Car rental companies require a current, valid home country or US drivers license, your passport or photo identification, and a major credit card.  Students on F-1 visas are allowed to drive in California using their home country license for as long as it is valid.  You are required to be insured, and the car rental companies will offer you insurance; rates vary, and it pays to shop around for competitive prices.  Below are some car rental companies in the Santa Monica area – be sure to ask if they provide a SMC student discount: