If you’re a tourist on an extended vacation who wants the added freedom of mobility that having a car offers, you might be tempted to buy one in Lufkin, Texas and take care of the insurance yourself. This is doable, but the process is far more complicated for a foreign tourist than it is for a U.S. citizen with the proper credentials.
For starters, most insurance companies require a state-issued driver’s license in order to establish an auto insurance policy. If you do find a provider that’s willing to work with you, you may end up paying higher rates than an average U.S. citizen would. These providers may also require you to have an international driver’s license (which you have to apply for before entering the U.S.) along with a driver’s license from your home country.
Most states also disallow the use of temporary addresses or P.O. boxes in place of a permanent address for vehicle registration. You won’t be over to use the address of the previous owner either, nor will you be able to use his or her plates for the duration of your stay. The last thing you want to do is drive without plates or insurance – doing so is a criminal offense that could result in a steep fine or even jail time, plus your car will be impounded.
In short, buying a car as a foreign tourist is often more trouble than it’s worth. You’re most likely better off renting a vehicle for the duration of your stay. As your independent agent, we can help you answer specific questions about your auto insurance coverage, whether you’re at home or abroad.