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Travelling in the United States? What you need to know about your Canadian car insurance

Whether you’re a frequent traveller to the U.S. or want to finally cross that southern road trip off your bucket list, always check in with your car insurance broker to avoid any surprises.

If you’re legally operating a motor vehicle here in Canada, then you already have insurance… and while your insurance is valid when you cross the border into the United States, it will still be insured in most cases. The real question becomes whether or not you’re adequately protected for your individual circumstances.

No matter how long you plan to stay, your licensed insurance broker can make sure you have the proper coverage before you hit the road.

Here are some things to keep in mind before you drive your vehicle to the U.S.:

  • Do you have enough liability coverage? Third-party liability coverage is designed to protect you if you’re held legally liable for injuries or damage to someone else’s property in a collision. The southern states are known to be very litigious, and the rewards in lawsuits are often much higher than they would be here in Canada. If you’re responsible for injuries or damage to someone else’s vehicle in the U.S., you’ll need enough liability coverage to cover the costs of a lawsuit. So, if you only carry the bare minimum, or close to the bare minimum, you may want to consider upping the liability limit on your car insurance policy before you travel.
  • Consider the added protection of a Family Protection Endorsement. Despite the fact U.S. lawsuits can result in outrageous awards by the courts, mandatory liability limits are significantly lower in the U.S. than they are in Canada. That means American drivers aren’t required to have as much coverage for liability claims as we are here in Canada. The Family Protection Endorsement is a car insurance add-on designed to protect you and your family if you’re injured in a collision and the at-fault driver doesn’t have insurance (or doesn’t have enough insurance). This coverage may already be included in your policy, but it’s best to double-check before heading over the border.
  • If you’re on a genuine Road Trip, don’t plan on taking detour to Mexico when you’re in the deep south. Generally speaking, Canadian insurance companies won’t offer any protection if you drive your vehicle to Mexico. If you’re planning a trip to Mexico while you’re staying in the States, consider renting a vehicle from an American company that will allow you to travel into Mexico – but it’s best to leave your own vehicle behind.
  • Double-check your rental car coverage. Not every car insurance policy includes rental car coverage. If you need to rent a car for any reason while in the U.S., prepare ahead of time and make sure your policy includes coverage. Plus, find out how you could save on vehicle rentals.
  • If you move to the U.S. and don’t plan on coming back to Canada, you’ll probably need a new car insurance policy. Most Canadian insurance companies will only insure Canadian residents. Talk to your broker if you’re planning on moving your permanent residence to America.
  • Depending on your insurer, your premium may be slightly higher if you’re spending a lot of time in the States each year. Contact your broker to find out how frequent travel to the U.S. and extended stays could affect your premium.

Your broker needs to know about any change in circumstances that could affect your eligibility for coverage or the type of coverage you need, so they can make sure you’re always protected. If you’re planning on staying in the U.S. for an extended period of time (all winter, for example), it’s especially important that you connect with your broker ahead of time.


Source: Economical Insurance


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