Steps to Obtain a Foreign License… and Then Insurance

Thursday, May 31, 2018

The idea of the classic American road trip is one that thousands of people have every year. From visiting national parks to traveling the famous highways of the United States, we all feel the need to hit the open road and get a change of scenery every so often.

The great American road trip isn’t just confined to the United States, though. If we go abroad for work or to vacation, the thrill of driving in another country is often too good to pass up. Whether you are there for work, school, or fun, you might feel the urge to get behind the wheel and explore on your own.

Every country has different licensing laws when it comes to foreign drivers. Some countries accept American driver’s licenses, while others require an International Driver’s Permit or other documentation for you to rent or buy a vehicle. Here is more information about obtaining a foreign license, as well as the insurance you’ll need for yourself, your vehicle, and others in case of an accident in a foreign country.


Foreign Drivers Licensing


Every country is different, so it is important to know what their driving requirements are prior to leaving the United States. Most countries will require you to have your domestic driver’s license with you and may also need proof of insurance and your International Driving Permit, too. An IDP can be applied for through the American Automobile Association or the American Automobile Touring Alliance.

Remember that your IDP isn’t a valid driving document on its own- this document is translated into other languages to help those in foreign countries process your information when you are renting or buying a car, purchasing insurance, or dealing with local traffic officials.

If you are going abroad and want to know what the driver licensing laws are in the country you will be visiting or moving to, check the travel information pages of the US State Department.

Certain countries will only allow visitors to drive if they have a specific kind of visa. Some countries allow tourists to drive for 30 days before requiring them to apply for a driver’s license from that country. If you are relocating to a different country, you may need to provide proof of residency to purchase a vehicle.

There are many resources that drivers can use to get more information about driving in a foreign country before they leave the United States. These include:

  • The DMV
  • The US State Department
  • Your car insurance company


Obtaining Car Insurance Abroad


Before going abroad, talk to your car insurance company to see what they can offer. Some auto insurance policies can cover you while you are renting a car abroad, but you want to make sure that you are going to be covered in the countries you want to visit before you go.

Additionally, the kind of insurance you will qualify for depends on whether you are temporarily renting a car, or if you are moving abroad and want to purchase a vehicle for the duration of your stay. A rental agency will have insurance coverage options, but if you purchase your vehicle, you will likely need to work with a local insurance company in the country you’ve moved to in order to obtain the right car insurance.

There are typically three kinds of insurance that drivers will need when driving in a foreign country:

  • Insurance that covers your liability to the rental car company in case the vehicle is damaged while in your care.
  • Insurance that covers injury to yourself or those in your vehicle in case of an accident.
  • Insurance that covers your liability towards other drivers and their vehicles in case of an accident where you are at fault.

Additionally, it can be helpful to have your car insurance representative call the rental agency you will be working with abroad to see how their policies mesh together. You will want to make sure that you can contact your insurance company easily while you are abroad in case of a problem or a claim.


Driving abroad is a thrilling experience, but you want to make sure that you are covered by insurance while you are away from home. To learn more about foreign licensing and insurance, contact our team at Protective Agency at (877) 739-9367, or go online to Our licensed insurance agents will be happy to answer any questions you have.