In a country as big as the United States, and even if you are in a particularly well-served area, the car is an imponderable. But once you get there and your vehicle purchased, you can’t drive without insurance. How does car insurance work in the United States? Prices, permits, registration documents, products, history… We cover everything here.
Car insurance: which license to present to your future insurer?
First of all, we need to clarify one thing: you cannot drive in the United States with your French licence. Don’t do the stupid thing of driving with it, because the US police will then consider you as unlicensed! Nor make the mistake of presenting a French licence to an insurance company: it will refuse you any contract. You need:
– Either an international permit (to be collected in France before leaving for your prefecture, sub-prefecture or town hall), but valid in the US territory only for a period of 3 months. Therefore, this permit will be most useful for renting a car. Indeed, many insurers are quite reluctant with licensed drivers.
– Or a Florida license that you can obtain at the DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles) center of your county. By doing so, and doing so as soon as possible after your arrival, you can take out car insurance for your brand new car.
With or without driver history?
When you arrive in the United States without a car insurance history, you will be offered a new driver contract. And this, even if you have 15 to 20 years of driving behind and thousands of kilometres driven. In this case, your monthly payments will be higher.
However, before leaving, we recommend that you contact the company that insured your car in France and ask them for an English version of your driver-insured history.
By doing so, you will offer yourself the “good graces” of some US companies that will no longer consider you as a new driver. The monthly payments that will be proposed to you will be lower.