It’s true – America has a car-centric culture. As an international student, you might have to rely on a car to get around when you’re in the United States. Your visa application was complicated enough, so it might be overwhelming to think about getting car insurance and the correct paperwork to use your driver’s license in America. Don’t stress out! We’ll keep it simple.
What kind of car insurance do international students need?
If you own or lease a car in the United States or sign up for a long-term car subscription, you will need your own auto insurance. Forty-eight of the 50 U.S. states require drivers to have liability insurance to register their cars. Plus, if you lease or finance your car, your lender will probably want you to get full coverage insurance. Here’s how to get car insurance if you have an international driving license.
Non owned auto
If you don’t have your own car, but you drive a car you don’t own at least three days a month, you need non owned auto insurance. For example, if you’re always borrowing your friend’s car, non owned auto insurance would help you pay for damage you cause if you crash it. Non owned auto insurance also protects you while driving with a car subscription like Zipcar. It can even help if an uninsured driver hits you while you’re riding your bike. Non owned auto insurance also helps you build an insurance claims history before you own a car, which – assuming you don’t file a bunch of claims – can result in better deals on insurance premiums after you buy a car.
Rental car insurance
If you only rent cars occasionally and don’t have a non owned auto insurance policy, rental car insurance might be enough coverage for you. You can get insurance for rental cars online or at the rental counter.
Best car insurance for international students
Not all carriers write policies for international driver’s licenses. Progressive, Bristol West, and Dairyland do, though. Those are your best choices as an international student using an International Driving Permit to drive with a non-U.S. driver’s license. Surround Insurance can get you quotes from all three companies to compare.
Don’t wait until you have a U.S. license to get a policy! If you own a car, you need to have insurance. Otherwise, you could face serious financial liability if you cause an accident. Once you’re insured, work toward getting a U.S. driver’s license and start building a U.S. credit score.
After six months, ask your insurance agent to shop for a new policy. Having a credit score and an insurance history can result in much more affordable insurance rates.
How much does car insurance cost for international students?
We work with lots of international students here at Surround Insurance. The quotes they get depend on their location and the type of insurance they’re buying. However, the average cost of insurance for international students in America is $100 to $550 a month for a first insurance policy. That’s not cheap – but the good news is that when we re-shop for our international customers after six months, the quotes we get for them are much lower.
The sooner you start building your insurance history, the sooner you can access a lower rate. Contact us anytime for help choosing a policy, navigating the bureaucracy of car insurance in America, or comparison shopping for a new policy.