Does my U.S. car insurance cover me in Canada? (2024)

How does U.S. car insurance work in Canada?

Do you need car insurance to drive in Canada? Absolutely, but fortunately, your U.S. car insurance will cover you.

Because of reciprocal laws between the two countries, Canada honors your U.S. insurance, and vice versa, in the event of an accident or claim and to meet insurance requirements.

“Most standard personal auto policies automatically include Canada in the ‘policy territory,’ and so there is not much the policyholder needs to change in order to have their insurance coverage apply in Canada,” says Dana Kerr, associate professor of risk management and insurance at the University of Southern Maine.

The policy territory describes the areas where coverage is available.

“For liability coverage, in particular, standard auto policies have language called ‘out of state coverage’ that commits the insurance company to automatically adjust coverage and policy limits to be consistent with the insurance laws in states (and provinces) where an accident occurs when it is different from the state of primary residence,” he says.

Is car insurance in Canada the same as in the U.S.?

As in the United States, Canadian drivers are required to have a driver’s license and auto insurance. Canada requires liability insurance, which pays for damage to another person’s property, injuries and medical expenses.

Some Canadian provinces also require drivers to have accident benefits, which pay for the driver’s own medical costs or loss of income from an accident. This varies from province to province, just as requirements in the U.S. vary from state to state.

Other types of coverage such as comprehensive are generally optional, as they are in the States. This coverage is for damage to your own vehicle from things like falling tree branches, vandalism and other non-accident-related damage.

Canadian insurance covers similar things, but how insurance is handled differs. For instance, this applies in Manitoba, which has a fully public insurance system, while some provinces, like Quebec, have a hybrid system. Other provinces have a private system much like the American one. In a province with a public insurance system, the insurer handles all claims.

Is my state minimum coverage enough to drive in Canada?

Yes, but before any road trip, it’s always a good idea to check with your insurance company to confirm what type of coverage you have. If you only have the bare minimum, now might be a great time to look into beefing up your policy. This holds true for domestic travel as well.

“Generally, my opinion is that state-mandated liability insurance coverage amounts fall well short of what a potential legal judgment might require someone to pay as the result of an auto accident,” Kerr says.

Consider increasing your limits before you travel.

“It's a start, but just having the minimum amount of insurance coverage still leaves the insured driver exposed to paying significant legal damages out of pocket. An auto accident does not have to be that severe for the compensatory damages to exceed state-required minimum amounts of auto insurance coverage,” he says.

An umbrella insurance policy is another option for increased liability.

“Insured drivers consider buying personal umbrella liability insurance that extends their coverage limits to financially protect themselves in those situations. And that recommendation holds regardless of whether someone is traveling to Canada or not,” Kerr says.

Do I have to show proof of insurance in Canada?

If you are pulled over in Canada, you must show proof of insurance.

You should bring your driver’s license and passport with you, the vehicle’s valid registration along with proof of your car insurance.

“The card issued by their insurance company in the U.S. should be adequate,” Kerr says, ”but a good backup is to pack a copy of the actual auto policy itself (or at least the declarations page of that policy).”

What happens if I have an accident in Canada?

If you are involved in a car accident while driving in Canada, contact your insurance company to report the accident within 24-48 hours. Don’t wait any longer.

Your insurance company will assign a claims adjuster to investigate the accident and walk you through all the paperwork. In case of damage to the vehicle or an injury, the adjuster will conduct interviews with all parties involved and help determine what happened and who was at fault.

Adjusters collect police and accident reports, pictures, and medical records and visit the accident scene whenever possible.

The FSRA - Financial Services Regulatory Authority of Ontario, which regulates the property and property casualty insurance industry and other financial sectors, has some helpful guidelines in case of an accident in their province:

  • Stop your vehicle and pull over if it’s safe to do so
  • Call police and emergency services if anyone was injured or suspected to be injured
  • Exchange your driver’s license and insurance information with the other person involved
  • Contact the police if the damage seems to exceed $2,000 or if you’re unsure
  • Take pictures of the scene and any damage -- this will helpful in the claims process
  • In the province of Ontario, you must visit a Collision Reporting Centre within 24 hours to report the accident
  • Don’t leave the scene of the accident, as this can incur criminal charges in certain parts of the country

It’s a good idea to know the procedures for the province you plan to visit.

Will my rates go up if I have an accident in Canada?

Your rates can go up if you are considered at fault – sometimes even partially at fault, even if the accident happened in Canada.

During your claims adjuster’s investigation, the cause of the accident and who is at fault will be determined. This will be a key factor in whether or not your rates will go up.

If the accident is determined to be the other driver’s fault, your rates will probably not go up. Your policy may also have an “accident forgiveness” provision, so be sure to ask.

Do I need to buy insurance for a rental car in Canada?

Your personal auto insurance coverage usually extends to a car that was rented in the States and is honored while used in Canada. Be sure to ask the rental company representative if you can drive the vehicle across the border.

Be aware that there may be additional charges for renting an RV or a vehicle other than a car or SUV.

The rental car agency can most likely provide you with a “proof of insurance” in case you are pulled over.

If you rent the car in Canada, you can purchase additional insurance at the rental agency known as a collision damage waiver (CDW) and other additional insurance. Your credit card may include some coverage for a rental car, so be sure to check. However, the auto insurance you already have provides basic coverage for a rental car.

