I've been planning a road trip with an American friend of mine for some time, and now I'm out here in Florida and we're about to do it!
The problem is that his insurers say they won't insure me on my English license, even though I have an international drivers license. In fact, they say it's not LEGAL to insure anyone who doesn't have a valid US drivers license.
This doesn't match up with the research I did before I came out; it looked to be a fairly straightforward process. here are the facts:
1) My friend owns the car (Honda Accord)
2) I have a full, totally clean English driving license and international license
3) We are planning to drive from Florida, to New Orleans, Mississippi, Texas, Colorado, Utah, Nevada, down through Vegas and Death Valley, up the west coast through Portland and finishing up in Seattle.
4) My friend has full insurance
5) He will obviously be in the car with me at all times.
PLEASE HELP! At the moment, we're looking at my having to take the American test, which is just more money and hassle and will put back our trip. From all the other things I've seen it looked to be like someone with a UK license could drive here as long as the car was insured in some way. Does anyone know how I can get insurance for this trip?
This has been resolved, but the insurance companies were a massive pain, so I'm going to post a guide for other people who get into the same thing. Basically though, it IS possible! Hooray!
OK, so if you want to drive in the US, and are driving someone's car who you know there, these are the rules. The following is based on (you) having a full, English driving license and (your friend) having a full US license:
1) Someone can allow you to use their car, it is called 'permissive use' in insurance terms. Thus if you have a full license you can be covered without being on their insurance; (you won't be able to be put onto their insurance in most cases with a UK, and even an international driving license, but you can always check for where you are. For Florida, you can't as I understand it). This means driving their car, without paying extra, or them having to pay extra, or you having to take a US drivers test, like I was going to have to
2) I'm pretty sure they have to be in the car with you when you're using it. Again, check to be sure, but this makes sense, in order to be covered by their policy
3) Different states have different laws, so while the insurance should cover you (depending on your provider), the state might not allow you to drive, in which case the insurance will be invalid. For instance, in New York, UK drivers are not permitted to drive with just a UK driving license. The official advice is to check with the DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles) in each state that you drive to.
4) Your other option is to rent a car, it's more expensive, but they have their own insurance. It must therefore be legal to drive in the US with a UK and international driving license.
Hope that helps someone else who has a tough time with this.
Thanks for the update--and for clarifying the rules for those who may have questions on this topic.
Thanks i am doing something similar in september