An adult family member is visiting California, USA from India, for about 3 months. He wants to drive my CA registered car in CA. I already have auto insurance for myself and this car. How can I get auto insurance for him ? I know that a foreign driver can get auto insurance by renting a car. But, I don't want to do that.

What I learned so far ?

1 - The sunrise group offers such insurance. But, my relative believes that their forms are asking for "too much information" (foreign address) & is not comfortable with providing it at the quote stage.

2 - Independent agents can help. But, I can't find any agents online who explicitly mention that they can help here. Has anyone tried this option ?

3 - The DMV CA website is not very helpful. The best I could get about international drivers in their website is this and its not at all useful:

International Driving Permits

The State of California does not recognize an International Driving Permit (IDP) as a valid driver license. California does recognize a valid driver license that is issued by a foreign jurisdiction (country, state, territory) of which the license holder is a resident.

The IDP is only a translation of information contained on a person's foreign driver license and is not required to operate a motor vehicle in California. Citations issued to a person in California who has an IDP, but does not have a California driver license will be placed on the Department of Motor Vehicle database.

The IDP is also called an International Driver License, International License, etc.

For more information about travel and driver licensing requirements outside of the US, visit Driving Abroad.




  • 2
    Are you sure he needs to get his own insurance policy? Car insurance in the US usually follows the car, not the driver, so he'd be covered under your policy if you let him drive your car. If he bought his own policy, you'd have two insurance policies for the same car. Check the fine print on your insurance policy though, as they may require he be named on the policy since it's a long-term visit. Jun 22, 2017 at 7:02
  • @ZachLipton - Thanks for that information ! I did not know that car insurance is tied to a car, and not car+driver. I don't want my insurance to get affected in case my relative causes a accident. That is why I was hoping to get a separate insurance for him. Jun 22, 2017 at 7:08
  • You can have him formally listed as a driver on your insurance for a set amount of time. Usually without too much penalty. It'd probably help if you can get a copy of his (clean) driving record in India. This coverage will be better, and cheaper, than anything he can get on his own. And it will be better than pretending to the insurance company that he was only driving your car that one time when he crashed into something..
    – user61942
    Jun 22, 2017 at 17:16

1 Answer 1


There are two types of insurance - liability and comprehensive.

Liability insurance is tied to the person. This is what covers you when you drive a vehicle that you do not own. Liability insurance is mandatory almost everywhere.

Comprehensive insurance (and collision insurance) is tied to the vehicle. This type of insurance covers things like vandalism and theft, damage as a result of an accident, etc.

Your car insurance policy offers both types of insurance; that is, it insures you (even when you are driving another vehicle) and it insures the vehicle (if driven by someone other than you; if they have permission).

If someone steals your car, then you are not liable for any insurance claims, assuming you have reported it stolen to the authorities.

Generally speaking, immediate family members are covered as part of the "insured" on the policy.

All licensed drivers of the vehicle (assuming the person is licensed for the type, and the license is valid in the jurisdiction) have some manner of insurance, assuming they have permission of the owner to drive the vehicle.

The issue arises of exactly how much coverage is available to you, in case of an accident when someone else (who has your permission, and is suitably licensed for the vehicle, and has a current, valid license) drives the car.

Here is where you need to check the fine print of your insurance policy.

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