Can international students get car insurance in the US? | finder.com
Student studying in the US

Car insurance for international students

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Heading to the US for overseas study? Learn the steps to get car insurance as an overseas student.

The United States has long been a popular option for overseas students looking to study abroad. If you are currently living in the US as a temporary student or planning on visiting, you may have considered purchasing a car for getting around your area or for trips away. Whether you are borrowing a car or purchasing a car of your own for the duration of your stay, you will need to ensure that you have adequate cover in place.

This article will explore what you need to know about getting car insurance as an international student, licensing requirements and steps to pay less for cover.

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Top car insurance brands in the United States

Name Product Roadside assistance New car protection Available states
Liberty Mutual
Included free
Yes, cars under 1 year old & 15,000 miles
All 50 states
Car insurance through Liberty Mutual will give coverage options for almost any situation.
Allstate
Included free
Yes, cars under 2 years old
All 50 states
Enjoy having your own dedicated agent to help you get the best discounts and coverage.
Root
Included free
No
Arizona, Arkansas, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, New Mexico, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Utah
Root offers simple, affordable insurance that’s ideal for good drivers. Try the Root app for 2 weeks and see how much you could save. Available in 20 states.
Esurance
Optional
Yes, cars under 1 year old & 15,000 miles
All states except Alaska, Delaware, Hawaii, New Hampshire, Montana, Vermont, Wyoming
Esurance offers a modern online and mobile experience that helps you take your insurance on the go. Available in 42 states.
USAA
Included free
No
All 50 states
USAA offers affordable car insurance with highly rated customer service to millions of military members and their families. Only available to military members, veterans and affiliated military members.

Compare up to 4 providers

What you need to know about car insurance in the US

Car insurance requirements are slightly different in each state. When you register a vehicle, get car insurance or do anything else, you need to find the requirements from the state where you are living or studying.

Understand car insurance terms: A-Z glossary

About driver’s licenses and car registration

As an overseas student, you are recognised as a temporary resident. This means you’re able to use your current overseas driver’s license with no problems as long as it’s current and valid.

  • You must carry your driver’s license with you at all times while driving.
  • If your license is not in English, you will either need to carry an international driving permit or a certified translation of your license. Alternatively, you can get a license in the US by passing the required tests.

You also need to register your car.

  • Each registration period is one year, and you need to renew it annually.
  • You get one year of registration included when you buy a new car. If you buy a second hand car, the seller should provide a transfer of registration form, which you need to send to the state motoring authority.

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How much does car insurance cost?

How likely you are to make a claim and what risk group an insurer places you in determines the cost of your car insurance.

  • Male or female. Males are statistically at higher risk of accidents, which is why women often pay less for car insurance than men.
  • Your age. If you are under 25 years of age, you will pay more for car insurance. Once you turn 26, you can start getting cheaper insurance with lower premiums.
  • Where you park the car. If your accommodation comes with undercover car parking, you can often pay less for car insurance than someone who has to park on the street.
  • How much your car costs. More expensive cars cost more to insure.
  • How much you drive. If you drive long distances every day, you will usually have to pay more for car insurance than someone who only drives short distances or not very often.
  • Your driving record. Safe drivers, who don’t have a history of car accidents, are often able to pay less for car insurance.
  • Where you are staying. If you live in a safe neighbourhood, you can often get lower prices than someone who lives in an area with a higher crime rate.
  • Your car’s safety rating. All cars have a safety rating, and it may also have certain safety devices. Insurers will often use these to set prices, and they will give lower premiums for safer cars.

Read the complete guide to car insurance cost

These are just some of the many factors which affect car insurance prices. To find out how much you’ll be paying, get quotes from multiple insurers.

Your car insurance premiums are the regular, ongoing costs of having a policy, but they are not the only expense. It’s also important to consider the excess.

  • The deductible is a fee that you need to pay when making a claim.
  • There might be more than one deductible on your policy, depending on the deductible chosen for each type of coverage.
  • You are often able to choose your own basic deductible. A higher deductible will have lower premiums, while a lower deductible will have higher premiums. The choice is up to you, and how you want to balance the costs.

There are many large and reputable car insurance providers. If you only get quotes from one, it’s likely that you will end up paying more than you need to for insurance. By getting a number of quotes, you can find the cheapest car insurance with the coverage you need.

How to pay less for car insurance

There are a lot of different ways to reduce the cost of car insurance and make sure you have effective cover.

The only way to find the right cover, at the right price, is to get quotes from a range of different insurers.

Find the cheapest rates

Compare the best car insurance companies near you.

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