Overseas Car Insurance and International Driving – An All You Need to Know Guide
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Many people travel their whole lives. Some even settle down in foreign countries for work or for familial reasons. In such cases, it is natural for people to get their cars and other vehicles transported to their new country of residence. This is where overseas car insurance comes into the picture. In a nutshell, overseas car insurance plans are made to protect your vehicles in both your primary country of residence and other countries you live in later on in life. Let’s uncover all the important elements of overseas car insurance plans that you must know.
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*Above mentioned prices are for Nissan Altima S2.5 L, 2017 model.
Overseas Car Insurance – What is It?
Also known as international car insurance, overseas car insurance plans are pretty much like your usual domestic car insurance. The only difference is that an overseas car insurance plan would cover your vehicle even when you are driving it in countries other than the UAE. Domestic car insurance plans come with geographical limitations. You are often given an extension for Oman and other neighbouring countries but that’s just an add-on. An international car insurance plan lifts these limitations and offers truly comprehensive coverage even in faraway countries. It is the most useful when you are moving to a new country for an extended stay and taking your car with you.
Types of Overseas Auto Insurance
Third-Party Car Insurance: This is a basic-level overseas car insurance plan that covers the liabilities the insured person accumulates against a third party. This plan comes into action when the insured vehicle driven by the owner-driver causes an accident which leads to damages incurred by the third-party vehicle. Any damages caused to own vehicle or injuries sustained by the driver are not covered by this plan.
Comprehensive Car Insurance: A comprehensive car insurance plan covers almost every kind of non-consequential damage incurred by your car and all third-party liabilities as well. It covers your car against damages caused by fire, accidents, man-made disasters, natural disasters (specialised by the region), and collisions. Many comprehensive overseas auto insurance plans also come with personal accident cover for the driver. Some comprehensive overseas car insurance plans may also cover the risks involved in the transit of your car from your home country or the old country of residence to the new one. Other special covers may include duty expenses, labour expenses and rental car insurance expenses reimbursement covers.
What is Covered in an Overseas Car Insurance Plan?
The coverage items can differ according to the provider and the type of coverage they offer. However, the following given inclusions are often categorised as general inclusion in most comprehensive overseas car insurance plans:
Third-party vehicular damages and injuries to the driver
Damages incurred by own vehicle in an accident or collision
Total loss of the car due to theft or accident
Damages caused by man-made disasters like vandalism and riots
Damages are caused by natural disasters like storms, floods, etc.
Transit coverage from departure to the arrival of the vehicle
Rental car insurance reimbursement
Underinsured or uninsured motorists cover
Note that some providers switch from comprehensive benefits to the bare minimum third-party liability coverage when you apply for the policy to be converted to car insurance for driving abroad. This means that you will be covered with comprehensive coverage in your home country but the same won’t be available when you move. Make sure that you check this crucial thing with your provider beforehand. If that is the case indeed, consider your options again and see what fits your needs the best.
Mechanical breakdowns or electrical breakdowns (unless covered by a rider)
Any claims made beyond assured limits of the plan or in excluded territories
Causing accidents when driving under the influence of drugs/alcohol or any other intoxicating agent
Damages caused by nuclear substances, activities and explosions
Injuries sustained by passengers traveling in the car (add-ons available as passenger cover)
Using your personal car for commercial or business purposes
Causing damages when involved in illegal activities and purposes
Consequential damages to the vehicle
Damages caused intentionally or as a result of the owner’s negligence
Some Important Things to Remember
Moving to a new country can be stressful. But there are a few small things that can make this transition easier for you. Given below are a few things that you should consider when you are preparing to move to another country:
Check Mandatory Insurance Policies Of The Country: Always check the rules related to car insurance in the country you are moving to. Just like the UAE, most countries have car insurance as a mandatory requirement to drive. But the level of car insurance abroad required can be different. UAE only requires you to have third-party insurance. You may be required to have more comprehensive coverage in the country you are moving to. So, do not forget to check the rules related to car insurance as well as the minimum required coverage.
Consider Taking Add-Ons: Being in a foreign country can be challenging. You may be familiar with all the quick fixes for every small and big thing in the UAE, where you have been living for a long time. But it can be difficult to drive in a foreign country where every street is new. In a situation like this, it can be useful to have a few add-on services such as roadside assistance and engine cover. Also, consider taking riders like breakdown cover so that you do not have to struggle to find mechanics on every nook and turn.
Re-Evaluate The Insurance Plan Before Moving: Your car insurance needs in the UAE may not be the same as your car insurance needs in the country you are moving to. This means that it is important to re-evaluate your overseas auto insurance plan at least once before you are finally ready to move.
See If the Car(S) You Leave Behind Are Covered: Moving to a new country for work or other purposes does not mean that you will be able to take all your cars with you. In case you are leaving a car or two of yours behind, check if your insurance company offers protection for the cars that you leave behind as well. Of course, you will need to have a separate or joint car insurance plan for these vehicles you leave behind. Many car insurance providers have international car insurance plans that cover your cars left behind in the UAE as well.
Consider Temporary International Car Insurance When Visiting: If your visit to a foreign country is not going to be a long one, consider taking a temporary international car insurance plan instead of getting your car imported. You will be covered for a shorter tenure and the plan will cost lesser. Apart from that, rented cars are also a popular idea these days and they work pretty good for visitors. Only take the trouble of getting your personal car imported to the new country if you are set to spend years in this new country.
Essentials for Driving Internationally
Driving License Requirements: Your driving license might not be enough for you to be eligible to drive in your new country of residence. Some countries require new residents or travellers to bring an international driving permit along with them. This document will serve as your license to drive in the new country, at least in the beginning. If you are staying for long, you will be able to get a national license soon, once your residency is settled.
Proof of Residence: Your Visa will serve as your primary proof of residence at the beginning of your stay, just like in the UAE. A valid resident Visa is going to be an extremely important document that you will need for the entirety of your stay. Make sure you have it secure at all times.
Travel Insurance (if only visiting): You will not need travel insurance if you are simply moving to the country in question. However, if you are going on a visitor’s visa, you may need travel insurance as well. check out the rules that this country you are going to have related to mandatory travel insurance. Buy one if you need to. Check if your credit card offers complimentary travel insurance and whether it is good enough for the mandatory standards.
All Required Completed Paperwork for the Imported Car: If you are going to drive your car, make sure you have gotten the paperwork transferred along with it. Registration details and car insurance for driving abroad documents are just two of the important documents that you will need. Figure out beforehand if there are any special requirements set in the country you are moving to.
Modification Requirements: Just like UAE needs your cars to be all set with gulf-special modifications, other countries may come with special requirements too. Check whether your car is in a good shape to be driven in the country you are moving to. If not, find out what kind of modifications would you need in the car in order to make it compatible and safer. Confirm the restriction put on the modifications of the cars by your insurance provider and move along those lines only.
The Final Words
Verify everything once again before you leave the UAE for your new country of residence. Check the details of your car insurance abroad with your provider and make sure that all the formalities are taken care of. Have proper information of the office of your provider in the region you are moving to as well. Finally, drive safe, follow the traffic rules and always carry your insurance card, insurance documents and other car documents when you are driving. Make the best of your time overseas with comprehensive protection by your side.