

One of the first things you need to do is take into consideration your own personal vehicle. Just because you travel overseas doesn’t mean that you stop adhering to the laws where your car is registered.

If you are planning on traveling overseas for a month or longer, you might not see the need to continue paying for car insurance. However, as long as you still have a vehicle and it is registered with your state, you need to have an insurance policy.

If you are going to be overseas for several months, you might want to look at suspending your policy.

Policy suspension is offered by many different insurance companies. It would allow you to stop paying insurance premiums for a specific amount of time.

You wouldn’t have coverage on the vehicles, but it would prevent you from getting in trouble with the state based upon registration requirements.

Insurance suspension essentially would allow you to save some money while you travel overseas. As long as no one is driving your vehicle, there is no reason to have insurance in place aside from any state regulations.

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Getting Coverage on a Rental Car Overseas

Many people choose to rent cars when they are overseas. Whether traveling to South America, Europe, or anywhere else, it’s convenient to have a rental car at your disposal.

Most rental car companies will require you to have insurance on the vehicle. This requirement means that it is an additional cost beyond what you are paying for the rental car itself.

Your first thought might be to wave off the cost for insurance because you already have a policy in place on your own personal vehicle. However, most personal insurance policies only cover rental cars in the United States.

When you travel overseas, you don’t have the coverage. If you think that you do, it’s worth a phone call to the insurance company to confirm what you do and do not have within your policy.

If your insurance company tells you that you don’t have coverage on a rental car overseas, you need to get a policy. This policy could be obtained through the following places:

  • Rental car counter
  • Travel insurance
  • Individual insurance company

The overseas country you are driving in has its own rules for insurance. You need the coverage, not only because it’s required but because you’re dealing with different roads, new laws, and various potential hazards.

When you travel within the European Union, one policy will provide you with coverage in all 26 countries. This policy allows you to travel freely without having to wonder whether you have the coverage in place or not.

If you travel to other parts of the world, you will need to confirm where you are able to travel to without having to change an insurance policy.

Explore Coverage Options on Rental Cars


When you drive within the United States, and even parts of Mexico and Canada, you might be covered with your existing car insurance policy.

In many instances, you will need to have your state minimums (which includes liability for bodily injury and property damage) as well as comprehensive insurance.

Some of the other ways to get insurance for a rental car include:

  • Using an existing policy
  • Being added to a policy someone has in the country you are traveling to
  • Adding coverage through a travel insurance policy
  • Using travel benefits from a credit card

You never want to guess at the coverage you have or need. When you decide to travel overseas, you need to pay attention to your car insurance. Consider what you have on your own personal vehicle as well as any rental cars that you may obtain throughout your trip.

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