The short answer is yes, at least if you plan to drive.
But what is exactly is temporary car insurance? How do you get temporary car insurance? And does a temporary car insurance policy really provide robust protection for you when you drive in another country?
How Does Temporary Car Insurance Work?
Temporary car insurance is a type of car insurance policy that's meant to apply only on a temporary basis, and typically only under specific circumstances. For example, you can purchase a car insurance policy that applies to the UK for a period of three months, thus covering you as a driver throughout your vacation or extended stay.
You can purchase temporary car insurance like you would any other car insurance policy. You'll shop around for a quote, compare quotes from different providers, and ultimately sign on with the provider you think is best to finalize your decision. When your policy is active, it will cover you based on the parameters of the policy; just like your regular car insurance, you'll have premiums to pay, a deductible for which you're responsible in the event of a claim, and a specific amount of coverage.
The cost of temporary car insurance will vary depending on a number of factors, including your record as a driver, how long you're going to be in the other country, the country to which you're traveling, and risk factors associated with your driving.
You may have the option to extend your temporary car insurance policy if you end up staying longer than intended. Otherwise, when your policy naturally expires, you can close it out and start using your regular car insurance policy once again.
Doesn’t Your Existing Car Insurance Policy Cover You?
You might wonder if your current car insurance policy will cover you when driving in another country.
This is certainly possible, though it's not especially common. There are also strict limitations as to where, when, and how you'll be covered. For example, in the United States, your car insurance policy may cover you as a temporary driver in Canada. That's because the United States and Canada are contiguous countries with friendly relations and very similar traffic laws; it makes sense, given that these countries are so similar, that a driver could be temporarily covered when crossing the border.
However, you'll find that most car insurance policies don't cover you in traveling to another country, and travel to most other countries (even ones very similar to the United States) is not covered.
The Benefits of Temporary Car Insurance
Purchasing temporary car insurance provides you with many benefits, including:
- Legal compliance. If you live in the United States, you're used to the idea that insurance is a practical requirement for drivers. The same is true in most developed countries of the world; you won't be able to drive legally unless you have a car insurance policy to protect you and other drivers on the road. Because your existing car insurance policy probably won't cover you, temporary car insurance is your only realistic option for getting the minimum coverage you need for legal compliance.
- Financial protection. Like all other forms of car insurance, temporary car insurance is designed to financially protect you. If you take your personal vehicle to another country and total it, your temporary car insurance policy will likely pay for the damage. If you get into a collision while driving a rental car, you might ordinarily be responsible for any damages to the vehicle – but the right temporary car insurance policy can protect you here as well.
- Liability protection. It's about more than just financial protection; it's also about liability protection. If you're found to be responsible for an accident, you could land yourself in legal trouble and be responsible for significant damages to the other party. But if you have a temporary car insurance policy in place, you'll have much better protection.
- Peace of mind. Perhaps most importantly, a temporary car insurance policy gives you peace of mind. With adequate protection, you won't have to worry about being financially devastated by an innocent accident; you can also drive in the new country whenever you want, fully exercising your freedom during this trip.
There are some situations where you won't need temporary car insurance when traveling to another country. For example, if you plan on relying exclusively on public transportation or if someone else is going to do all the driving, there's no reason to have car insurance to protect yourself.
But if you plan on doing any driving at all in another country, you need to do your due diligence and equip yourself with the proper level of insurance protection.