Other things to know when traveling to Canada

  • You need a passport to cross the border and a valid driver’s license to drive a car in Canada.
  • If you stay for an extended period of time, you will need to look into obtaining a visitor’s visa or a Canadian insurance policy, as your U.S. policy will become invalid.
  • As with any trip, it might be a good idea to look into travel insurance.
  • You can purchase travel insurance at a rental car agency or through a travel agent.
  • Canadian drivers can be licensed at 16. The age for renting a car in Canada is 21.

Being prepared is one of the best ways to have a safe and fun trip. Just make sure you have all of the necessary documents with you when you travel to ensure you’re in compliance with Canadian laws.


Does my U.S. car insurance cover me in Canada? (2024)


Does my U.S. car insurance cover me in Canada? ›

An American car insurance policy works the same way in Canada as it does in the U.S. Your comprehensive car insurance coverage and auto collision coverage

collision coverage
Comprehensive covers damage to your vehicle from unexpected non-collision incidents like theft, animal damage, falling trees, and weather damage. Collision covers damage to your vehicle that's the result of a collision with another vehicle or object. › answers › comprehensive-vs-c...
, for example, still apply to damage to your vehicle if you're in an accident while driving in Canada.

Will my US car insurance work in Canada? ›

Read on to find out everything you need to know to make sure you're covered when you drive to Canada. Canada and the U.S. have reciprocal laws for auto insurance, which means a U.S. insurance policy will cover you in Canada.

How long can I drive in Canada with US insurance? ›

You'll need proof of insurance, a valid driver's license, and a passport (or an approved alternate proof of citizenship) to drive across the border. U.S citizens driving in Canada are generally allowed to drive for up to six months with American car insurance.

What car insurance do I need to drive in Canada? ›

It's also worth confirming that all your coverage transfers to Canada: liability, collision, and comprehensive (if you have it). If your visit to Canada will extend beyond 90 days — or if you're moving to Canada — you should purchase a Canadian car insurance policy.

Do you need proof of car insurance to go to Canada? ›

Canadian law requires U.S. citizens driving into Canada to provide proper proof of motor vehicle insurance. The good news is that both your IMT Insurance Policy includes Canada as part of your coverage territory.

Does AAA cover me in Canada? ›

Bring Your AAA Card. Did you know your American Automobile Association (AAA) membership is honored in Canada? Through reciprocal arrangements with the Canadian Automobile Association (CAA), AAA members can use benefits like roadside assistance and while in Canada.

Can I use my US registered car in Canada? ›

Any vehicle imported into Canada must be able to comply with our nation's strict safety standards. During the import process, the vehicle must pass a Registrar of Imported Vehicles (RIV) inspection.

Does my State Farm auto insurance cover me in Canada? ›

While your U.S. coverage may be sufficient for driving in Canada, the U.S. State Department cautions that it might fall short. The State Department says you usually can buy additional coverage in the U.S. or Canada.

Do I need international car insurance to drive in Canada? ›

Car insurance for visitors to Canada

Your U.S. policy automatically covers you in Canada, whether you're driving a rental car or your own car. Your policy covers you for as long as you're driving there, and there's no need to notify your insurance company. Learn more about driving in Canada.

How long can I use my US driver's license in Canada? ›

If you wish to drive for more than 90 days while visiting, you will require an IDP from your own country. If you are a temporary resident, such as a foreign student or foreign worker, you might be considered a resident and need to get an Ontario driver's licence.

Can I drive in Canada with Geico? ›

If you are thinking of driving your car to Canada, rest assured that your GEICO insurance will still cover you. While we do not offer insurance to residents of Canada, GEICO's coverage in the United States does extend north of the border.

What happens if you drive a car without insurance in Canada? ›

Police will likely charge you with driving without car insurance. You could face a hefty fine, license suspension, vehicle impoundment and even jail time, depending on your province. Once you buy car insurance, you will probably pay much higher rates for coverage.

Do you need insurance to drive in Toronto? ›

In Ontario, all motorists are legally required to have auto insurance.

What can I not bring into Canada? ›

Restricted/prohibited goods

Firearms and weapons: You must declare all weapons and firearms at the CBSA port of entry when you enter Canada. Food, plants, animals and related products: All food, plants, animals, and related products must be declared. Food can carry disease, such as E. coli.

What insurance do I need to enter Canada? ›

Visitors traveling to Canada and to any country outside of their home country should have visitors health insurance. Most domestic policies will only cover you in your home country and have little to no coverage once you are traveling abroad. To learn more, visit Visitors Insurance and you can request a quote.

Do I need insurance when travelling to Canada? ›

You don't have to have travel insurance when visiting Canada, unless you are applying for a super visa. But health care is expensive in Canada if you don't have coverage.

Does my U.S. insurance cover me in Canada? ›

An American car insurance policy works the same way in Canada as it does in the U.S. Your comprehensive car insurance coverage and auto collision coverage, for example, still apply to damage to your vehicle if you're in an accident while driving in Canada.

Does my US car insurance cover me in another country? ›

Most U.S. auto insurers won't cover you while driving abroad, except for driving in Canada and driving in Mexico. Unless you have a credit card offering rental car insurance, you'll probably need to purchase your insurance from the rental company. Learn more about international car insurance and rental car insurance.

Do I need travel insurance from U.S. to Canada? ›

While it is not mandatory for visitors, there are several reasons trip insurance is highly recommended for Canadian travel. Canada's healthcare system gets quite a bit of media attention because it is often regarded as a model for socialized medicine.

Can I use my USA insurance in another country? ›

U.S. Medicare and Medicaid do not cover medical costs overseas. Private U.S. insurance policies also might not cover any or all expenses. Check with your insurance before traveling to see if it provides coverage overseas. More information is also available on the CDC insurance page.

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