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Finding car insurance for returning expats

If you’re returning to the US after living abroad, one of the many things you'll need to get in order is your car insurance. Even if you carried car insurance while abroad, your new insurance company might consider you “uninsured” when you apply for an auto insurance policy stateside. We've detailed common issues, helpful tips, and the impact of expat living on insurance rates in the below analysis.

Car insurance after returning to the US

A question you'll undoubtedly need to answer when seeking an auto insurance quote is, “are you currently insured?” Most insurance companies like to see three or more years of continuous, high-level coverage from a potential customer. In the estimation of an insurer, the longer a customer has carried insurance, the less risky they will be.

If you cannot provide proof of insurance — written in English — from the country in which you were living, an American car insurance company would consider you “uninsured” during the years you spent abroad. The best way to alleviate this would be to retain a policy declaration form for your records.

Didn’t have car insurance abroad?

If you either didn’t have coverage or can’t prove your coverage, expect your US auto insurance rates to be slightly higher than they would be if you had maintained continuous coverage. Typically, a driver with six months of continuous insurance coverage saves nearly $100 per year versus a driver with no sustained coverage.

Average annual insurance premium by time insured

Time Insured Average Annual Premium
None $1,599
6 Months $1,509
1 Year $1,475
3 Years $1,439
5 Years $1,409

Not all insurance companies will approve someone without continuous coverage. Because of the risks presented by an uninsured driver, the insurance company might underwrite your car insurance policy with a subsidiary.

Additional articles and takeaways

When returning to the states from abroad, be sure to secure proof of your expat car insurance. This record will help to prove your continuously insured status. If it looks like your coverage has lapsed, certain insurers could disqualify you or quote you higher premiums. No matter your unique circumstance, finding affordable car insurance for expats isn't impossible. Enter your new zip code below to receive quotes in minutes

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Ava Lynch photo
Ava LynchSenior Analyst

Ava worked in the insurance industry as an agent for four-plus years.

Ava currently provides insights and data analysis as one of The Zebra's property and casualty insurance experts. Her work has been featured in publications such as U.S. News & World Report, GasBuddy, Car and Driver, and Yahoo! Finance.

About The Zebra

The Zebra is not an insurance company. We publish data-backed, expert-reviewed resources to help consumers make more informed insurance decisions.

  • The Zebra’s insurance content is written and reviewed for accuracy by licensed insurance agents.

  • The Zebra’s insurance content is not subject to review or alteration by insurance companies or partners.

  • The Zebra’s editorial team operates independently of the company’s partnerships and commercialization interests, publishing unbiased information for consumer benefit.

  • The auto insurance rates published on The Zebra’s pages are based on a comprehensive analysis of car insurance pricing data, evaluating more than 83 million insurance rates from across the United States.