Exchange Students – Automobile Coverage

Check with your exchange student program coordinator to see what kinds of coverage are automatically provided for the child. But don’t take anyone’s word, get copies of documents that prove the coverage situation. This article briefly discusses how a personal auto policy responds to exchange students. Please be sure to read its companion article, "Exchange Students – Homeowners Coverage."

First, make sure that the exchange student is permitted to drive under the rules of the exchange student program. If program rules allow driving, contact your motor vehicle department to make sure that your student has a valid driver’s license.

The typical auto policy, such as the Personal Auto Policy, extends its coverage to any person having your permission to drive a covered vehicle. Your liability coverage will protect the exchange student against damage he or she causes to other property and people. Coverage to damage done to your vehicle is also available when you have the appropriate collision and comprehensive coverages. Of course the coverage is subject to your policy’s insurance limits, deductibles and other provisions.

Medical payments coverage will apply to the exchange student who is injured in an accident while occupying or driving your car with your permission.

If you expressly forbid the exchange student to drive your vehicle and the student does anyway, you may not have insurance coverage, but you may still be found liable under a court of law - perhaps for improper supervision of a minor. Permission to use the vehicle in some policy forms must come from the person named on the auto policy.

Discourage any exchange student who is a minor from purchasing a car, truck, motorcycle, RV, boat, moped, scooter or any other vehicle. An exchange student’s status makes it very difficult to get proper coverage and causing an accident as a vehicle owner could create complex legal problems. If faced with an exchange student who owns a vehicle, it is important to get any available assistance from the exchange student program, including their legal counsel. You should seek your own qualified legal help to make sure that your interests are protected. The safest course would be to avoid an exchange student situation that includes an owned vehicle.

Please check with a qualified automobile insurance agent after reading this and before your exchange student arrives. Virtually every state has its own special state-mandated endorsement that will expand or limit the coverage we describe here. Companies may use different forms that provide coverage that is quite different than the Personal Automobile Policy Form.