Choosing Better Insurance Coverage

Few things are more important than having the right insurance coverage. About ten years ago, I was involved in a near-fatal crash where I experienced traumatic physical and emotional injuries. It was really challenging for me to endure the hospital stay and subsequent physical rehabilitation, but with the help of my medical team and my insurance company, I was able to overcome the challenge and completely recover. This blog is all about the importance of choosing the right insurance plan so that you can get on with your life and enjoy those precious years with your family and your friends.

A Guide to the Best Auto Insurance for a Foreign-Exchange Student in College in the U.S.


If you are aware that some or all of your college experience will be as a foreign-exchange student to the United States, and you hope to drive while you are visiting, it is important to be aware of the limitations that may apply to your situation. For instance, your existing driver's license by itself will not be enough to allow you to obtain car insurance when you are not in your home country, so you will need an international permit if you want to drive. In addition, it is a good idea to evaluate the different insurance companies as soon as possible, as many companies either do not provide coverage to international drivers or charge very high costs for doing so. Therefore, it will behoove you to consider the following information.

Understanding the Restrictions of Your Driving Privileges and Ability to Obtain Auto Insurance

As mentioned previously, your driver's license is not valid as anything more than a form of photo identification when you are not in the country where it was issued, unless it is accompanied by an international driving permit. That means that whether you are renting a vehicle or buying one soon after your arrival to the United States, you will not be able to legally take it for a test drive unless you first obtain an international driver's permit.  

Although you will often hear it referred to as an international​ driver's license, this term is incorrect, and the proper terminology involves referring to it as a permit. It is typically recommended that you have it before arriving in the U.S. With it, you can purchase, rent, or borrow a vehicle, and you will be able to purchase car insurance, although there may be restrictions that apply to those options. For instance, it should be pointed out that many car-rental companies forbid drivers that are under the age of 25 from renting their vehicles while others may charge higher fees for doing so. Since that information can impact your options, it is best to plan accordingly. 

Getting Car Insurance with an International Permit  

Once you have an international permit and a valid driver's license from home, you can legally drive insured vehicles in the United States. However, even if you have a perfect driving record in your home country and have driven without any tickets or accidents for years, many insurance companies in the United States will classify everyone with an international driver's permit as a new driver. That means that your insurance costs can be substantial. Some insurance companies even forbid providing car insurance to anyone with an international permit. Young drivers from outside the U.S. may find that they have additional challenges when choosing auto insurance. 

In conclusion, obtaining car insurance as a foreign-exchange student in the United States for a brief period of time is not always easy. Fortunately, the advice provided above will make it easier to begin driving legally in the United States soon after your arrival.  


31 January 2017