If a person will travel abroad and is thinking about driving a vehicle in the country he or she is going to, it is important to make sure that his or her local insurance company will serve and offer coverage in the specific country where he or she intends to drive. This does not apply to a rental car, this applies to privately owned cars, and rented cars are covered by local insurance you buy when you rent the car. If you travel to Europe, the rules are clear and you know what to do in case of an accident, the story changes when you go to Africa or Latin America.
Car Insurance Abroad in Central America, UK, and Europe
Latin America and specially Central America is a place where you must do youth research with regards to traffic laws and insurance before you decide to drive a rented or private car. One reason for this is that insurance is not required to drive a vehicle; all you need is a valid driver license. In fact their license control is so obsolete that probably on third or more of the drivers on the road do not have a license. Up to about ten years ago, a driver education course and exam were not required to get a license in some countries, all you had to do was pay the price and you would have one within the hour.
Getting car insurance abroad in the UK is pretty simple and you can get a lot of free quotes on the internet. One of the most popular companies for auto insurance abroad is Direct Line; they offer policies throughout the UK and Europe and have a pretty solid reputation. If you want to learn about more companies that are offering quality coverage, you may want to read up on a car insurance abroad forum on the internet to read what other people recommend. Forums are great because they offer a lot of personal insight and hearing from others usually helps make a decision when purchasing insurance policies.
Driving Your Own Car vs. Rental Cars
If you are planning on driving a privately owned vehicle (and getting private car insurance), think about the following information before doing it. Since insurance is not mandatory, in case you have an accident and the other party is not insured, you will be forced to go to traffic court and defend your case. Before even getting close to traffic court you will be forced to wait at the accident site for hours on end waiting for the traffic experts sent by the police to come and interview the parts, check for evidence, take pictures and everything else they do. The fact that the accident was not your fault does not necessarily mean you will win the case either, this depends on the investigation team’s opinions, and these may be swayed in the right direction.
If you are driving a rented car, this does not apply, all you have to do is call the rental agency and they will send someone to deal with insurance and court costs and dates. They will give you another car for the remainder of your visit and you will probably never hear about the accident again. You will have to give the police a statement and show them your valid driver’s license but that will be the end of your participation. This, of course, relates to an accident where no one was injured. When there is injury or death, the story changes and it is possible that you will have to spend at least a couple of hours in prison while the local police checks out your story and your record.
Rented cars are insured with local companies or with international companies that insure the rental company everywhere. Minimum insurance will usually cover any damages or problems you might have in a foreign country. It is usually a good idea to add a little to third person injuries and medical expense insurance, speaking of Latin America, there are many people walking the streets everywhere, most of these people come from the country and they honestly believe that a car has to stop to let them cross the street. Others are simply uneducated and they believe they are faster than a moving car. People are not the only possible obstacle, animals are found roaming the roads and even city streets and if you hit and injure one of them, you will pay a dire price for its health.
International Car Insurance Companies
Many international insurance companies will cover you anywhere in the world, this insurance is not cheap and it is only worthwhile if you travel a lot and need cars outside your country often. Traffic laws and insurance procedures are different in most countries; it is possible that your insurance will not work in a specific situation or country. Again it is important to check with your insurance company what is and what is not covered by your local policy when you are abroad. Obviously if you are going to need car insurance abroad long term coverage, you should probably do plenty of research ahead of time so that you know which companies are trustworthy.
The best option available and the safest will always be to rent a car from a known rental agency in the country where you will need the car, stay on the safe side and get a little extra insurance just in case something happens and especially if you will be travelling on the roads outside the main cities. Whenever possible rent a larger car, an SUV or truck are the best options, it is a good idea for you to rent a strong car that will resist a crash, again there are, many drivers on the streets and roads that do not have the slightest idea of how people are supposed to drive. Many of them learned how to move the car in a small town and then decided to hit the roads.
Knowing Where Your Insurance Policy Works
In Central America traveling from one country to another is easy and relatively fast, you can be in another country in a matter of hours. Before crossing the border into another country it is important that you talk to your rental agency and ask them if your insurance is good there (e.g. ask about car insurance for foreign drivers). It is possible that you will need them, the rental agency, to make some changes in your insurance so you are covered in the other country; it is also possible that your coverage does not have borders and you can travel with what you already have. Insurance laws may be different from one country to another, insurance companies in one country may not operate in another, five minutes of your time on the phone may save you a lot of grief, ask your rental agency if you are okay to travel with what you have.
The use of Latin America is just an example, the same thing happens in Asia and Africa where laws vary and countries are not integrated and operating together. Major insurance companies are not present and the local ones may only be licensed to operate within their borders. If you need to drive in a foreign country, the best option is to rent a car from an international, well-known agency and insure the car, yourself and third parties through the rental agency. You may have to spend a little instead of driving your friend’s car but in case of an accident, you may be grateful for spending those extra dollars.
Car Insurance Abroad in the United States
If you are coming to the United States and need to get car insurance, you will first need to pass your driver’s test and work with the DMV to get an appropriate license. After you have gotten your license, you can look up some car insurance abroad quotes on the internet. If you are confused and don’t know where to start, feel free to use the Zip Code box at the top of the page and enter your information to see what types of deals are offered in your area. Hopefully, getting a new policy is quick, easy, and simple for you!