If I Drive to Canada, Will My Insurance Cover Me?

Last Updated on April 2, 2020

With its beautiful scenery and sophisticated cities, Canada makes for a great travel destination. If you live in the northern part of the United States, it’s easy to drive over the border and enjoy everything the Great White North has to offer. However, you may be wondering if your car insurance will cover you should you get into any accidents while you are in Canada. Here’s what you need to know before you drive north of the border.

drive to canada car insurance

All US-Based Carriers Cover Travel to Canada

Don’t worry – your car insurance will still cover you if you travel to Canada. All US car insurance carriers are required to cover you in Canada as well as in the US and its territories. However, you will need to obtain a Canada specific insurance card from your provider. Insurance companies provide these cards for free – you’ll just need to call and request one. If you get pulled over by Canadian police for any reason, they’ll need this card to be able to process your insurance. Make sure you call your insurance company far enough in advance of your trip that they have time to send it in the mail.

Be Prepared With Proper Documents

Your Canadian car insurance card isn’t the only document you’ll need to travel to Canada. Most importantly, you’ll need your passport as proof of identification and eligibility to travel into Canada. The US sells passports for global international travel, but if you’re on a budget, you can also purchase a passport exclusively for travel within North America at a lower rate. You will also need your vehicle registration information in order to cross the border. Double-check to make sure you have all of these documents before leaving, otherwise, you may get stuck at the border without being able to cross.

Moving to Canada

If you plan on moving to Canada permanently, your US car insurance policy isn’t going to be enough. You’ll need to purchase a Canada-specific policy to ensure you’re covered in the long term. Just as in the US, Canada has legal requirements for the minimum amount of car insurance you’re required to have. In most parts of Canada, you’ll need at least $200,000 in liability coverage, although this number is slightly lower or slightly higher in some cases. One major difference between American and Canadian insurance is that some Canadian provinces give you the option to buy your insurance through a government agency. These provinces are Saskatchewan, British Columbia, and Quebec. However, you’ll always have the option to purchase through a private insurance company if that’s what you prefer. It’s worth checking both options to see which will give you a better quote.

Shopping for Canadian Car Insurance

When purchasing car insurance in Canada, you’ll want to look for the same things you would look for when shopping for insurance in the United States. It’s always best to get quotes from several different insurance companies to see which one will give you the best rate. Like American auto insurance companies, Canadian insurance companies will offer discounts to their customers as well, so you can save money for things like having a good driving record, being a good student, or paying your bills online.

Keep in mind that you may not be eligible for as many discounts if you’ve just moved to Canada, as you won’t be established there. For example, you likely won’t qualify for a homeowner discount in Canada even if you own a home in the US. You also would need to study for at least a semester in Canada before you could qualify for a student discount. Good discounts to look for are ones you can take advantage of right away. For example, you can get discounts for paying your bills online or paying your full insurance premium in a lump sum instead of in monthly installments. You can also get discounts for having certain safety features in your car, like anti-lock brakes, or even for taking a Canadian defensive driving class.

If you’re looking to save money on car insurance in Canada, look for cities that have reliable public transit service. Most large and mid-size Canadian cities have good public transit systems, with Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver being the most notable. Edmonton and Calgary are both working on expanding their public transit systems as well. If you can use public transit for some of your commute and errands, you may be able to get a good rate with a mileage-based insurance policy. These policies charge you based on how often you drive. You can also save money on insurance by getting a used car or a car that’s a few seasons out of date. If you’re not going to be driving too frequently, then you won’t need the most recent car on the market, and that can save you a significant amount of money over time. Canadian insurance companies may decide that your car is a target for vandalism or theft if it is particularly valuable, and you may incur higher premiums because of it.

Final Word on Being Insured in Canada

Driving into Canada is fairly easy when you have American car insurance. It’s very important to make sure you have all your documents in place before you go, so you won’t encounter any unpleasant surprises at the border. Your American insurance will give you the protection and flexibility you need to enjoy everything Canada has to offer.

James Shaffer
James Shaffer James Shaffer is a writer for InsurancePanda.com and a well-seasoned auto insurance industry veteran. He has a deep knowledge of insurance rules and regulations and is passionate about helping drivers save money on auto insurance. He is responsible for researching and writing about anything auto insurance-related. He holds a bachelor's degree from Bentley University and his work has been quoted by NBC News, CNN, and The Washington Post.
Back to Top