Foreign National Visiting the US? What You Need to Know about Renting a Car in the US

If you’re a foreign national visiting the United States, you’ll have to decide how you’ll get around the city you’re traveling to. Depending on your destination, renting a car in the U.S. might be the most practical choice. If that’s the case, be sure to know what type of coverage your personal auto insurance offers when renting a car abroad.

The process of renting a car in the U.S. can be a little confusing – for citizens and foreign national alike – when it comes to insurance options. The first thing you should know is that many car rental companies will rent a car to uninsured customers. In fact, many companies are required to provide statutory minimum liability coverage, but in the event of a serious accident, or even theft, that type of coverage will not do much for you.

In reality, renting a car in the U.S. is not much different for foreign nationals than it is for anyone else. If you have personal auto insurance in your home country, brush up on your policy benefits or consult with your agent to determine whether you’re covered when renting a car abroad, and if so, find out to what extent. As is the case for many Americans, foreign nationals may already have some type of car rental insurance through a major credit card. Before you leave home, check the terms of all your credit cards to confirm whether they offer such a benefit. Renting a car in the U.S. will be a smoother ride knowing that you already have some protection.

It’s worth mentioning again that although you are not required to have auto insurance coverage when renting a car in the U.S., it’s highly recommended that you do have some coverage. For anyone, driving a car means being at risk of a collision on the road, and that risk may be higher for foreign nationals who are not as familiar with the roads and traffic rules in the U.S.

If you currently don’t have any type of car insurance coverage, here are a few terms that you’ll need to know when renting a car in the U.S. Collision Damage Waiver, also known as Loss Damage Waiver, will transfer the liability from you to the car rental company, so if there’s any damage to the car or if it’s stolen, it will protect you from significant out-of-pocket expenses to repair or replace the vehicle. This coverage will range from $10 to $30 per day. Liability insurance, which may cover you for up to $1 million, usually costs from $7 to $14 per day.

To make your vacation a pleasant one, take a moment to figure out what type of insurance you’ll need when renting a car in the U.S. If you already have some coverage, you’ll save money by not purchasing unnecessary additional insurance. But most importantly, make sure you do have some coverage to avoid any headaches during your stay in the event of a misfortune while driving.