Car Insurance in Canada
If you’re thinking of taking a trip up to Canada and you know you’ll be driving, international car insurance is probably on your mind.
It’s important to know the basics when it comes to car insurance for foreign drivers in Canada. Whether you’re driving your own car or renting a vehicle in Canada, there are several factors to consider.
Determining Your Coverage
Car insurance in Canada is mandatory, regardless of whether you’re driving your personal vehicle or renting one. So if you’re planning on driving in and around the country, make sure you obtain car insurance for driving in Canada, or expect to pay a large fine.
In most cases, you are covered by your existing U.S. car insurance coverage to drive in Canada.
However, it’s important to take a look at your individual policy to ensure your specific auto insurance company covers your car in Canada. Always confirm your coverage before you leave on your trip.
Once you’ve confirmed coverage, inform your provider of your travel plans. They’ll mail you proof of insurance for your trip. (See “Required Documents” below).
Renting a Car in Canada
If you choose to rent a car in Canada, your policy will likely cover you; however, your coverage may not be as robust. For example, you may be covered only for:
- Liability expenses.
- Medical costs.
For example, if you currently hold comprehensive and collision coverage, these coverages may not carry over to your rental car. Call your insurance company to determine the extent of your rental coverage while traveling in CA.
You also have the option to secure basic coverage on the vehicle from the rental company.
Credit Card Coverage
You may be able to obtain insurance from the credit card company you use to pay for your Canadian car rental. Call the number on the back of your credit card before traveling to see if they offer coverage, and what their coverage entails.
Proof of U.S. Citizenship
While abroad, you’ll need to have proof of citizenship and ID. This includes:
- U.S. passport.
- Passport card.
- NEXUS card.
Children younger than 16 years old only need to show proof of citizenship, such as a birth certificate.
Proof of Insurance
You may need a current insurance ID card when driving in Canada. In most cases, you’ll need to obtain a Canadian Insurance Card before leaving. Call your insurance company in advance of your trip to:
- Let them know of your intent to travel to and drive within Canada.
- Confirm your coverage.
- Request a Canadian Insurance Card.
You’ll generally need to leave about 5-7 business days for the company to mail the card, so it’s best to call a couple weeks before you leave. The Canadian government will not accept e-mailed or faxed cards.
Keep your current insurance ID card with you at all times while driving in CA.
You must have your current state driver’s license with you to prove your eligibility to drive.
Make sure to check the renewal date before you leave so you don’t end up with an expired license while traveling.
If you do need to renew your license, check out our Renewing Your License section to learn how.
When driving your vehicle across the border into Canada, make sure to have your vehicle registration with you.
This will help you prove you aren’t driving a stolen vehicle into the country.
In Case of an Accident
Whether it’s through your insurance company or through a major credit card, your car insurance will cover you in case of an accident.
Simply call your insurance company, go to the claims department on their website, or contact your credit card company and report the accident as you normally would.
NOTE: If you obtain coverage on a rental car through the rental company, make sure you understand the coverage in case of an accident.
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