If you are like the majority of students attending the University, you may want to have your own car. There is no question that having a car would be extremely convenient and would permit you to take trips that otherwise would be impossible.
Although a new car will most likely give you fewer problems than a used one, it will also prove to be far more expensive. If you buy a new car and sell it 12 months later, you can expect to face a rather substantial loss. Since the major loss in value takes place in the first year of new car ownership, we do not recommend that international students who will be in the United States a relatively short time buy a new car.
While there is always some risk in buying a used car, its value decreases far less than that of a new car over the same period. However, if you are fortunate to find a good one, you will have dependable transportation.
Review the latest auto issues of Consumer Reports (usually published in April). You will find the magazine in the periodical section of the library. In this issue you will find a section on "Good Bets in Used Cars" which not only includes a list of better used car buys (listed by price range and size), but also a list of models to avoid.
Begin to look for a car in the price range you can afford. You have two options: first, to buy directly from an individual owner (ads are found daily in the newspaper; you can also find car ads for your zip code at online E-Auto retailers), or, second, to buy from an established automobile dealer.
Although you may save money buying directly from an owner, we would suggest that you consider purchasing your car from a reputable dealer who will give you a full guarantee on the car. Thus, if anything goes wrong, the dealer will repair it potentially at a minimal cost to you.
Another option you should consider is renting a car for the specific period you plan to travel. While this will not allow you to have a car available at all times, it will provide you with transportation when you need it and may cost far less in the long run. Cars may be rented by the day, week, or month from companies that are listed in the yellow telephone pages under "Automobile Rental and Leasing."
In order to rent a car as a foreign visitor you will:
Prices vary considerably depending on the dealer, the size of the car, and whether the car is new or used. Don't forget that the cost of gas (after the first tankful is used up) is your responsibility. Also, there may be an additional charge for mileage.
If you have a US driver’s license, it is very convenient to book a rental car by phone or online by going to the company’s website. You will have to choose a pick-up location. Most companies have offices around the city and at the airport as well.
Rates for airport pick-up tend to be lower. Some companies will offer a free service to pick you up from your location (Enterprise, for example), but, generally, this offer does not extend to offices located at the airport.
Syracuse University offers a 24/7 access to Zipcars parked right on campus to students, faculties and staffs. Membership is $35/year plus you get $35 in free driving to use during your first month. Simply reserve online, let yourself in with your Zipcard and drive.
Hourly and daily rates always include gas and insurance.
For more information on how you can rent a Zipcar, hourly/daily reservation rates, please visit:http://www.zipcar.com/su/
To find cars around syracuse campus, please visit:
One final option open to you is to lease a car for one or two years, provided that you have an international driver's license. However, we do not recommend this method. Any savings through leasing will be offset by higher insurance rates insisted upon by the leaser.
In this arrangement, available through many car dealers and leasing companies in Syracuse, you lease the car for an extended period of time and pay a monthly fee that covers the car and its licensing.
When you lease a new car, you generally receive a new car guarantee covering major parts and labor. Accident (liability) insurance is not usually included in this fee, but you may also purchase the insurance the same way you would if you owned the car yourself. Since you are not a permanent resident of the United States, you may be asked to pay all or part of the total year's fee in advance.
The cost of leasing will vary depending on the dealer, the size of the car, your credit rating, and whether the car is new or used. Most leases will run for a minimum period of two years. The cost will run from $130 to $250 and up per month (not including accident insurance or a security deposit).
Assumes the Puchase of a Used Car for Cash (Not with a Lien)
When you purchase a vehicle, make sure to obtain a proof of ownership.
If you purchase a car from an automobile dealer, they have to provide you with a proof of ownership. Most NYS automobile dealers send the application for your state vehicle registration and title certificate to the DMV (they may charge a fee for this service).
If you purchase a used car from an individual, the proof of ownership is the TITLE certificate that the previous owner has to sign in order to transfer the ownership.
Every motor vehicle registered in New York State (NYS) must have at least liability insurance. This type of insurance is used for accident-related payments to someone other than yourself. Auto insurance can be costly.
If you are a male and under 25 years of age, your insurance will cost more than for other age/sex categories. If you are a “new” driver (holding your license for less than 3 years), you must pay a 20% surcharge on your base insurance rate. While contacting a particular insurance company, inquire if it is authorized to do business in New York State.
In order to purchase an auto insurance policy, insurance companies require that you present the following:
Requirements for US/ international driver’s license and Social Security Number vary from company to company. In general, car insurance companies require you to present a valid American driver’s license and a SS number. It is better to obtain a US driver’s license for the purpose of saving on your auto insurance rates (known as “premiums”).
A Social Security number is required by credit-based companies in order to verify the information you provide on your auto insurance policy application.
In order to register your car with NYS, you need to visit the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) where a representative will examine your application and documents.
The address of the office is: 620 Erie Boulevard West (6 blocks west of Salina street).
Things to bring to the DMV office:
DMV office will accept both a driver’s license issued by NYS and/or a foreign passport with a US visa and a valid form I-94 attached. See the list of documents required on page 4.
If you have purchased a car from a dealer, he will have already collected the state tax from you. The Form MV-50 will serve as a proof to the DMV that the tax has already been collected.
Registration fee varies by the weight of the car
This information is provided as an example of what some auto insurance companies require. This is in no way a recommendation for the company. You should call several companies to compare rates to see which one suits you best.
1. REQUIRED Insurance Coverage
2. OPTIONAL Insurance Coverage
IMPORTANT NOTICE: In New York State, your liability insurance coverage must remain in effect while the registration is valid, even if the vehicle is not used (except motorcycles).
Your registration will be suspended if you have a lapse of insurance.
It can occur, for example, between the date of canceling your current insurance and the effective date of the new insurance if you change companies. If the lapse in the insurance coverage exceeds 90 days, your driver’s license will also be suspended.
For more information on insurance-related regulations, visit the Insurance section of the NYS DMV website
IMPORTANT REMINDE-RS FOR DRIVING IN NEW YORK STATE (provided by SUNY at Buffalo)
To obtain additional information you should go to the Department of Motor Vehicles.
It is located at 620 Erie Blvd. West (6 blocks from Salina Street), or call 1-800-CALL-DMV (1-800-225-5368). They are open 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. Or you can visit the New York State DMV website.