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How can I obtain UK car insurance (just for a couple of weeks) with a US license
July 3, 2012 7:28 AM   Subscribe

How can I obtain UK car insurance (just for a couple of weeks) with a US license while traveling.

So I'm headed off home to England at the end of the week and I'm trying to get insured to drive my Dads car but it's proving a bit difficult because I'm a non resident and have misplaced my UK drivers license (I haven't lived there in about 16 yrs)

Any ideas MeFites?
posted by zeoslap to Travel & Transportation around England (18 answers total)
 
Your dad presumably has insurance for the vehicle. That insurance will presumably cover you, as insurance follows vehicles, not drivers. The policy is primarily insuring your dad's car, and only secondarily insuring your dad as such. I'm in the US, but this is just how auto policies work, and I'd be shocked if it were different over there.

Your dad might want to call his insurance agent to be sure that everything is on the up-and-up, but I can't see why this should be a problem.
posted by valkyryn at 7:34 AM on July 3, 2012


Your UK license may have actually expired and need renewing anyway.

However, you should be able to get insurance if you get an international driving license. You can drive legally in the UK for 12 months. Because your dad is a resident, some of the restrictions about having a valid licence *and* being a resident should not matter as you'll just be a named driver.
posted by MuffinMan at 7:35 AM on July 3, 2012


Your dad's insurance almost certainly won't cover you, but it is trivial to add you as a named driver to his policy for the time you are over. It'll just take a phone call, and shouldn't be too expensive.
posted by ComfySofa at 7:44 AM on July 3, 2012


When I was visiting my fiance in the UK and once I moved but hadn't yet gotten my UK license, he just called his insurance company and told them I'd be driving for the next week, who said we needed to pay an extra £60 or something for a week of an additional driver at a time, and it was all good. When I did not have a UK license, a week at a time was the limit. (Now that I have a provisional license they added me to his yearly policy for £23).

And it does not work like a US policy this way so take advice from Americans with a grain of salt. It was certainly a surprise to me.
posted by olinerd at 7:45 AM on July 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


When I was there in 2008 it was very simple and indeed a quick call to add me as a named driver did the trick but things seems to have changed and it's proving more difficult this time around.
posted by zeoslap at 7:56 AM on July 3, 2012


Your dad presumably has insurance for the vehicle. That insurance will presumably cover you, as insurance follows vehicles, not drivers. The policy is primarily insuring your dad's car, and only secondarily insuring your dad as such. I'm in the US, but this is just how auto policies work, and I'd be shocked if it were different over there.

Prepare to be shocked. It's the other way round in the UK. The driver is insured to drive their car. If you want to drive someone else's car, your own car insurance covers you, not the owners of the car's.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 8:01 AM on July 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


Valkryn wins the award for potentially most spectacularly unhelpful Ask.Me response!

No, car insurance in the UK does not always follow the car. It used to be the case that "comprehensive" insurance in the UK would cover anyone who had permission from the car owner to drive it whilst they were so doing, but at some point all the insurance companies switched over to named drivers only by default. It's still possible to get that kind of cover, but it's significantly more expensive.

(I believe the shift came about because a lot of parents were allowing their children to drive cars that they had insured on a regular basis & so the insurers were losing a fortune on those policies because they were underpricing the risk.)

zeoslap: it varies by insurer how picky they about this kind of thing. You might have to rent a car for the week and get insured transport that way.
posted by pharm at 8:03 AM on July 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


@pharm - I was aware valkryn was a tad off the mark but figured I'd just let it slide :) Renting a car is the other option - but hoping to avoid that.
posted by zeoslap at 8:13 AM on July 3, 2012


Ah. Oh dear. Then you may be buggered if your dad's insurance doesn''t want to add you.
posted by ComfySofa at 8:13 AM on July 3, 2012


I'm in the US, but this is just how auto policies work, and I'd be shocked if it were different over there.

It's different over there.

If the first line of customer service isn't helpful in getting you added as a named driver, there'll be someone higher up the chain who either knows how to do it, or can give you a proper explanation of why not. You may end up having to hire a car.
posted by holgate at 8:15 AM on July 3, 2012


Have you tried asking a local (to your Dad) insurance broker?
posted by pharm at 8:20 AM on July 3, 2012


I was in your situation a few months ago except that I'd just moved back to London permanently. My Dad's insurance would not add me with a US license at all. They said they would not insure anyone who had been in the UK less than a year (no matter previous residency or citizenship). We called around and found basically the same policy everywhere except Aviva, who seem to be generally helpful to expats - now I have a UK license they have taken my US history into account instead of counting me as a new driver for example. So we switched policies, but it's probably not worth it for you for a week.
posted by crabintheocean at 8:46 AM on July 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


Prepare to be shocked. It's the other way round in the UK. The driver is insured to drive their car. If you want to drive someone else's car, your own car insurance covers you, not the owners of the car's.

Well color me shocked then. I stand corrected.

I believe the shift came about because a lot of parents were allowing their children to drive cars that they had insured on a regular basis & so the insurers were losing a fortune on those policies because they were underpricing the risk.

This is why US companies require that resident family members be added to the policy as scheduled drivers. If you refuse to add them, companies either make you sign a waiver saying that the person can't drive the vehicle and any resulting claims will be denied, or they'll just cancel the policy. They can do that. But if you let a non-resident or non-family member borrow your car, they'll be covered in most cases under most US policies.
posted by valkyryn at 9:27 AM on July 3, 2012


@valkyryn - England doesn't like young drivers at all and would prefer they all just took the bus... insurance for a new driver can easily be more than the car payment itself, it's totally nuts.
posted by zeoslap at 9:31 AM on July 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


zeoslap - what insurer is your dad with?
posted by MuffinMan at 10:41 AM on July 3, 2012


insurance for a new driver can easily be more than the car payment itself, it's totally nuts.

This can be true in the US as well. It's hard to get a policy for anyone under 25 that has healthy limits and runs less than $1,000 every six months. Premiums of $2000 and higher are not unheard of. That's $150-300 a month, easily more than many car payments.
posted by valkyryn at 10:43 AM on July 3, 2012


@valkyryn - The average insurance cost for a young male driver in the UK is currently $6200! That's the average!
posted by zeoslap at 12:25 PM on July 3, 2012


I was able to get my UK drivers license number from the DVLA (they were very helpful) so Dad is re-checking with his insurance now that I'll be driving on a UK license. Hopefully we can figure something out.
posted by zeoslap at 12:26 PM on July 3, 2012


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