Cheapest Car Insurance for International Students (2024)

Mile Auto, Safeco, and Kemper offer some of the cheapest car insurance for international students.

Taylor Milam-Samuel
Taylor Milam-Samuel
  • 8+ years writing for major outlets, including MarketWatch and Business Insider

  • Master’s in Education

Taylor Mlam-Samuel is a personal finance writer and credentialed educator. When she’s not helping readers better save and spend money, she can be found teaching.

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Evelyn Pimplaskar
Evelyn PimplaskarEditor-in-Chief, Director of Content
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  • 30+ years in media, PR, and content creation

Evelyn leads Insurify’s content team. She’s passionate about creating empowering content to help people transform their financial lives and make sound insurance-buying decisions.

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Updated April 1, 2024

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Driving while uninsured has serious consequences, so coverage is necessary, even for international students and other temporary drivers. Depending on your home country and current state, you can access car insurance with one of three licenses: a driver’s license from your home country, an international driver’s permit, or a U.S. driver’s license.

Here’s how to compare car insurance rates, set up coverage, and find the best deal.

Quick Facts
  • You’ll need a driver’s license from your home country, a state-issued license, or an international driver’s permit (IDP) to get car insurance in the U.S.

  • If you don’t have a driving history in the U.S., insurers may consider you “newly insured” — and charge you higher rates.

  • If you lease or finance a vehicle in the U.S., the leasing company or lender will require you to buy full-coverage car insurance.

Car insurance options for international students

To set up coverage, you may need a driver’s license from your home country, a regular state license if you’re living in the country permanently, or an international driver’s permit (IDP). You should apply for an IDP before coming to the country because the U.S. doesn’t issue IDPs to foreign visitors. Contact your country’s motor vehicle department to get an IDP.[1]

Your age, driving record, location, and other factors affect the cost of insurance. Your insurer might consider you “newly insured” if you don’t have a history of driving in the U.S., which could increase the cost of your coverage.

Most car insurance companies cover international drivers, including students studying abroad. But some companies might have more experience working with international students and could be a better fit. Several long-standing insurance companies, including Progressive, State Farm, and Dairyland, work with international drivers.

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Cheapest car insurance for international students

Whether you’re a student from another country or the U.S., you’ll generally pay much more for car insurance than drivers in other age groups. Mile Auto provides the lowest rate for students, with average monthly rates of $145 for liability and $220 for full coverage.

Liability coverage meets the legal requirements for car insurance and pays for damages to other vehicles and bodily injury to people. But liability insurance doesn’t cover your injuries or damage to your car when you cause the accident. For more financial protection, you need full-coverage insurance.

Most car insurance companies charge much more for full coverage, but having enough coverage in an emergency can be worth the cost.

Here’s the average cost of liability and full coverage for all students purchasing coverage in the U.S. The data below is not specific to international students, but it should provide a general idea of what to expect.

Insurance CompanyLiability OnlyFull CoverageIQ Score
The Insurify Quality (IQ) Score uses more than 15 criteria to objectively rate insurance companies on a one-to-five scale. The Insurify editorial team researches insurer data to determine the final scores.
Mile Auto$145$2203.4
Safeco$175N/A3.7
Kemper$204N/A2.8
National General$205$4593.2
Elephant$238$3273.5
Progressive$264N/A4.0
Mercury$269$3433.6
Clearcover$273N/A3.1
Dairyland$283$585N/A
Direct Auto$353$4373.2
Liberty Mutual$368$4803.8
The General$382$5393.4
AssuranceAmerica$385N/A2.2
Bristol West$396$6492.2
CSAA$449N/A3.5
Disclaimer: Table data sourced from real-time quotes from Insurify's 50-plus partner insurance providers and quote estimates from Quadrant Information Services. Actual quotes may vary based on the policy buyer's unique driver profile.
  • Our editorial team spent 350 hours developing the Insurify Quality (IQ) Score and scoring insurance companies. The IQ Score objectively analyzes and calculates a score for insurers using more than 15 crucial criteria. Criteria are weighted by importance to the consumer — factors such as customer reviews and affordability influence the score more than availability and third-party ratings.

