Buying a Car Insurance in the US



If you buy/own a car in the US, you are required by law to have insurance for your car. A car insurance can cost you anywhere from $450 upwards per year.

In this section, we address the various issues regarding Car Insurance for international students.

Car Insurance basics

Purchasing a Car Insurance

Types of Car Insurance

Factors that determine the cost of a Car Insurance

Related Links
  Basic Info
  Buying a New Car
  Buying a Used Car
  Seal the Deal

  
Driver License
  Car Insurance

  Rent a Car




FAQ's

What documents or information I need to provide to purchase a car insurance?

Can I get any benefits or discounts for being a student?

How do I pay for the car insurance?

What are the meanings/definitions of the various terms used in a car insurance plan?

 

Car Insurance basics

If you buy/own a car in the US, you are required by law to have insurance for your car. If you drive without a car insurance and you are involved in an auto accident or stopped by a police officer and found to be driving without car insurance or without proof of financial responsibility, you will be subject to penalties specific to the laws of that state. For violation of the financial responsibility law, penalties could include a fine or loss of driving privileges. If you are uninsured and involved in an accident that involves property damage or injuries to people, you will be required to pay out of your pocket for any damages assessed by a court.

As an international student, it is very important for you to have suitable car insurance. As stated above, there are heavy penalties for driving without insurance. In certain cases, you might be deported to your home country or even sent to prison.

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Purchasing a Car Insurance

The best way to buy a car insurance is to call the number of companies that provide car insurance. When you call them, the agents will ask you for your personal as well as your car's information. They will then provide you with quotes i.e., how much the car insurance will cost you.

The quote for your car insurance depends on various factor's such as the car's model, age, value, your driving history, your age and gender, your location, anti-theft devices in the car, the use of car (business use has higher quote than personal use), and the insurance coverage that you choose.

Many companies provide quick and easy quotes on their website, so you get an idea of how much your car insurance will cost you. However, it is always better to call the company’s representative directly. That way you can provide more information to the representative, and you will get the exact quote.

In deciding on the insurance provider, don’t just consider the price, but look at the company’s reputation as well. Are they dependable? Can they respond quickly in the event of an accident? Is it easy to contact the representative? Consult your friends or families regarding their experience with car insurance.

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Types of Car Insurance

Following are the major type of car insurances:

    • Collision Insurance: A basic component of auto insurance, collision insurance pays for any damages to your car from an accident, either you hitting something or an accident that involves another car.

    • Comprehensive Coverage: While collision insurance only covers damage from accidents, comprehensive coverage pays for damage caused by fire, vandalism, theft, and other events.

    • Liability Insurance: Required by law in most states, liability insurance pays for other peoples' medical expenses and property damage if you are responsible for an accident.

Factors that determine the cost of a Car Insurance

Following are some of the typical factors that determine the cost of a Car Insurance:

Driver related factors

    • Your Age (The insurance willl be cheaper if you are above 25 years of age as you will be considered as a mature and safe driver)

    • Your marital status (The insurance willl be cheaper if you are married as you will be considered as a mature and safe driver)

    • Your Driving History (The insurance willl be cheaper if you have a safe driving record, ie., if you have not been involved in any accidents or have no traffic violations, or speeding tickets, etc)

    • Your location (The insurance willl be cheaper if you plan to drive in smaller cities or towns as compared to bigger cities. for example, car insurance in Cleveland will be cheaper as compared to the one in New York)

    • Student factors (Some insurance companies will give you Smart Student discounts if you have a good GPA and / or if you are associated with professional associations such as Beta Gamma Sigma, etc)

    • Expected use of the car (If you plan to use the car for business purposes, then you will get a higher quote than a car used for personal purposes)

    • Miles driven in a week (If you expect to drive a lot in any given week, then you will get a higher quote for the insurance)

Car related factors

    • Car's model and make (Models and make that have good historical records in the company's database will command cheaper car insurance)

    • Car's age (The younger the car, the cheaper the insurance. For example, a 5 year old car will command cheaper quote as compared to a 10 year old car)

    • Devices in the car (If your car had devices such as anti-theft lock or Anti lock Braking System (ABC), etc., which help in protecting the car, then you will get a cheaper insurance quote)

    Other factors

    • Car Insurance Company (The cost of the insurance depends on the Car Insurance Company as quotes will change from company to company. So, please check the quotes with difference insurance companies)

    • Features in your plan (The quote depends on features that you select such as deductible, towing coverage, etc. Please check out meanings/definitions section for more information)

    • Type of Car Insurance plan (A Liabilty car insurance plan will be cheaper as compared to a Comprehensive car insurance plan. Please check our type of car insurances section for detailed information.)

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FAQ's

What documents or information I need to provide to purchase a car insurance?

You will have to provide the following documents or information to purchase a car insurance:

    • Driving License (You will have to provide the Driver License number on your Driving License)

    • VIN number of your car (You will have to provide the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) of your car. You can find this number on the Title or Registration papers of your car)

    • Number on the plates of your car (if applicable)

    • Current class schedule (In order to prove that you are a student, you will have to provide a print out of the schedule of your current semester) if applicable

    • Grades in the latest semester (In order to prove that you are a good student, you will have to provide a print out of your grades showing your current GPA ) if you want to apply for good student discount

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Can I get any benefits or discounts for being a student?

Being a student, many car insurance companies will give you ‘Good Student Discount’ i.e., if you have better grades (GPA above 3.5) and/or if you are affiliated to some professional organizations such as the Alpha Beta Gamma, etc. When you are talking with an agent don’t forget to ask him whether the company provides some Student discount or not.

However, on the flip side, if you are buying insurance for the first time, chances are that you will receive a higher quote because you do not have any driving history. As time goes by, depeding on your driving history, your insurance will get cheaper.

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How do I pay for the car insurance?

As international students, you probably won't have enough cash. Most insurance companies provide the option of paying the insurance in monthly installments. You can also pay at one go for one yearor every six months.

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What are the meanings/definitions of the various terms used in a car insurance plan?

Below are some terms that are used in a car insurance plan:

    • Deductible: The amount of money you pay on car damages, liability, or other expenses before auto insurance companies cover the remaining expenses.

    • Collision Insurance: A basic component of auto insurance, collision insurance pays for any damages to your car from an accident, either you hitting something or an accident that involves another car.

    • Comprehensive Coverage: While collision insurance only covers damage from accidents, comprehensive coverage pays for damage caused by fire, vandalism, theft, and other events.

    • Liability Insurance: Required by law in most states, liability insurance pays for other peoples' medical expenses and property damage if you are responsible for an accident.

    • Personal Injury Protection: Often required by state law, personal injury protection covers your medical expenses and those of your passengers no matter who is responsible for the accident.

    • Gap Coverage: If you're still paying for your car, gap coverage pays the remaining payments if the car is totaled.

    • Uninsured Motorist Coverage: Covers accident costs if the driver responsible for a crash is uninsured.

    • Towing and Labor Coverage: Pays for the cost of car towing.

    • Rental Coverage: Pays for the cost of rental cars if your car is damaged.
     

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