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Car Insurance When Driving in Canada

April 21st, 2022

For individual American drivers, the only requirement is that we checked with our insurance companies to find out if they are willing to cover us in Canada. Insurance companies do have the right to reject that sort of coverage, though they very rarely do. If you can’t find the information in your policy documents you can always contact your representative and ask directly.

Knowing Your Limits

The one thing to pay attention to if you’re driving in Canada is the fact that limits remain the same. For example, if you purchased cheap car insurance that provides liability coverage only, that’s all it will provide during your drive through Canada. If you should cause an accident that results in civil litigation against you, your policy will only pay up to its stated limits. Any other liability the court lays on you will have to be paid out of your own financial resources.

Likewise, how another driver’s insurance covers you in terms of liability issues will be governed by Canadian law, not U.S. law. If you’re at all concerned about this take the time to review and understand Canadian traffic law before you begin your travels. It may be appropriate for you to purchase a little bit of extra travel insurance if your circumstances warrant.

Length of Stay

When you do visit Canada make sure you understand their laws regarding your status as a visitor. According to Citizenship and Immigration Canada, you may travel in that country as an American tourist for up to six months without any problem. You must leave Canada before the expiration of those six months to avoid violating the law. If you remain after the six month point you are then in Canada illegally and your insurance policy is no good.

Under certain circumstances you might be able to file the necessary paperwork to extend your stay in Canada. But Canadian government suggests you make application at least 30 days out from the expiration of your six month visitor period. If you can file sooner, that’s all the better. If your stay is precipitated by anything other than tourism you should also contact your car insurance company to find out where they stand. They may not be willing to cover you under your current policy if the purpose of your stay is to study or work.

Extra Travel Coverage

Should you decide that extra coverage is needed you can find pretty cheap car insurance from a company that specializes in travel insurance. Check with your current insurance provider first to see what kind of deal they are offering, but then check with some specialty travel insurance companies as well. Sometimes they will give you a better rate and include things like roadside assistance, lost luggage protection, short-term medical, and so on.

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