    We rate each company on a 1 to 5 scale based on five categories: financial ratings, customer satisfaction, affordability, customer support and transparency, and availability. We update ratings once a year or as more recent information becomes available.

    • Third-party financial ratings: We use data from AM Best, S&P, Moody's, and more to compare insurance companies’ credit and ability to pay out future claims.
    • Customer satisfaction: To calculate this score, Insurify analyzed more than 20,000 customer reviews across 155 car insurance companies. We also considered third-party ratings from J.D. Power, the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, and Trustpilot.
    • Affordability: Our data scientists analyzed more than 90 million real-time auto insurance rates from our partners across the United States, as well as available discounts, to calculate an affordability score.
    • Customer support and transparency: This measures coverage options, ease of claims filing, and the insurer's transparency surrounding discounts, coverages, and claims process.
    • Availability and reach: Insurify identified the number of states in which insurers offer coverage and company size by market share to score availability and reach.

How to get car insurance as an international student

If you’re ready to shop for insurance as an international student, you can start the process before coming to the U.S. Whether you’re already at school or starting to research options, here’s what you need to do.

  1. Confirm license details. The first and most crucial step is establishing which license type you plan to use — your country’s driving license, an IDP, a regular state driver’s license, or a noncitizen U.S. license. Using the license from your home country is usually easiest, especially if you plan to live in the U.S. for less than a year. But you can also opt for an international driving permit instead.

  2. Research companies. Next, compile a list of possible insurance companies. Only some insurers offer coverage for international drivers, so figuring out which companies do is essential.

  3. Select a coverage type. You must also determine the type of coverage you need and want. Most insurance companies can help ensure you have the necessary coverage for your state. But you might need additional coverage if you’re financing or leasing a car.

  4. Compare quotes. Once you know what you need, it’s time to compare quotes from at least three insurers to determine the best offer for your insurance and financial needs.

  5. Ask about discounts. The final step is to ask your insurance company about discounts. Even though many insurers mention applicable discounts without prompting, you should always check with them.

Types of car insurance for international students

Each state has different coverage requirements, but you usually need bodily injury and property damage liability coverages for when the other party sustains damages or injuries. You might opt for a full-coverage policy — which includes collision and comprehensive coverage — to protect your property in the event of an accident or to meet lender requirements.

You have many options for coverage, and it’s essential to understand the differences. As you shop for insurance, consider your state and lender requirements, if applicable, as well as the type of coverage that will make you feel most comfortable as a driver.

  • illustration card https://a.storyblok.com/f/162273/x/169fdfde11/liability-coverage.svg

    Liability coverage

    Liability insurance protects you if you cause damages to property or injuries to other people.

  • illustration card https://a.storyblok.com/f/162273/x/e30eeeebc5/personal-injury-protection.svg

    Personal injury protection (PIP) coverage

    PIP insurance provides coverage for your medical expenses, regardless of fault.

  • illustration card https://a.storyblok.com/f/162273/x/5285c4cd74/uninsured-or-underinsured-motorist-coverage.svg

    Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage

    If another driver causes an accident but doesn’t have insurance, uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage pays for your repairs and medical expenses.

  • illustration card https://a.storyblok.com/f/162273/x/db598219e3/damage-from-aircraft.svg

    Collision coverage

    Regardless of fault, collision insurance protects you if your car collides with an object, vehicle, or building.

  • illustration card https://a.storyblok.com/f/162273/x/665da91bf7/comprehensive-coverage.svg

    Comprehensive coverage

    Comprehensive insurance protects you against damages from other sources, like theft, vandalism, falling branches, or or hail.[2]

How to save money on car insurance

You can usually save extra money with discounts, high deductibles, and good credit. Here are some ways to save money on car insurance as an international student:

  • Consider a higher deductible. Your deductible is the amount you must pay in the event of a claim. Comprehensive and collision coverages have deductibles. Liability doesn’t. Deductibles can range from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand. In general, a higher deductible equals a lower premium. So if you need to save money on car insurance, you can opt for a higher deductible if you can afford to.

  • Establish or maintain good credit. In most states, car insurance companies consider your credit history to determine your rate. People with good to excellent credit pay lower rates. As an international student, you may not currently have a credit score in the U.S., but you should consider it if you plan to access credit or loans.

