Car Insurance for Foreign Students in USA

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Things to know...
  • In general, international students can expect to pay more for car insurance since they don’t have a driving record in the U.S
  • Foreign students are given a clean slate but may be required to obtain a driver’s license within the first 30 days of coverage
  • Comparing car insurance rates is critical as not all providers will offer a policy to an international student driver

Many students travel to the United States to further their education at a graduate school or institution of higher learning that offers more options or a higher quality education than what is available in their native countries.

In many instances, foreign students already possess international driver’s licenses that are recognized by nearly all United Nations countries.

To obtain these international driver’s licenses, students typically pay for the license for a specific period of time such as one year.

In most cases, car insurance coverage for foreign students in the U.S. is more expensive than that of the average driver in the U.S.

This increased cost is mainly attributed to the fact that international students do not have a driving history that has been validated and recorded with a U.S. insurance agency.

Therefore, most car insurance companies cannot check or verify the driver’s record to determine whether he or she is a liability, at a higher risk for an accident, or if he or she has a reliable reputation as a safe driver.

As a result, the higher insurance policies are how these companies protect themselves from the risk of insuring a driver from a foreign country which may have different driving regulations and laws than those in the U.S.

Compare car insurance quotes right here to find the best rate for the coverage you need.

How to Find International Student Car Insurance


When shopping for a car insurance quote as a foreign student, it’s important to understand that any car insurance provider is taking a chance that you have an acceptable driving history.

In other words, international students are basically given a clean slate as far as U.S. insurance companies are concerned.

Keep in mind that some car insurance carriers will offer coverage to foreign students, but they’ll require these drivers to obtain a U.S. driver’s license.

In most cases, the driver is given 30 days of coverage, but after this period expires, he or she must obtain a U.S. license in order to maintain their policy and keep their coverage.

Typically, if the student continues to be insured by the same company for at least three years, the insurance company will review the driver’s history with the company as well as his or her driving history, and the provider may lower the premium to closer to the national average.

According to the Insurance Information Institute, 73 percent of insured drivers buy collision coverage, and 78 percent of insured drivers purchase liability insurance and comprehensive coverage.

Foreign students should keep this in mind when choosing a policy as well as the average expenditures for auto insurance in the state in which they will be residing while in the U.S.

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Check With Your School’s International Student Association

International students should first check with their university’s international student association when they first set out to purchase a car insurance policy in the U.S.

Each university or college provides resources for international students through an on-campus organization or association. The Int’l Student Organization (ISO) is another helpful resource for foreign students pursuing studies in the U.S.

When you’re shopping for car insurance, these organizations will most likely be able to provide you with a list of auto insurance providers who will offer coverage in your area.

In most cases, your university has had a dialogue and has already established a relationship with the companies on this list, and the auto insurance providers understand the need for international students to have coverage so that they may legally drive on U.S. roads.

Since these companies are familiar with your situation, they will be more likely to set you up with a policy for a short period of time.

By starting your car insurance shopping at your students’ association, you may be able to find discounts and deals that will save you money down the road.

Comparing Car Insurance Rates as an International Student


Even if you decide to take advantage of your international students’ association’s resources and contacts, it’s still important to shop around for a policy just to ensure you’re getting the best possible price for your car insurance policy.

Many providers will offer policies for international student drivers, although you may need to do a little more digging around than most U.S. drivers.

Also, make sure you’re clear on whether you need full coverage or just liability before you start your search.

Take the time to compare auto providers’ rates to make sure you’re getting the coverage you need at the best price policy.

Rates will vary for international students depending on where they will be living in the U.S. as well as the vehicle they will be driving, so comparison shopping is critical.

Much like U.S. students, many foreign students live on budgets, which is why using a comparison shopping tool is critical to finding the most affordable rates in the area.

Some car insurance providers will count the foreign student’s driving experience in his or her native country and will be able to offer a rate comparable to that of a U.S. citizen.

However, this is not always the case, and students should be prepared to pay slightly more for their auto insurance policy due to a lack of a driving history in the U.S.

Also, before students leave their country, they should make sure that their international driver’s license has the following characteristics:

  • is valid
  • is up-to-date
  • is clear of any warrants or fines

Research Potential Auto Insurance Companies for the Best Rates


Once you have a list of possible auto insurance companies who will provide coverage to international students, read online reviews to find out what current and former customers are saying about the companies.

After all, when you need your insurance provider, you want them to be helpful, customer-oriented, and willing to pay the claim. What you don’t need is to find that more customers have had negative experiences than positive ones.

Although the process is slightly more involved for an international student than for a U.S. citizen, international students who wish to drive a car while attending a university or college in the U.S. do, in fact, have options.

There are a number of providers who are willing to offer comprehensive, affordable car insurance rates. Enter your residential zip code below (or the zip code you’ll be living in once you’re in the states) to compare free quotes now!

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