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I will be visiting the UK for several months. How long can I drive a car in the UK on a US drivers license?

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I was just in the UK for a little over 2 months and was visiting from the US (with a US driver's license). In my duration there, I rented two cars--one for a few weeks (a manual vintage campervan), and another for nearly 2 months (a more modern, automatic compact car).

Legally, you can drive a vehicle in the UK for up to 12 months if you're from the US (or most countries) and are just visiting, but the question is whether or not you will have insurance. The answer depends on how you will obtain your car. If you rent/hire a car in the UK, say, using a company like Hertz or Sixt, using a US credit card, the credit card company usually--though not always--offers car insurance, but it will often be for a maximum of 30 days and has restrictions, such as on the age of the vehicle, and you have to be the primary driver. If you find that this is available to you, and you decide to go this route, you have to make sure to decline the rental company's collision damage waiver (CDW/LDW). Check your credit card benefits first.

There is also temporary insurance available in the UK. For instance, I rented a campervan from the 70s and my credit card CDW did not cover it due to the age of the vehicle, so I had to purchase temporary insurance through a company called Dayinsure. Anything longer than 2-3 months (or if you're purchasing a vehicle), I can't provide advice, but surely there is a similar type of insurance available you could purchase through the company you're renting from.

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  • In my experience, credit cards offer only "collision damage waiver" or "loss damaga waiver" coverage. This protects the car only, not its contents or its occupants, and it covers neither damage to property nor injury to people outside the car (including occupants of other vehicles). Anyone renting a car should check whether any insurance coverage they already have will cover these things, because the credit card probably doesn't. – phoog Sep 10 '19 at 17:32
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Check the three-question site here : https://www.gov.uk/driving-nongb-licence

This is a UK government site, so the answer should be definitive.

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