  • Practice safe driving habits. You may not yet have a driving record in the U.S., but you’ll start to create one as soon as you begin driving here. Car insurance companies generally reward a clean driving record with lower car insurance rates.

  • Seek discounts. Most car insurance companies offer discounts that can help lower your premium. As a student, you might qualify for a good student discount if you achieve specific grades. It’s always wise to ask about potential discounts as you shop for quotes.

  • Save by bundling. Insurance companies often offer discounts when you buy more than one type of policy from them — a practice called “bundling. ” For example, you might need renters insurance if you plan to rent an apartment on or off campus. You could save if you get your renters and auto policies from the same insurer.

What factors affect car insurance rates?

Various factors affect car insurance rates, including age, driving record, location, type of car, and credit score. Insurance companies use this information to determine how likely a customer is to file a claim — something that costs the company money.[3] Even though you can’t change some of the factors companies use to determine your rate, you have ways to secure the best deal.

Age

Age is one of the most significant factors influencing car insurance rates for college students, including international students. If you’re younger than 25, you can expect to pay more than older drivers with a similar profile. Teenage drivers pay the most expensive rates.[4]

If you’re a young driver in your first year or two of college, you might pay significantly more for coverage because of limited driving experience and an increased likelihood of accidents. On average, full-coverage car insurance costs young drivers about $369 per month, and liability coverage averages around $180 per month, according to Insurify data.

You can still find a good deal if you’re younger than 25, but you might need to shop around for the best price. Luckily, you can usually expect your rate to decrease each year. If you graduate college at 21, you could be paying $135 less each month than you were when you started school at 18.

AgeLiability OnlyFull Coverage
18$166$330
19$157$311
20$151$299
21$139$275
22$132$262
23$127$251
24$123$243
25$116$230
Disclaimer: Table data sourced from real-time quotes from Insurify's 50-plus partner insurance providers and quote estimates from Quadrant Information Services. Actual quotes may vary based on the policy buyer's unique driver profile.

Driving record

Your driving record affects your car insurance rate. You can usually expect your rate to decrease over time if you have a clean record without accidents or other violations. But the reverse is true, too — your rate can increase if you have a speeding ticket, moving violation, or car accident. The same is true if you get a DUI or other high-risk offense. Your premium will likely increase, and you may even lose coverage.[5]

The following table illustrates how different moving violations can affect full-coverage car insurance premiums for young drivers.

The below rates are estimated rates current as of: Monday, April 1 at 12:00 PM PDT
Insurance CompanyClean RecordSpeeding TicketAt-Fault AccidentDUI
COUNTRY Financial52626980
Hugo64907983
NJM89141144127
Auto-Owners104127131161
Root116176184165
USAA117133144181
Erie119165170150
Mile Auto127186201217
GEICO137156169212
State Farm140155167217
Safeco149205221231
Clearcover149200258231
Metromile150222231207
Allstate158180195246
CSAA159200220246
Progressive166207221257
American Family168199210260
Mercury192294310313
Elephant199232251308
National General205238264318
Nationwide212248266329
Liberty Mutual214287307332
Travelers222264281344
Direct Auto239293315370
Shelter252353372339
AssuranceAmerica257340350399
Dairyland258318332399
Farmers279321343433
The Hartford279453472423
Chubb295349369457
The General297367392461
GAINSCO300325355465
21st Century319399421494
Bristol West329392404510
Commonwealth Casualty367394459454
Amica395601621553
Infinity408511465633
Disclaimer: Table data sourced from real-time quotes from Insurify's 50-plus partner insurance providers and quote estimates from Quadrant Information Services. Actual quotes may vary based on the policy buyer's unique driver profile.

You likely don’t have a driving record in the United States as an international student. But that doesn’t mean you can’t build a clean driving record over time. As you shop around, you should check whether insurance companies will consider your driving history at home.

“If [you] can prove at least several years of driving experience in [your] home country, it helps,” says Zach Lazzari, an international auto insurance expert and the owner of Cross Border Coverage. “Asking directly about discounts is always a good idea as well.”

