Planning a visit to Canada? If you’ll drive while in the country, it’s prudent to give thought to car insurance. Chances are you’re already covered, or that car insurance is easily arranged.
Visitors from the United States
Annually, over 11 million American visitors come to Canada. Those who drive their own vehicles across the border have auto insurance coverage through their personal car insurance policies. This is the case in almost all cases. A quick check with your agent or broker confirms this. Purchase additional coverage at that time, if Canadian coverage is not part of your policy.
Canada and the U.S. are an informal common area for many automotive matters. Roadside assistance originating from either country usually protects you in the other. Car insurance works the same way. While you can request a certificate from your insurer stating U.S. coverage applies to Canada, your regular car insurance information slip usually suffices.
Visitors from Other Countries
The process of shipping a car from another country is complex and expensive, and it’s not practical for a short visit to Canada. As a result, car insurance arrangements for an overseas visitor are usually simple. In Canada, car insurance applies to the car itself, not the driver. Whether you borrow or rent a car, the owner’s insurance covers you to the extent required by provincial laws.
In Canada, car insurers provide clients with a small pink form with information on the car and policy owner. This form, or a copy of it, must be presented when requested by a police officer, along with the green vehicle ownership form. When driving another’s car, take note of where these documents are in the vehicle in case you need them. A driver can be charged for failing to produce these documents, even if the vehicle is not theirs.
Rental agencies sell a type of protection called a collision damage waiver. It’s not really a car insurance policy. The waiver simply exempts the renter from financial responsibility for damage occurring to the rental car while in the driver’s possession. Since this waiver is written by the rental company, it may have unique conditions. If you do choose to purchase this waiver, check the fine print to avoid unexpected surprises.
Collision damage waivers are expensive. In some cases, the waiver rate exceeds the daily rental rate. U.S. drivers may have car rental damage coverage as part of their personal insurance policy. If not, it’s usually easy and affordable to add, saving money at the car rental counter. Some credit card programs add car rental damage coverage when using the card to pay for the rental. There may also be conditions on which car rental agencies this coverage applies. Check with your insurance agent or credit card provider for the presence and availability of coverage.
For auto insurance coverage in Ontario, use Ratelab’s car insurance calculator to find the most affordable and appropriate insurance coverage for your car insurance needs. Enter your postal code above to start.