Question from Aditya about Drivers License and State ID Card.
Please enlighten us about the need of State ID.
Is it Helpful if we get a Driver License soon? Does it help in lowering the insurance premium for the car?
I am not gonna buy a car now(but in maybe 2 years).
I’m not sure, if you have read my first used car buying experience.
Drivers License in USA
Rules to get Drivers License varies between states. Refer to your DMV website for more information about driver’s license.
But the overall process will look like this :
- Pass written test (computer based)
- Pass road test
Refer to DMV booklet for required Identification Documents (Passport, Home Address Proof, etc).
Why Drivers License
You MUST have some photo identification card with you all the times.
I can think of 5 forms of photo identification that can be used
- Drivers License
- State ID
- Bank ATM Card with your photo (not used for age verification)
- College student ID
Lets say you want to buy Beer or cigarettes in grocery store, you can’t buy them without showing photo Id with age proof.
Likewise, several places require you to show photo id before making any purchase (when you pay using your credit card).
State ID or Drivers License
For students in F1 Visa, it’s not safe to carry passport with you all the times.
College ID will come in handy at some times, provided your age is listed in there.
Getting drivers license might not be feasible for everyone in fist couple of semesters. In such instance, get State Identification Card, instead of DL.
- State ID – Identification card that looks like Drivers License. You cannot driver using state id.
When to get Drivers License
Try to get your driver’s license in USA ASAP.
Before coming to USA, please learn to car driving.
You will face several practical problems, while trying to learn to drive car in USA.
It’s not impossible, but your will have few issues like
- Trying to find someone who would teach you to drive (using their car)
- Risk of having an accident while learning from other students car
- Cost of renting car in your name and finding a brave soul to sit with you in passenger seat.
- Cost of attending driving class (professional driving class)
From my experience, students think about driver’s license only when they feel the need to drive.
But, remember, if you are in USA then YOU HAVE to DRIVE a car one day. So, try to find a way to get DL.
Auto Insurance Savings
Even if you plan to drive only after 2 years, having drivers license will build your driving history.
For insurance company, they see when your DL was issued, not if you were driving/not driving the car.
Two years of driving history without any tickets and accidents will get you cheap car insurance rates.
Life in USA is complex till you get settled.
Several things are interrelated, like the following
- Driving License
- Car Insurance ( Ultimate Car Buying Guide )
- Accidents and Tickets
If you get a ticket or have a car accident at your fault, your car insurance rates will go up for 3 to 5 years.
If you don’t have driving history, then car insurance will be high (new driver = not safe, accident prone)
So, try to get your driver’s license ASAP.
I came to USA in Spring (Jan) and had my car and drivers license by End of April. I got my car even before getting drivers license.