Type of car

The car you drive can also influence your rate. The characteristics of your vehicle — the age, size, cost, and other information about the car — can lead to price increases or decreases in your premium.

In general, newer and more expensive cars cost more to insure since they cost more to replace. But at the same time, the additional safety features in new vehicles might help lower the costs. It all depends on the vehicle factors your insurer considers. If you plan to buy a car to use during your studies, consider the type you pick.

“Vehicle type and age and intended use are all factors [to] consider. A moderate-value, reliable vehicle that is made for general use and commuting is always a good idea for reasonable policy costs,” says Lazzari.

Learn More: Car Insurance for International Drivers

Learn More: Car Insurance for International Drivers

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Location

Your location — including state, city, and ZIP code — plays a role in your car insurance costs. Each state has different requirements for minimum car insurance coverage. If you live in a state with more required coverage, you’ll likely pay higher rates.

Your rate may also depend on population and traffic density and how many accidents occur in the area each year. Weather and crime rates can also affect how much you pay. You can’t do much to change this factor, but you should prepare for how it may affect costs.

International student car insurance FAQs

It can be challenging to figure out insurance in a foreign country. But you can get car insurance coverage as an international student. Here’s what you need to know.

  • Can international students get car insurance in the U.S.?

    International students can get car insurance in the U.S. if they have a valid driver’s license, usually a license from home, an international driver’s permit (IDP), or a U.S. driver’s license.

  • What insurance companies insure international drivers?

    Most insurance companies insure international drivers, including some of the largest insurers in the country, like Progressive and State Farm. You need the proper driver’s license to get coverage.

  • Do international students pay more for car insurance?

    As an international student, you probably don’t have a driving history in the U.S. Because of that, your insurer might consider you “newly insured” and charge you increased rates. Rates depend on the insurance company and factors like your age, location, and car type.

  • Can international students own a car?

    Yes. International students can own a car. You can buy a used car directly from the previous owner or purchase a new vehicle from a dealership.

Methodology

Insurify data scientists analyzed more than 90 million quotes served to car insurance applicants in Insurify’s proprietary database to calculate the premium averages displayed on this page. These premiums are real quotes that come directly from Insurify’s 50+ partner insurance companies in all 50 states and Washington, D.C. Quote averages represent the median price for a quote across the given coverage level, driver subset, and geographic area.

Unless otherwise specified, quoted rates reflect the average cost for drivers between 20 and 70 years old with a clean driving record and average or better credit (a credit score of 600 or higher).

Liability-only premium averages correspond to policies with the following coverage limits:

  • Bodily injury limits between state-minimum rates and $50,000 per person, $100,000 per accident
  • Property damage limits between $10,000 and $50,000
  • No additional coverage
Full-coverage premium averages correspond to the same bodily injury and property damage limits in addition to:
  • Comprehensive coverage with a $1,000 deductible
  • Collision coverage with a $1,000 deductible

Quotes for Allstate, Farmers, GEICO, State Farm, and USAA are estimates based on Quadrant Information Services’ database of auto insurance rates.

Sources

  1. USA.gov. "Driving in the U.S. if you are not a citizen."
  2. Insurance Information Institute. "Auto insurance basics—understanding your coverage."
  3. Insurance Information Institute. "What determines the price of an auto insurance policy?."
  4. Insurance Information Institute. "Auto insurance for teen drivers."
  5. Insurance Information Institute. "Do auto insurance premiums go up after a claim?."
Taylor Milam-Samuel
Taylor Milam-Samuel

Taylor Milam-Samuel is a writer and credentialed educator who is fascinated by how people earn, save, and spend their money. When she's not researching financial terms and conditions, she can be found in the classroom teaching.

Evelyn Pimplaskar
Edited byEvelyn PimplaskarEditor-in-Chief, Director of Content
Evelyn Pimplaskar
Evelyn PimplaskarEditor-in-Chief, Director of Content
  • 10+ years in insurance and personal finance content

  • 30+ years in media, PR, and content creation

Evelyn leads Insurify’s content team. She’s passionate about creating empowering content to help people transform their financial lives and make sound insurance-buying decisions.

Featured in

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