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Does my car insurance work in Canada?

Yes, American car insurance policies typically cover you while you’re driving in Canada.

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By

Rachael BrennanRachael BrennanSenior Editor & Licensed Auto Insurance ExpertRachael Brennan is a senior editor and a licensed auto insurance expert at Policygenius. Her work has also been featured in MoneyGeek, Clearsurance, Adweek, Boston Globe, The Ladders, and AutoInsurance.com.

Edited by

Anna SwartzAnna SwartzSenior Managing Editor & Auto Insurance ExpertAnna Swartz is a senior managing editor and auto insurance expert at Policygenius, where she oversees our car insurance coverage. Previously, she was a senior staff writer at Mic.com, as well as an associate writer at The Dodo.

Published|2 min read

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If you are driving to Canada, whether in your own vehicle or a rental car, your car insurance policy will usually protect you with the same coverages and limits you have when you’re stateside.

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The same way a driver in Florida is covered by their car insurance even if they cross a state border into Georgia or Alabama, American drivers are still covered by their car insurance when traveling in Canada.

Key takeaways

  • Driving in Canada with an American car insurance policy (and vice versa) is legal.

  • 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.

Can I drive in Canada with U.S. insurance?

Driving in Canada with a U.S. license and a U.S. car insurance policy is perfectly legal. In fact, Canada and the United States have what’s called a reciprocal agreement allowing citizens from both countries to drive in either place without needing new car insurance or a different type of driver’s license.

Both countries agree to let people use their own driver’s license and car insurance to make traveling across the border easier. But this only applies to car insurance, so people traveling to another country need to research things like health insurance separately to make sure they are fully covered while traveling.

One note — you can drive to Canada with your U.S. license, but the same isn’t true of Mexico. If you’re driving across the southern border you’ll need to arrange special car insurance for the duration of your trip.

Do I need a passport to drive to Canada?

Yes, passports are almost always required for people driving across the border into Canada. Sometimes border patrol officers are allowed to accept other forms of ID, such as:

  • Free and Secure Trade (FAST) card: Commercial drivers carrying low-risk shipments that meet all requirements for the program can apply for a FAST card for expedited processing at the border.

  • NEXUS card: A NEXUS card allows pre-screened travelers expedited processing when entering the United States and Canada.

  • Enhanced Driver’s License (EDL): An EDL is a state-issued driver’s license that provides proof of identity and U.S. citizenship. Unlike a standard driver’s license, EDLs function as both a driver’s license and a proof of residency when entering Canada, Mexico, and the Caribbean.

Does my car insurance cover a rental car in Canada?

Some American car insurance companies cover rental cars in Canada and some don’t, so you’ll need to review the details of your policy to know if you need to purchase separate rental car insurance in Canada.

If you aren’t sure whether or not your policy will cover a Canadian rental car, you can reach out to your insurance agent, broker, or your car insurance company directly and they can tell you how your coverage applies. 

How long can I drive in Canada with U.S. insurance?

Laws vary by province, but U.S citizens driving in Canada are generally allowed to drive for up to six months with American car insurance. You should research local laws before traveling if you know you are going to be in one province for more than a few weeks or in Canada for longer than six months.

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Frequently asked questions

Do I need international insurance to drive into Canada?

No, drivers who have active car insurance in the United States do not need international insurance to drive in Canada. However, you can contact your car insurance company before your trip to get a non-resident inter-province insurance card if you want something more official than your U.S. proof of insurance.

Can I use my U.S. driver's license in Canada?

Yes, Americans visiting Canada for less than 90 days are allowed to use a valid U.S. driver’s license as long as they have proof of insurance.

What do I need to drive my car into Canada?

To drive your car into Canada, you’ll need a passport, a driver’s license, and proof of insurance, though border patrol may only ask for your passport in some instances. You may choose to show other forms of ID, such as an enhanced driver’s license, NEXUS card, Canadian citizenship card, or birth certificate in combination with your driver’s license.

Author

Rachael Brennan is a senior editor and a licensed auto insurance expert at Policygenius. Her work has also been featured in MoneyGeek, Clearsurance, Adweek, Boston Globe, The Ladders, and AutoInsurance.com.

Editor

Anna Swartz is a senior managing editor and auto insurance expert at Policygenius, where she oversees our car insurance coverage. Previously, she was a senior staff writer at Mic.com, as well as an associate writer at The Dodo.

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