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Car Insurance Requirements for US Residents in Canada?

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Connecticut
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166 posts
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Car Insurance Requirements for US Residents in Canada?

My wife and I are driving our personal vehicle to Niagara Falls on Wednesday. We have an insurance policy for the car and it didn't even cross my mind that we'd need anything special traveling to Canada....especially given that our cards say in bold capital letters "COVERAGE VALID EVERYWHERE IN US AND CANADA". But a friend of my wife's just got done telling her that we need to get a special insurance card for proof of insurance in Canada and that our standard US insurance cards wouldn't be acceptable in event of an accident. Since I can't get in touch with our agent until the morning, I just hopped online to try to do some research and all I got was confused as to what the requirements are. Can anyone clarify what the policy is and what penalties we'd possibly face since its unlikely we'd be able to obtain a hard copy of any additional required paperwork in time?

Ancaster, Canada
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1. Re: Car Insurance Requirements for US Residents in Canada?

No i have never heard anything like that before regarding car insurance. I am sure you will be fine especially that is says on your card that u are covered in Canada.

detroit
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2. Re: Car Insurance Requirements for US Residents in Canada?

Thats for rental cars I do believe, there is extra paper work that the rental company needs to add to the rental contract papers....that is it, I've crossed many times and got sent to secondary least once a year, if there was any requirement like that I surely would have heard about it by now

Vancouver, Canada
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3. Re: Car Insurance Requirements for US Residents in Canada?

If your car insurance was purchased from a company in Connecticut, then that is where you need to check. Whatever the T&Cs of your policy are will be what you will have to live by. And what your insurance company will expect you to live by. Do you have the policy book outlining the T&Cs handy? Everybody will have different insurance coverage and it is of no use for one person to be saying - we don't have coverage or we do have coverage. Yours will have the coverage for whatever you bought. The card you have referred to is very reassuring.

detroit
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4. Re: Car Insurance Requirements for US Residents in Canada?

Yes that is all very true but some basic type of insurance coverage is required. I live in a border state and crossing the border is common, I believe its impossible to buy insurance without including Canada coverage...just like you can't buy insurance for only you inside the car, everybody in the car is covered, like it or not, even if you never have nobody else inside your car.

The OP might be getting confused with Mexico, down there it is different, one does need extra insurance I believe, I'm not sure if that is true for the states that border Mexico but I do recall hearing horror stories of having a minor accident while in Mexico and getting your car towed away by the police just over lack of extra insurance coverage

Edited: 28 July 2014, 05:36
Connecticut
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5. Re: Car Insurance Requirements for US Residents in Canada?

Thanks for the feedback guys! Our friend was most definitely talking about Canada...and if you do a google search for "driving in Canada with US insurance" or something similar you will find some links that talk about the need for a Canadian insurance card in place of an insurers regular insurance card. In fact, this is a direct quote from esurance:

"Canadian Insurance Card: Like an intracontinental hall pass, this document assures Canadian authorities that you're an insured tourist with adequate coverage. Your insurer may issue one of these for travel to Canada. Carry it with you, along with your usual proof of insurance, whenever you're driving."

An article on USAtoday.com said something similar. And DMV.org says you should contact your insurer at least 2 weeks before your trip as it may take 5-7 says to receive the document and a copy of it would not be accepted by Canadian authorities.

So...seems like such a thing exists...but perhaps it is not applicable for all insurance. Given that ours is pretty clear we're covered in Canada and we leave Wednesday morning...I'm not going to sweat it at this point. I'll take the risk that we avoid accident in the 2 miles we'll drive from the border crossing to the hotel and back.

But here are the links I mentioned anyway in case anyone cares enough to check them out...may be helpful to some...

esurance.com/international-car-insurance/ame…

…usatoday.com/papers-need-canada-61457.html

dmv.org/insurance/canadian-car-insurance.php

San Jose, California
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6. Re: Car Insurance Requirements for US Residents in Canada?

Did you drive through. Any checks or questions crossing over as even I am planning to drive to Canada from USA. I have the Canadian insurance cards for my car.

Penticton, Canada
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7. Re: Car Insurance Requirements for US Residents in Canada?

i have never been asked for car insurance at the Canada/US border. last trip across was last week.

but there are other questions like fruit and vegetable; firearms and where and how long you plan to stay. and on coming back did you buy anything.

Toronto, Canada
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8. Re: Car Insurance Requirements for US Residents in Canada?

Border officers have a lot more important things to do than check for automobile insurance (which is a provincial matter and therefore pretty far outside their usual jurisdiction).

The most by-the-book, cautious approach would be to ask your insurer to issue you a "Canada Non-Resident Inter-Provincial / Motor Vehicle Liability Card", aka the "yellow card" (ccir-ccrra.org/en/pau/Canadian_Non-Resident_…). This isn't required in all provinces, but it's hard to figure out where it is and isn't required.

Ontario law does require you to carry an insurance card in your car -- the "yellow card" would definitely fit that bill. What I don't know is whether a standard US insurance card for a policy with Canadian coverage would be accepted just as readily, if you were to be asked for proof of insurance by police.

Cleveland, Ohio
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9. Re: Car Insurance Requirements for US Residents in Canada?

hmm, this never even crossed my mind and we go to Canada every year in the fall. We have Progressive in Ohio, I guess I should check.

Mississauga, Canada
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10. Re: Car Insurance Requirements for US Residents in Canada?

mattinTO is absolutely correct-border officers have no time for this, nor is it in their jurisdiction. Otherwise, regular law enforcement will also be satisfied 99.999% of the time with any Proof of Insurance. If there is any doubt law enforcement is also known to call your insurance company's toll free number...I'm not trying to steer anyone wrong but having been in the business, I have never heard of it being an issue.