How to Buy Car Insurance for International Students

To buy car insurance as an international student, you will need to obtain a valid driver’s license, then compare quotes and shop for discounts.
Written by Nathan Porceng
Reviewed by Kathleen Flear
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International students who want to buy
car insurance
in the United States will need a valid driver’s license. Since they don’t have an American driving history or credit score, they will also need to diligently compare quotes and shop discounts to save on a policy.
The United States is a sprawling nation with many areas lacking public transportation, making cars essential for getting from place to place. However, international students often have a difficult time getting obtaining affordable car insurance without the requisite licensing and American driving and credit histories. They’re also usually young, and drivers under 25 tend to pay much more for car insurance.
To find affordable car insurance as an international student, you will need to compare quotes and maximize available discounts. Luckily for you, the
licensed broker
and car insurance shopping app
Jerry
makes it easy to shop policies from dozens of the top car insurance providers and maximize your savings.
Read on to learn more about purchasing car insurance as an international student.

How to buy car insurance for international students

Driving without car insurance is illegal in the United States. To avoid severe legal penalties and protect yourself in the event of an accident, you will need to purchase car insurance. Below are the major steps for buying car insurance as an international student.

Obtain an American driver’s license

Before you can even consider purchasing car insurance you must obtain a valid U.S. driver’s license—even if you never plan on becoming a citizen. Requirements vary from state to state, so be sure to contact your local department of motor vehicles. Typical requirements include:
  • Passing a written examination
  • Completing a set number of hours driving while supervised
  • Passing a practical examination during which you will drive under the supervision of a state licenser
In pursuit of your driver’s license, you may want to consider taking a driver’s education course. These courses, offered both in individual and group settings, will prepare you for all aspects of your state’s licensing process. Even better, completing a driver’s education course will likely earn you a discount on your car insurance down the road.

Verify your state’s minimum insurance requirements

Minimum insurance requirements
exist to protect other drivers in the event you get into an accident. If your policy does not meet these requirements, you may face expensive fines or even jail time. Requirements vary from state to state but usually include two main coverages:

Select additional coverage

Buying your state’s minimum required insurance will protect other drivers and keep you out of legal trouble, but it won’t protect you. Common additional coverage options include:

Choose a reasonable deductible

Your deductible is how much money you will pay out of pocket in the event of an accident. The higher your deductible, the cheaper your insurance premium will be. 
You should avoid choosing an unreasonably high deductible just to lower your premium. Rather, you should pick the highest deductible you can actually afford to pay in the event of an accident.
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Estimate your mileage

The less you drive, the cheaper your policy. That said, make an accurate guess on how much you actually expect to drive. If you’re unsure, speak with an insurance representative.

Join a family policy

If you have family in the United States, you may be able to join their existing policy. Pooling coverage saves everyone money—but not that your primary residence must be the same as theirs.

Compare quotes

If you are buying your own car insurance, you will want to obtain quotes from as many car insurance companies as possible. Fortunately, quote comparison apps like
Jerry
make this process quicker and easier than ever before!

Apply discounts

Even as a non-citizen, you may be eligible for an array of discounts on your car insurance. Examples include student discounts and discounts for completing a driver’s education course.
Key Takeaway Make sure you meet your state’s minimum insurance requirements when buying your policy.

Why international students need car insurance

Besides protecting yourself in the event of an at-fault accident, you need car insurance to ensure you meet your state’s minimum insurance requirements. Driving without car insurance is illegal in the United States. 
Though each state has its own laws governing car insurance, typical penalties include fines of hundreds to thousands of dollars, jail time, and/or suspension of your driver’s license. Check with your state’s DMV or your insurance company to ensure that your policy includes all required coverage. 

Why is car insurance for international students so expensive?

The typical college student pays about $363 per month for car insurance. International students can expect to pay even more. Insurance for international students is costly for a number of reasons.

Age

Younger drivers tend to get in accidents at higher rates than more experienced drivers. Therefore, insurance companies tend to charge drivers under 25 much more for a given policy than their elder customers.

Driver’s history

As a new driver in the United States, you naturally don’t have a recorded history of driving safely in the country. Stay and drive safely for a few years and your insurance costs will decrease.

Credit history

Again, since you’re new to the United States, you likely don’t have much of a record proving you can pay your bills on time. Build up a respectable credit history in the country and you will be able to purchase cheaper car insurance.

What discounts are available for international students?

Though car insurance can be extremely costly for international students, you may be eligible for numerous discounts. Here are some common ones:
Discount type
Who is eligible
Good student discounts
Full-time students who maintain a B average or higher may save up to 25% on their car insurance.
Defensive driving discounts
Completing a defensive driving or driver’s education course could reduce your premium by as much as 10%.
Good driver discounts
Maintaining a safe driving record for at least three years may slash your premium by up to 20%.
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How to find affordable car insurance as an international student

As an international student, it can be tough to find an affordable car insurance policy. You’ll definitely want to comparison shop—and
Jerry
makes it quick and easy! 
Download the app and answer a few questions, and in just 45 seconds, Jerry will compare quotes from more than 50 of the top insurance providers and present you with the best choices for your needs and budget. 
No phone calls, no long forms, no hassles. The best part? The average Jerry user saves $887 per year on their car insurance premium!
“I heard about
Jerry
through a podcast and decided to try it out. My 2008 Range Rover Sport was costing me $168/month before Jerry found me the exact same coverage for $84/month under Plymouth Rock. I’ll definitely keep shopping for insurance with Jerry.” —Eileen P.
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FAQs

Age and a lack of driving and credit histories all contribute to high car insurance costs for international students.
Contact your local department of motor vehicles. To obtain a driver’s license, you will likely need to drive a set number of hours under the supervision of a licensed driver and pass written and practical examinations.
Are you overpaying for car insurance?
Compare quotes and find out in 45 seconds.
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