When you are an international student studying in the US, it can be a bit confusing with the new culture and possibly even a new language. Often the simplest things can be difficult to get the hang of. Things like car insurance can be a whole new challenge when you aren`t familiar with the process or the rules.
If you`ll be driving in the country you plan to study in, you will want to have car insurance. Most students are on a budget anyway and having to deal with the cost of an accident, no matter how minor is usually a big dent in the budget, particularly if you were at fault.
– Look for a car insurance provider that doesn’t penalize international students. Many companies will insist on a minimum of 3 years US driving experience in order to qualify for lower rates and higher coverage. Since the majority of international students have little or no experience driving in the States, they will end up paying more for less coverage. A very few insurance companies will count foreign driving experience and offer lower rates and deductibles.
– While liability is the minimum requirement by law, it`s a good idea to find out how much more you`ll pay for collision insurance, as well as comprehensive. Liability covers your passengers or property that you damage in an accident, collision will cover repairs to your vehicle if you crash, even if the accident was your fault. Comprehensive insurance is meant to help you recover your financial losses if the vehicle is stolen or destroyed by means other than a car accident.
– Keep the age of your vehicle in mind. Older cars usually aren`t worth insuring for anything more than liability, since you would be better off replacing the vehicle than repairing it in most cases. Newer cars will need to be insured for more since it`s usually far cheaper to repair them than buy a new vehicle. The general rule of thumb is that a car older than 1989 should carry liability only.
– Look for fixed rates. Some car insurance companies will let you sign up for 6 months or 12 months, where your rates will not go up, even if you have an accident during that time. Obviously, the longer the term, the better.
– Make sure you have an up-to-date international driver`s license. This will allow you to drive both in your home country and in the US. Most international students have no need for an American driver`s license, so an international one should be fine. Just be sure that it is good for at least six months after your stay ends so you`ll be able to get the best car insurance possible.
– Bring all paperwork that could be necessary with you when you apply for car insurance. You`ll need proof that you haven`t had an accident in the previous 18-36 months for the best rates. All driving related paperwork will help you out when applying for car insurance and can drastically cut the waiting time, as well, since you won`t be trying to get your papers from your home country.
Car insurance for international students might be a bit tricky, but it mainly comes down to doing some research to find which companies will give you a break, even if you haven`t been driving in the States for the past three years. The prices and amount of coverage should be fair and not hiked up just because you are only temporarily in the country.