Cookeville, Tennessee
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Cookeville, TN 38501
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What International Drivers Should Know About US Licenses & Car Insurance April 6, 2020

Cookeville, Putnam
What International Drivers Should Know About US Licenses & Car Insurance, Cookeville, Tennessee

Foreign visitors to the United States can end up in legal trouble if they don’t take the time to learn about their driving responsibilities. Just like citizens of the country, there are regulations in place for becoming licensed and obtaining car insurance. If you or someone you know is an international visitor who plans on using a vehicle, the following overview provides a better understanding of an international driver’s responsibilities.

4 Car Insurance & Licensing Facts for International Visitors

1. Your Foreign License Is Still Valid

As long as your driver’s license from another country hasn’t expired, you can still use it in the United States. In fact, you’ll have to carry it with you whenever you’re driving on public roads in the U.S. This is true of most states, but some areas may have different regulations. It will be up to you to contact the Department of Motor Vehicles for the state in which you plan to drive to determine their restrictions on using foreign licenses.

2. You’ll Need an International Driver’s Permit

Car InsuranceAn IDP must be carried at all times along with your foreign driver’s license. This permit is issued by the motor vehicle authority in the same country that issued your original driver’s license, so you must obtain the IDP before leaving your country of origin. You’ll need these documents to buy or rent vehicles as well as drive on roads in the U.S.

3. Auto Insurance for a Foreign Car 

If you bring your car into the United States, you can keep your existing insurance. Before you transport the vehicle, however, it will be necessary to contact your insurance broker to make sure the vehicle will be covered in the U.S.

In many cases, this will involve adding additional coverage at an increased monthly premium. Agents at border checkpoints will verify that you do have valid coverage for the vehicle before allowing it to enter the country.

4. Getting a New Car Insurance Policy

Buying or renting a car in your new state of residence will also require obtaining insurance. If you’re renting a car, you’ll be able to get insurance through the rental company easily. However, buying a vehicle can be more problematic.

U.S. companies are reluctant to provide car insurance quotes to foreign visitors because they can’t access foreign driving records. Since they can’t review your driving history or credit report, you should expect to pay higher premiums until you establish a driving pattern.


Complying with licensing and car insurance requirements can be confusing, but contacting a U.S. insurance agent can help you understand your responsibilities more clearly. Located in Cookeville, TN, Lafever Insurance Agency has been providing insurance coverage since 1978, so there are few situations that will be new to them. Set up an appointment to discuss your auto insurance needs by visiting them online or by calling (931) 526-3377.

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