Top Car Insurance Options for Drivers from Overseas

Car Insurance for International Drivers

If you’ve recently moved to the U.S. or are considering moving, you’re very likely to consider your driving options. Of course, driving to places isn’t the most difficult but getting proper insurance is. So, we’re going to look at auto insurance for foreign drivers, so you get off to the right start.

Auto Insurance for Foreign Drivers: The Basics

Car insurance is a legal requirement for qualified drivers in the U.S., even if you’re not a resident. That means you’ll have to carefully understand your insurance regardless of whether you’re a short-term or long-term visitor.

Short-term visitors usually rent vehicles, so you can get rental car coverage from the rental company itself. For long-term visitors or permanent movers who own their own vehicles need to buy car insurance from a U.S. insurance company. Longer stays or permanent stays will require a valid U.S. license as well.

Driver’s Licenses and Car Insurance

Before you start driving in the U.S., a driver’s license and, in most states, car insurance is a must. The rules will vary depending on the state you reside in. You can visit the DMV to identify what you will require to get a license—generally a social security number.

If you don’t have a social security number, you can check other states that may be able to help. Check your state’s regulations and information to see if you’re eligible.

Here are some essential documents you may require to apply for a driver’s license:

  • Visa and Valid Passport
  • Form I-94
  • Form I-20 (for F or M Students) or Form DS-2019 (for a J Exchange Visitor)
  • Employment Authorization Document (EAD) Card
  • Form I-797
  • Social Security Number
  • Proof of Legal Residence

Things to Consider for International Student Drivers

You need to get a driver’s license first and foremost. The application can be a tedious process, more so for an international student. Make sure you consider these variables:

  • Eligibility: Not all non-immigrant visas allow foreign nationals to obtain a driver’s license in the U.S. These include F, M and J visas.
  • After you get your license, Contact Your Designated School Official (DSO): Your DSO should take you through the license application procedure of your state.
  • Consider the Timeline: Your Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) record needs to be active for you to apply for a license.
  • Verify Your Data: Accurate information is VITAL! Make sure your information matches across all documents.

Car Insurance: Where You Should Start

Even if you are an experienced driver in another country, without a driving history in the U.S., you’re considered a “new driver.” Without good insurance coverage, you’re basically welcoming expenses. Out-of-pocket payments in the U.S. are not kind to your wallet. Consider what coverage you need and where you can get it from.

An insurance company might charge you a bit extra at the beginning but it’s a good investment.

Car Insurance: An Informative Guide To Get The Best Coverage

Auto Insurance for International Students Similar to regular foreign drivers, foreign or international students can find insurance companies that provide coverage. Most insurers cover foreign drivers, including students. There will be several options to choose from, but some companies might be more experienced working with international drivers. Big names in the industry, like Progressive and State Farm work with international drivers and can be a good fit.

The insurance process and requirements may be a bit stricter but there still are various options. You can get car insurance from most insurance companies easily, but some insurers may require you to have at least three years of driving experience in the U.S. before they provide coverage.

Your DSO can assist you during this process. They can help you acquire a list of companies that don’t have such requirements.

International students will need to buy the International Auto Insurance Policy. It is more expensive than the ones afforded to citizens because insurance companies generally regard international students or foreign nationals as a higher risk. Since you’re more likely to have limited to no driving history in the U.S., they may classify you as a higher risk.

The Required Paperwork for Car Insurance

  • Driver’s License: A valid driver’s license is, of course, a MUST! You’ll need to prove that you have a valid license in your home country. It will then be changed into an International Driver’s Permit.
  • International Driver’s Permit (IDP): An IDP isn’t a valid driver’s license but serves as a translation for your foreign license that must accompany your native driver’s license.
  • Driving Record: Your driving record from your home country will highlight any outstanding tickets, records of DUI or any other issues. The driving record will impact your insurance rates and policy, helping insurers determine how big a risk you are.

States Where Undocumented Citizens Can Get a License

  1. California
  2. Connecticut
  3. Illinois
  4. New Mexico
  5. Utah
  6. Washington
  7. Colorado
  8. Hawaii
  9. Maryland
  10. Nevada
  11. Vermont

How to Choose the Best Car Insurance Company?

There are a few things you should consider when purchasing auto insurance.

  • Type of Coverage: Consider the state’s minimum requirements.
  • Look for Discounts: Most insurance companies offer discounts.
  • Read Customer Reviews: A company’s customer reviews says a lot about it.
  • Request Personal Prices: Several insurers offer personalized quotes.

The Consequences of Driving Without Insurance

Worst case—there’s an accident, you’re at fault and now you have to pay out-of-pocket. You could get stopped by the police for any reason and may need to pay fines ranging from $50 to several thousand for driving without insurance. If you’re caught multiple times, your license and registration may be suspended or revoked.

There’s a lot to learn when it comes to insurance in the U.S. You don’t have to study everything in detail. Reaching out to an insurance agent can help you learn about it. There are plenty of agents who are ready to lend a hand. You can sign up on Agency Height itself to get in touch with a trusted insurance agent and start learning about insurance.

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