Car insurance for foreign licence holders

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In most cases when you start driving in the UK on a foreign licence, it is usually because you have come here for work or study and plan on becoming a resident. If you are, then car insurance is much easily obtained whereas if you are here temporarily, on a holiday for example or if you intend on driving on another foreign licence, then insurance is harder to get and can be extremely expensive.

foreign licences

Car insurance for an EU licence holder

Many insurance companies will accept your EU licence until you exchange it over for a UK licence but as it is only valid for 12 months, it's worth doing sooner rather than later. When you buy a car, you will need to get adequate insurance cover and as an EU/UK licence holder you shouldn't have any problems. Just make sure they take into account the period of time you have had your licence for so that your annual premiums are less than having a completely new driving record. There are many insurance companies that will take this into consideration for you whilst some do not, so it is worth shopping around.

Getting insured on a foreign licence

If you come from the US, Australia and India, you will have to exchange your licence for a UK one and will not be able to drive (there are some exceptions so check state) until you've done so. When you have exchanged your foreign licence for a UK one, you will be able to get insurance for your vehicle. There are some insurance companies that do not take previous driving history into account when they give you a quote. So if you have been driving for 20 years in your country and come here with no previous record, your insurance will be sky high! To avoid this, you should find an insurer that will take into account previous driving history as it's not fair to disregard it because it was held in a different country.

You may also want to look for temporary insurance cover as a foreign driver if you do not want to get tied up to a yearly contract.

Renting a car with a foreign licence

There are not many short term or temporary car insurers that are willing to insure a foreign national. This is because of the check they will need to carry out before accepting you for cover; in this case you will have no other choice than to go with the hire company's insurance policy. It might be slightly more than going with other mainstream companies but at least you will be covered for insurance purposes. It is a legal requirement to be insured in all cars that you drive whether abroad or in your home country.

gices Level 6
I'm a Software Developer and the co-founder of Clever Dodo. Born in Mauritius and now living in the UK, I usually blog about fitness, music, spirituality and driving topics to pass on my knowledge.

4 Replies

MrsBaggins Level 1

Full no claims bonus from NRMA in Sydney Australia and a gold Australian Drivers licence

I have a full no claims bonus from Sydney Australia with a covering letter from the NRMA, have a full Austraian Gold Licence and have been driving for 30 years. I have returned to the UK to live and need car insurance. Can anyone help? Thank you

[Migrated from previous topic 11739 dated 18 Dec 2010]

anonymous_2 Level 1

Hi MrsBaggins We've just returned from Aus. It looks like several UK insurers (eg Direct Line, for one) will accept No Claims Bonuses from Aussie insurers, however, they will need a No Claims certificate that states your No Claims history in YEARS (eg "8yrs No Claims") rather than, for example, as a rating or % discount (which is what the Aussie insurers tend to do). I was with AAMI in Australia, and they were happy to comply with this request, and provided me with a certificate by email. Hope this helps! George

[Migrated from previous post 1555 dated 09 Feb 2011]

Holly Level 1

Dear Sir/Madame I am posting asking about how much it will cost for car insurance with a foreign licence. How much it will cost me if me and my husband are going to be driving the same car too? Thanks Regards

gices Level 6

Difficult to tell without knowing the specifics such as where the licence was obtained from, whether there are any driving convictions, how long the licence was held etc.

Your best bet is to use a car insurance comparison website first.

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