September 8, 2009

Auto Insurance Abroad: Making Sure You’re Covered While Traveling

Traveling overseas is undoubtedly an exciting opportunity to explore new places, to immerse yourself in rich cultures, to have culinary feasts and to take as many spontaneous road trips as you can. Driving in another country may sound like a fabulous idea, but before flying out of here and getting yourself behind the wheel, it would be best to review your auto insurance coverage. You might think that your auto insurance policy in the U.S. will cover you elsewhere, but this not always true.

As a traveler, you might want to consider a renting a car. If you do the research, you will find several international agencies that do business involving renting cars. When renting from an agency, be sure to check if the rental will include auto insurance. If not, you may opt to purchase temporary rental auto insurance from that agency. This is the best option if you do not have the necessary coverage in your current insurance policy. This also is usually the most cost-efficient and economical way of driving abroad. In looking for proper insurance, you may also want to contact your credit card companies. You might be qualified for insurance from them when driving overseas. Companies like MasterCard or American Express many times will cover your auto insurance when in a foreign country with a rental car paid for on that credit card.

You may also plan on borrowing a friend or relative's car when traveling. Ask first if they have car auto insurance coverage. It may be possible that his or her policy will cover anyone driving the car.

When looking to motor around another country, it's also good to educate yourself on requirements you may need as a driver. It is not entirely required for you to hold an international driver's license when traveling. In many cases all you need is a permit. Check with the country you are traveling to find out which type of permit you will need. Most valid international driving permits can be purchased before travel, as long as you hold your own U.S. driver's license.

Bottom line is, do not hesitate to ask questions. Contact your auto insurance company if you are uncertain and need clarifications about your insurance coverage overseas. You might even discover that, under your own insurance policy, you qualify for auto insurance coverage abroad without additional fees. Most auto insurance companies based in the U.S. do not offer auto coverage abroad. It would be best to consult with your insurer before making any travel plans to discuss your policy and to help you get the appropriate auto insurance coverage for while you travel.