u.s. driving: does your canada auto insurance apply?

The road-trip basics are set: full gas tank, air in the tires, and a playlist of power ballads (we're guessing). But is your car insurance good to go? Here's how your policy works when visiting the U.S.

does my canada car insurance cover me in the u.s.?

Yes, as long as you're visiting and not staying permanently, your Canada auto insurance typically extends to your car when driving in the U.S.

Before driving to the U.S. from Canada, however, it's always wise to contact your insurer and confirm that you'll be covered. Your insurer may send you a temporary U.S. insurance card to bring with you.

If you're an Esurance customer planning on crossing into the U.S. from Canada, you can give us a call at 1-888-ESURANCE (1-888-378-7262) to discuss your trip.

What if I'm using a rental car?

If you're driving a rental car in the U.S., you'll be covered under your regular Canada car insurance. However, you might not have the full range of coverages you do on your regular policy. For instance, while you'll have basic liability coverage, options such as collision and comprehensive don't automatically apply.

If you're an Esurance customer, you can add extra liability coverage for your rental by selecting an endorsement known as "Legal Liability for Damage to Non-Owned Automobiles." That's the legal name (lovely, we know), but you can simply ask for the "Rental Vehicle Endorsement" or "#27" to make it easier.

On top of using your own coverage, you have 2 other basic options to add protection for a rental car, whether in the U.S. or at home:

  1. You can purchase coverage from the rental company. It's known as a "collision damage waiver" and will apply specifically to that rental for the time you're using it. The specifics of this coverage vary by rental car company and often come with exclusions (for example, no protection on unpaved roads). Check the fine print before you sign.
  2. Some credit card companies offer primary auto insurance that can help fill in any gaps. Most companies require you to charge the full amount of your rental to your credit card AND decline the rental company's waiver. Some cards only extend coverage to approved rental companies. Call the number on the back of your card to find out exactly what is and isn't covered.

What if I'm moving to the U.S.?

If you're setting up permanent residence stateside, you'll have to swap your old Canada car insurance for a brand-spanking new U.S. policy.

The good news is that we can help make the process as painless as possible. Brush up on expert tips for shopping for online coverage, or get your free quote to begin customizing a new U.S. policy with yours truly.

what to bring when crossing into the u.s. from canada

Collect the following items to prepare for your trip across the border into the U.S.

  • Identification — a passport always works, but you can also choose an enhanced driver's licence (a paid upgrade on your normal licence that lets you go between the U.S. and Canada) or an enhanced ID card, if these are offered in your province. If you're flying, however, you must have a passport.
  • Your regular driver's licence — whether you fly into the U.S. and rent a car or drive across the border, you'll want to drive legally, of course.
  • ID for your children — a birth certificate will often suffice for any kids 15 and younger; photo ID usually isn't required for them. If you're divorced and travelling with your child, it's wise to bring proof of custody forms. Non-parents travelling with kids should also have signed consent from parents or legal guardians.

if you have an accident driving in the u.s.

If you're an Esurance customer and have a mishap when driving in the U.S., you can handle it in much the same way as you would back home.

Give us a call at 1-888-ESURANCE (1-888-378-7262). Even from the other side of the continent, we're there to walk you through your accident recovery, from filing a claim to finding a repair shop. That's auto insurance that makes you feel right at home — even when you're far away.

You'll also want to notify the police. Be honest about what happened and get a copy of the police report.

If you're looking for great coverage in Canada (or for your voyage away from home), start your free quote with Esurance and tailor a policy directly online.