Chelsey Tucker graduated with a Bachelor of History degree from Metropolitan State University in 2019. She now writes about insurance with her specialty being life insurance and has been quoted on Help Smart Phone and MEL Magazine.

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Dan Walker graduated with a BS in Administrative Management in 2005 and has been working in his family’s insurance agency, FCI Agency, for 15 years. He is licensed as an agent to write property and casualty insurance, including home, auto, umbrella, and dwelling fire insurance. He’s also been featured on sites like

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Reviewed by Daniel Walker
Licensed Auto Insurance Agent Daniel Walker

UPDATED: Apr 26, 2022

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You get car insurance for international students after obtaining an international driver’s license. International students can get auto insurance from almost any insurance company while they are studying in the United States. Hosting families may need to add them to policies if they drive family cars on a regular basis. You can speak to an insurance agent about your unique situation to make sure you understand your options.

In order to get approved, a foreign exchange student will need to meet certain requirements, such as an international driver’s license. Generally, state laws do not allow them to obtain an American driver’s license. They may drive their own car if their parents buy them one. This would move the burden of insurance to their family or the student themselves. You may want to be sure they will only be driving their own car before you forget about adding them to your insurance coverage.

The biggest challenge that international students face when trying to get car insurance for a foreign exchange student is in finding the lowest rates since they will most likely not have a driving record in the United States. Some insurance companies also charge an additional premium to international drivers due to certain financial risks.

Whether you are looking for foreign exchange auto insurance rates or regular auto insurance rates you have come to the right place.

What are the challenges of insurance for foreign exchange students?

Foreign exchange students are students who live in another country but come to the United States to continue their education. An American citizen who studies abroad is also a foreign exchange student. Usually, a foreign exchange student is a high school student or a student seeking higher education. They have to go through a formal immigration process and secure a visa. They are also responsible for making sure they follow the terms of their visa which can dictate school requirements, work ability, and much more.

By studying in another country, a student becomes immersed with their studies, learning the language and culture first hand.
One of the challenges a foreign exchange student will meet is in understanding different legal requirements. Language is a challenge in itself, and legalese in any language is difficult even for native speakers.

While the requirement for liability coverage may seem straightforward for American drivers who grew up or have parents who understand a little about the system, international students often don’t have this advantage.

Auto insurance is a legal requirement in the United States, so if a foreign exchange student wants to drive while he is here in the states, he will need to go through the process of obtaining at least liability insurance.

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International Driver’s License and Auto Insurance for Foreign Exchange Students

An auto insurance policy is usually easily obtainable for any licensed driver, but a foreign exchange student will need to provide additional documentation. Most foreign exchange students do not have a United States driver’s license, so they will need to get an international driver’s license.

You can purchase an international driver’s license for different lengths of time, so if you are a foreign exchange student planning to study abroad for three years, you should apply for at least a three-year license. The cost for a three-year license is around $45 and only $55 for a five-year license. So, for the extra $10, you may want to consider getting a five-year license in case you decide to extend your stay.

The minimum term for an international license is one year, but you can also get an international driver’s license that is valid for up to ten years. The costs for the license range from approximately $35 to $75 depending on the term selected.

In order to get an international driver’s license, you must already have a regular valid driver’s license for where you live. The international driver’s license allows you to drive legally in other regions without having to apply for a driver’s license in another country. Almost every country listed with the United Nations recognizes the international driver’s license, but you will also need your regular driver’s license as legal evidence so keep both licenses with you at all times.

Although the international driver’s license gives you credibility to drive in the states, to drive legally you still need to purchase liability insurance that meets the state’s requirements for where you are temporarily residing. In order to get auto insurance in the United States, simply bring your international driver’s license with you when you go to apply for car insurance for international students.

Keeping Auto Insurance Rates Low for Foreign Exchange Students

An international driver’s license is the only extra document a foreign exchange student needs to apply for auto insurance. However, because the foreign exchange student will not have the United States driving record, insurance rates will most likely be higher regardless of their driving experience in their home country. Once a foreign exchange student has a US driving history of three years, he can get his rates reduced or be able to purchase better coverage.

In order to get lower auto insurance rates right away, it is a good idea to shop around for an insurance company that will review your foreign driving record and will give you credit accordingly.

If you have a good driving record in your home country and the insurance company is willing to use that as part of your rate review on your application, then you may be able to get better rates or better coverage without having to wait. Otherwise, you will have to buy whatever coverage is offered to you at the rate that is available and then reapply for a new rate after you have an established driving record in the United States in order to get the cheapest car insurance rates.

Anytime you need international student car insurance, it is a good idea to shop around for rates and take advantage of any insurance discounts, such as safe driver or student discounts, that may apply to you. Whether you are a foreign driver in the United States as an exchange student or a student studying in your home country, by requesting quotes from different insurance companies you can make an educated decision on which company is offering you the best coverage for the best rate.