Buying a car might not make sense if you are only planning to be in the U.S. for a short time. If you would like a car but only for a limited period of time, you might want to lease or rent one.
When you need temporary access to a car
Leasing a car in the United States
If you are going to need a car for several months or even a year or more but do not want to buy one, you may choose to lease a car from a new car dealership.
The car dealership will require you to provide copies of:
- A letter from IU stating you are a full-time student or faculty/staff member
- Your I-20 or DS-2019 indicating your anticipated length of stay at IU
- Your valid U.S. driver’s license—or your foreign driver’s license showing your photo ID and your International Driver’s Permit (IDP)
You will also be required to buy full-coverage insurance on the car you intend to lease.
Renting a car
For short-term car rental, you have two options:
- Renting a car from a car rental agency
- Renting a car from IU’s Zipcar fleet (if you are a student or scholar at IU Bloomington)
Renting from a car rental agency
A car rental agency is a good option if you need a car for just a few days or weeks.
If you meet the following requirements, you will probably be able to rent a car:
- You are 25 years or old.
- You hold a valid U.S. driver’s license or a foreign driver’s license with an IDP.
You can rent a car from IU’s Zipcar fleet for short periods of time—as little as one hour.
The Zipcars are located in reserved spaces throughout campus. IU faculty, staff, and students who are at least 18 years old can rent the cars by becoming a member of the service (a Zipster) for a fee.
Once you are a member, you can make a reservation for a car online or by telephone and pay either a daily or an hourly rate. The cost includes gas, insurance, 180 miles of travel, and roadside assistance.
The cars are available for rent 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Sharing rides with other people
IU encourages sharing rides—it is environmentally friendly and alleviates parking congestion.
If you are interested in sharing a ride with other people at IU, consider the Zimride program.
You can find all the details on IU’s Zimride program on the Office of Parking Operations website.