As an international student in the US, am I required to get a car insurance policy?

UPDATED: Jun 24, 2013

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UPDATED: Jun 24, 2013Fact Checked

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Asked June 24, 2013

1 Answer


In the United States, the law requires all vehicles on public roadways to be registered and insured. The amount and types of insurance vary from one state to another, but all states require certain minimum coverage, typically liability insurance to pay for injuries or damages you may cause to someone else. To buy car insurance, you will need to have a driver license and your vehicle registration. If the registration is not in your name, the insurance policy must belong to the legal owner.

An international driver license will work for most purposes, and insurance companies can accept them. If you do not have an international driver license, you will need to provide the specified types of identification and get a driver license in the state where you live. Neither a visa nor a passport are sufficient identification for driving or purchasing insurance in the United States.

When you go to the Department of Motor Vehicles of the state you are living in, you will need to have a minimum of 2 forms of identification, and at least one document envelope that was mailed to you at the present street address. This confirms who you are and where you are currently living. Your passport will work as one form of positive ID, but you will still have to provide at least one more. Each state maintains a list of acceptable forms of identification, available from any DMV office or online in most states.

One way to avoid purchasing insurance is if you are driving a rental car. Most rental car companies can or even automatically do add insurance into the rental cost. This means that you are covered for the duration of driving the car, do not have to concern yourself with what the local laws of insurance require, and can get on with the business of driving. Insurance purchased through a rental agency is more expensive than from an insurance company, but it typically covers all aspects of the car, both in mechanical condition and against accidents or theft.

Answered June 24, 2013 by Anonymous

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