Who insures foreign drivers in the USA?
September 12, 2012 8:55 AM   Subscribe

We are on a 7 week road trip through the USA. I have a California driver's licence and own the car. My wife has an Australian driver's licence. I'm having trouble putting her on the insurance as a driver with AAA and I have contacted several other insurers who won't take on the risk. Plenty of googling has come up empty? Is there an insurer who is worth calling?
posted by dinoworx to Travel & Transportation around United States (12 answers total)
Okay, so are you only calling and asking about adding her to the policy? A better question may be to ask "is my policy effective if I lend the car to an Australian driver who is my wife?" If I lend my car to someone, my policy covers them if they're not otherwise insured because in that case the insurance follows the car. Of course, my situation is substantially different so YMMV.
posted by TheNewWazoo at 9:00 AM on September 12, 2012 [1 favorite]

Every policy I've ever had covers "drivers using the car with my permission".

Now, If I neglected to mention that I had another licensed driver in my household and my wife got into an accident, the insurance company would be well within its rights to decline to renew my policy, but she would be covered.
posted by Oktober at 9:09 AM on September 12, 2012

Are they technically licensed if they do not have a current US state drivers license?
posted by dinoworx at 9:19 AM on September 12, 2012

As to your wife's license status (is she legally allowed to drive in the US, no matter what car or what insurance coverage), you're going to have to contact the DMV of your state of residence --- since you have a California license, I'm going to assume that's your residence. Alternatively, this might be something you'll need to check with the US State Dept.
posted by easily confused at 9:25 AM on September 12, 2012

AAA will probably be able to provide guidance on whether and for how long she can drive in the US with an Australian license. I know that, as an American, I have driven legally in other countries on a short-term basis with a US license and no additional authorization.
posted by something something at 9:27 AM on September 12, 2012

Reading the fine print she is specifically excluded from being covered by this policy. They said they could add her on if she had a US licence.
posted by dinoworx at 9:32 AM on September 12, 2012

Your wife may be covered under her Australian insurance policy, if she still has one.
posted by monotreme at 9:48 AM on September 12, 2012

At least here in California, if you are visiting (presumably on a tourist visa) then your license is valid for the duration of the trip. If you are a resident alien with a green card or the Australian visa I have forgotten the name of, then your license is only valid for 10 days from arrival. Unless things have changed since I arrived of course...
posted by Joh at 9:57 AM on September 12, 2012

Contacted Australian insurer. No. The car is covered.
Just to return to the question. Is there an insurer who covers foreign drivers? Rental companies do it all the time so I'd think there would be. We have 4 weeks of driving left.
posted by dinoworx at 10:02 AM on September 12, 2012

I don't understand your question. If you own the car and give permission to your wife to use it, then she would be covered under your insurance. That her driver's license is issued by Australia is not really relevant here.

Australians drive in the United States with Australian driver's licenses all the time.
posted by dfriedman at 10:15 AM on September 12, 2012

dfriedman, usually your spouse and people who live in your household are excluded, on the grounds that they should be on your policy. Otherwise people could only insure one person in the household and "lend" the car to the person with ten accidents on his record.

OP, can you call an insurance agent who sells multiple brands of insurance? In my experience these people will bend over backwards to sell you *something*.
posted by mskyle at 10:54 AM on September 12, 2012

Your solution is to reverse the process. Rent a car in her name, and add yourself as a driver. You will both be covered under the rental company's master policy.
posted by Kruger5 at 11:25 AM on September 12, 2012

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