I need U.S. car insurance for my British Land Rover. It is a 1988 model with British plates. I need short term insurance 6 months or so and am 75 years old and will be traveling in the California area.

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    Welcome to the site. Could you be more specific (have a look at our help center on how to form a question here) - what license are you on, what age (some companies don't let people under 25 rent), what states are you visiting, for example. Have you tried a search for it yourself - anything you've found? Generally asking for a giant list of answers isn't the way to go here, so I'm just trying to help - your question got flagged automatically for its length...
    – Mark Mayo
    Oct 3, 2013 at 2:41
  • The length of your visit is also relevant. Oct 3, 2013 at 4:51
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    When you say "foreign licensed vehicle" do you mean you have a drivers license from a foreign country or do you mean the vehicle itself is also from a foreign country and has only foreign registration (number plates)? Oct 3, 2013 at 10:03
  • I think this is answerable as a general question if it's specifically about insuring a car you're bringing into the country. Even if the answer is "Actually it's just the same as insuring an American vehicle" and then pointing to some of the current car insurance questions. Oct 3, 2013 at 10:04
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    I need a specific insurance company to provide U.S. insurance for my 1988 British licensed Land Rover. I have phoned approximately 15 companies with no affirmative answer so far. I only need short term insurance.
    – user8663
    Oct 3, 2013 at 18:08

1 Answer 1


Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer, nor am I a California resident.

However, I would not expect you to be able to insure your overseas-registered car with a California insurer. In every state that I have lived in, insurance companies require you to register the car in that state (and there's a circular dependency, in that states require proof of insurance before they will register the vehicle).

That said, the California Department of Motor Vehicles website describes the financial responsibility requirements for operating a vehicle in California, and it appears that you would be OK if you (1) provide the DMV with a $35,000 cash deposit, or (2) use a registered bonding agency to post a $35,000 surety bond.

Note that that is simply to cover liability, in case you cause an accident or damage property with your vehicle. It does not cover any damage to your own vehicle. Nor, to be honest, is it enough: I would recommend buying an umbrella liability policy from your local insurer. And you should also check with your local insurer regarding damage coverage (if that's important to you).

As for the legality of driving in the US with British plates, you should contact a US Consular office. I would expect it to be legal (provided you have liability insurance), given that there are lots of other countries within driving distance of the US.

Edit: although it doesn't say anything about foreign vehicles, AAA has a summary of traffic laws (with pull-downs for each state).

Also, the US AAA motor club has reciprocal agreements with the British AA club; it's possible they could provide additional information.

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