Driving in the USA? What you need to know about car insurance

When you drive in the USA, you’ll notice some big differences from what you may be used to back home in the UK.

This can make car insurance seem confusing and intimidating; however, if you know what to expect, it doesn’t have to be either of those things!

In this guide, we’ll cover insurance basics such as how to get a quote and what factors affect your premium, as well as the unique aspects of driving in the USA like how roads are numbered and street signs look different here than they do back home.

Auto Insurance: How it Works

You may be surprised to learn that your car insurance plan is not like health or life insurance. It doesn’t pay out a set amount of money after an accident, for example; if a driver in your family has their car stolen, it doesn’t cover their living expenses until they buy another one.

Instead, car insurance is intended as protection from unforeseen costs due to a specific incident: Say you get into an accident and are responsible for some damage—the other driver brings his car to a shop, which gives him an estimate of $1,000 (likely far higher than what would have been charged had everyone been careful). Car insurance covers that $1,000.

Safe Driver Discounts

If you have a good driving record, with no tickets or accidents, your provider will likely offer a good deal on its safe driver program. There are two versions of safe driver discounts: customer-applied discounts and provider-paid discounts.

With customer-applied programs, customers can simply ask their insurance company for a lower rate after a year of accident-free driving. It’s always worth asking for a discount if it’s available to you—but if one isn’t offered there’s no point worrying about it. Just be sure not to make any mistakes next year!

With provider-paid programs, providers make up for offering lower rates by charging more for people who don’t qualify for safe driver discounts.

State Requirements

In many states, drivers must show proof of financial responsibility (i.e., auto liability insurance) before they can register their vehicles.

Even if your state does not require drivers to carry liability coverage, it’s a good idea to have it anyway because—if and when you do get into an accident—it will make handling your claim easier.

When buying car insurance, be sure that your policy meets any minimum requirements and also consider getting additional protection such as liability, uninsured motorist coverage, and collision coverage.

Most policies also offer optional services like rental reimbursement or roadside assistance that can help save you money down the road.

Understanding Your Policy

When driving in another country, it’s important to understand your policy. Different regions mean different rules, and if you break them, fines can be hefty.

The first thing UK drivers should check is whether their current policy applies overseas. In some cases, an overseas driver’s policy might be cheaper than what you already have—and will cover things like rental-car damage and theft.

If your plan doesn’t extend abroad or if it’s prohibitively expensive, consider buying a new one before leaving on your trip; it might end up being cheaper than paying out of pocket for repairs once there.

Insurance companies sometimes charge more for non-American policies—so do comparison shopping when getting a quote for your vacation or business trip.

Car Insurance Quotes

When searching for insurance as a UK driver in the US, your best bet is to ask for quotes from at least three or four different companies.

You can do so online by setting up an account with a company like Insurance Panda (which will also help guide you through things like getting a driver’s license and renting a car) and entering your details there.

You’ll be given several options for what kind of coverage you’d like and then it’s just a matter of letting each company know how much coverage you want, how many miles per year you plan on driving, etc.

It should take no more than 10 minutes or so to get all that information into their system; some sites will even give automatic quotes based on what they know about your past driving experience.

Car Insurance Options

Knowing your driving habits, where you’ll be driving, and how many miles you travel each year is key to getting a good deal on auto insurance. While there are several ways to shop for auto insurance, you must do your research so that you don’t end up paying more than necessary.

It’s also wise to get a few different quotes from different companies—even if they have an office in your state. After all, many states have unique regulations when it comes to buying and using cars, including how much coverage driver’s must-have.

Costs of Various Limits

If a vehicle is not required by state law or by any other federal regulation to have liability coverage, a motorist may opt-out of purchasing it. In certain circumstances, coverage may be mandatory, even if no one else is financially on the hook for damages, injuries, or loss.

If there is more than one vehicle owner on a policy (the typical situation), then each owner can specify how much liability protection he wants to be included in his policy.

The minimum amount provided by every company offering auto insurance in the USA is $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident when several people are injured but there is only one accident victim per incident.

In cases involving multiple collision victims, an insurer may offer up to $100,000 of bodily injury liability coverage per victim.

Summary and Alternatives

A lot of UK drivers have a false sense of security when it comes to driving across borders in Europe. After all, Britain is part of the European Union and has mutual recognition of driver’s licenses.

But what they may not realize is that their British license alone won’t get them through many international borders.

Countries like Canada and Australia require foreign visitors to prove that they have adequate auto liability coverage or buy supplementary auto insurance before traveling – even if your home country doesn’t require it for its citizens.

Still, others simply require you carry an international driving permit, which replaces your current license for a short period (usually 30 days) before being returned with any unused pages stamped by border officials at the time of entry and exit.