Zaneta Wood, Ed.S. has over 15 years of experience in research and technical writing bringing a keen understanding of data analysis and information synthesis to reach a wide variety of audiences. She studied adult education and instructional technology at Appalachian State University as well as technical and professional communication at East Carolina University. Zaneta has prepared technical p...

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Leslie Kasperowicz holds a BA in Social Sciences from the University of Winnipeg. She spent several years as a Farmers Insurance CSR, gaining a solid understanding of insurance products including home, life, auto, and commercial and working directly with insurance customers to understand their needs. She has since used that knowledge in her more than ten years as a writer, largely in the insurance...

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Reviewed by Leslie Kasperowicz
Farmers Insurance CSR 4 Years

UPDATED: Mar 12, 2019

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Here's what you need to know...

  • Drivers from other countries can rent a car in the United States to tour areas
  • It is possible to secure private insurance outside of the rental agency
  • An international driving permit may be required in some states


When visiting the United States, you may want to rent or borrow a car so that you can see more of the sights and countryside.

Before accepting the keys to a vehicle, make sure that you have the right coverage by shopping around for special insurance. Here’s what you need to know about insurance in the United States.

Compare rate quotes to make sure you get the best deal for your insurance needs.

The IDP is Encouraged

The international driving permit is an acceptable form of identification in 150 countries around the world. It contains key information, including your:

  • Name
  • Photograph
  • Driver information

The details are translated into ten different languages, and it can give you peace of mind even if you’re not planning on driving.

In Britain, you may be able to obtain the IDP at your local post office, and it’s generally valid full year. You will need to carry the license from your home country with you when you’re out on American roadways.

The IDP is not required in every state. You can research the specific state you’ll be visiting ahead of time to see if you should invest in this identification or if you can use your existing license.

However, given how easy it is to get the card and place it with your passport, it may be worth your time to invest in one so that you can travel with greater confidence.

Some insurance companies are global and can provide you with coverage at home in Europe and when you visit the United States, but they are rare.

It’s more likely that your existing plan will not be able to protect you, so you’ll need to get insurance through your rental car company when you book the vehicle. This agency should know the minimum requirements and can help ensure that you’re fully covered.

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Insurance is Not Included in the Rental Price

In many other countries, the cost of renting a car includes insurance coverage. In the United States, many drivers have their own policies that extend to rental cars, so it’s an additional fee.

Before you rent a car in the US, you should ask about available insurance and see what the daily cost will be for:

  • The collision damage waiver that will take care of any damage to the car
  • Supplemental liability insurance that will cover damage to someone else’s property or person if you cause an accident
  • Theft coverage if you’re going to be visiting areas that have a higher crime rate
  • Personal effects insurance to protect your own items like your laptop and camera
  • Passenger insurance for people who are riding with you

Keep in mind that the collision damage waiver may come with an excess fee. If your policy has this fee, then you’ll have to pay that amount towards any repair work that’s necessary after an accident. You can also shop around for better rates in order to save on the insurance cost.

Before you Rent a Car

Before trying to rent a car, you may want to ask the rental company a few questions to avoid unexpected problems and questions. Specifically, talk to the rental agency about:

  • Insurance requirements so that you won’t duplicate any coverage with your own company
  • Driving record concerns in case you have tickets or accidents on your current license
  • Total fees
  • Payment methods and deposits
  • Fuel requirements when the car is returned

When you arrive at the agency, look the car over thoroughly for any damage. Have any scratches, dents or marks recorded on the rental agreements.

If possible, return the car when the agency is open so that you can go over the same inspection to verify that you didn’t cause any damage.

When traveling to the United States, you may want to rent a car so that you can easily move between states and see more of the fascinating areas. Protect your own assets by getting the appropriate insurance.

Rather than settling for the coverage offered by the rental company, shop around for better rates and more effective protection.

Get the best deal for you car insurance needs. Compare rate quotes below!

References:

  1. http://www.aaa.com/vacation/idpf.html
  2. http://www.postoffice.co.uk/international-driving-permit
  3. http://www.independenttraveler.com/travel-tips/car-travel/international-car-rental-tips
  4. https://bkpk.me/demystifying-car-rentals-in-the-us-insurance-additional-drivers-more/
  5. https://www.usa.gov/visitors-driving