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 coverage 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 coverage.
- Pay by miles driven
- Low base rates
- Drive less, pay less
Our top pick: Metromile
Drive less than 30 miles a day? Save on the coverage you need with pay-per-mile insurance from Metromile. Get a low monthly rate then pay just a few cents per mile. Available in AZ, CA, IL, NJ, OR, PA, VA and WA.
- Rates from $29/month plus pennies per mile
- Low-mileage drivers could save $611/year
- All miles over 250 a day are free
- Easy app and online claims plus 24/7 support
What you need to know about car insurance in the US
To drive in the US, you need three things: a car, driver’s license and car insurance.
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 for the state where you are living or studying.
As an overseas student, you are recognized as a temporary resident. This means you’re able to use your current overseas driver’s license 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, if you’ve bought a new or used car. You’ll receive the title and registration when you purchase it, and you usually have 10 to 30 days to register it in your name. You can renew it every one or two years. If you’re driving a rental car, the car will be registered to your rental car company.
International driving permitIf you are driving in the US with an international driving permit, you have two options for getting car insurance: through an insurance provider or through a rental company. The length of your stay will help you determine which route to take. If you are here for a short trip, getting insurance through the car rental company your are using might be easiest. But if you are in the US for an extended stay and intend to purchase a car, an insurance company is the way to go.
What kind of car insurance do I need?
Your personal situation will influence what type of insurance you’ll need. Here are some options:
- Temporary or short-term coverage. Unlike your typical car insurance policy that covers you from six to 12 months at a time, short-term or temporary car insurance is usually for a period of up to 30 days. You specify the exact coverage you’d like and the specific days you’ll need it.
- Rental car insurance. Rental car insurance is an optional purchase you will be offered at the rental company. Some credit cards and personal car insurance policies already cover your rental, allowing you to avoid this additional expense.
- Non-owner car insurance. Non-owner car insurance allows you to drive someone else’s car and be protected. Typically this type of policy only provides liability coverage.
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. These are just some of the many factors that affect car insurance prices. To find out how much you’ll be paying, get quotes from multiple insurers to find the cheapest car insurance with the coverage you need.
- 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 covered car parking, you can often pay less for car insurance than someone who has to park on the street.
- The car you drive. More expensive cars cost more to insure. You’ll also get lower premiums for safer cars or cars with certain safety devices.
- 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 neighborhood, you can often get lower prices than someone who lives in an area with a higher crime rate.
- Your deductible. The deductible is a fee that you need to pay when making a claim. 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.
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 coverage. The best way to find the right coverage at the right price is to get quotes from a range of different insurers.
- Get discounts for buying online, being safe driver, good student and more.
- If you won’t be driving much, consider pay-as-you-drive car insurance.
- Don’t make claims if you can avoid it in order to grow a no-claims bonus discount.
- Consider the limits and know how to compare policies.
- Know your policy exclusions and what your car insurance doesn’t cover.