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February 16
Fast and easy good response
Fast and easy good response
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February 16
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February 15
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Website is easy to use the representatives were so helpful, wasn't on hold long ...
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February 15
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February 14
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February 13
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February 10
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February 10
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February 9
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February 9
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January 31
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January 31
Representative was extremely helpful…
Representative was extremely helpful and was able to assist in all our needs.
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January 19
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process was easy and professional
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November 1
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The young man was very courteous and professional. We didn't qualify due to low...
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Quick and friendly response.
Quick and friendly response.
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October 13
prompt respond
prompt respond, knowledgable
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September 27
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The agent (Jan) was most professional
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Car insurance for international drivers in Canada: what you need to know.

If you’re looking for car insurance for foreigners in Canada, there are some things you need to know before making your travel plans. You might even be wondering, “Can I even get car insurance with an international license?” The answer is yes. Car insurance rates for foreign drivers may be a little more pricey than rates for non-residents, but there are some ways to save. Finding the best car insurance for foreigners takes some sleuthing, but our guide has you covered with everything you need to know to get cheap car insurance for international drivers and the best rates on car insurance for international drivers.

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Male, 33 years old
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Auto insurance quotes are compared from CAA, Coachman Insurance Company, Economical Insurance, Gore Mutual, Onlia Insurance, Pafco, Pembridge, SGI, Travelers, Zenith Insurance Company


Your questions about car insurance for international insurance, answered.

What does car insurance cover in Canada?

No matter where you live in Canada you need to buy third-party liability insurance. The minimum benefit you need to purchase in most parts of Canada is $200,000. Outliers are Quebec ($50,000) and Nova Scotia ($500,000).

Here are driving mistakes that can land you in the high-risk category:

  • Impaired driving. If you have an impaired driving conviction on your record (including cannabis use as of October 2018), it can be very difficult to get regular auto insurance. Companies may turn you down for insurance.
  • Accident benefits are also mandatory in Canada, with exception of Newfoundland and Labrador. It provides financial support for medical expenses if you are injured in a car accident. It can also be put towards funeral expenses should you be killed in an accident.

Standard car insurance policies in Canada also include uninsured motorist coverage. This covers costs related to your injury or death after an accident caused by another driver who is either uninsured or unidentified. Compensation for damage to your vehicle is only provided if the uninsured driver is identified.

Here’s a list of non-mandatory coverages you can add to your policy:

  • Comprehensive insurance: covers damages resulting from incidents other than car accidents or collisions. Comprehensive coverage includes protection from hazards like extreme weather, vandalism, falling objects, fire, theft, and flooding
  • Collision insurance: covers damage to your car in the event of a vehicle rollover or a collision with another vehicle or object. If your car is totalled, collision insurance will pay the cost of replacing it.

What kind of car insurance to do international visitors to Canada need?

The first scenario where an international visitor to Canada would need insurance while driving are those who are planning on a short-term stay. Since you only need auto insurance with your foreign driver license for a short period of time, you’re safe getting it through your car rental source.

Rental car insurance offers the following coverage:

  • Third-party liability coverage (if you injure or kill someone else in an accident)
  • Accident benefits (covers medical expenses that arise from an accident)
  • Personal effects coverage (if belongings stored in the car are stolen)
  • Collision damage waiver/loss damage waiver (with this optional coverage, if you damage the vehicle you rented, the rental company is responsible for paying the cost of damage.)

If you're travelling to Canada from the U.S. and have a personal auto insurance policy already, your coverage will follow you across the border. This isn’t the case if you’re travelling from Mexico. Visitors from countries other than the U.S. should check with a Canadian broker to see if their existing coverage will extend to Canada.

The next scenario in which someone would want temporary international auto insurance is when they’re visiting Canada for business or family reasons and planning a longer stay (up to 6 months, for example). You can still get insurance through your car rental company, or you might also consider being added to your host’s (a friend or family member) policy as an occasional driver if you’re planning on using their car.

Those looking to stay for a year or more may be better off with a more traditional insurance arrangement. Foreigners can get car insurance for these longer periods of time as a way to save on costs.

Finally, for those moving to Canada and seeking residency, you’ll definitely want to get an estimate for car insurance for international drivers immediately as you’re likely to get the best rates this way. You’ll also need to ensure your license is in order within a certain period of time (it varies from province to province and territory).

What kind of car insurance do I need if I’m vacationing in Canada?

If you’re driving in Canada with a foreign license, you’ll need insurance for your vehicle. For most drivers, their rental car insurance should be enough to meet their needs. That said, drivers from the United States have some different coverage. Most large insurance companies extend their U.S. coverage into Canada, although your agent may recommend getting higher limits on coverage such as liability in order for you to meet the higher minimums required in Canada. If you’re planning an extended stay in Canada, you might want to compare rental car insurance rates to getting your own private policy to see how rates compare.

What kind of car insurance do I need if I’m planning a longer stay in Canada?

If you’re planning a longer stay in Canada, you have a few different options when it comes to car insurance for your international drivers license.

Your first option is to rent out a car on a monthly basis, in which case you could purchase insurance through the rental company. This is usually charged as a daily rate and can add up quickly, so you may want to compare numbers between getting your insurance through the rental agency versus a regular insurance company. It could end up being less expensive to set up a short-term policy with a traditional insurance company rather than paying the daily use rate through the rental company.

Additionally, you might also be able to be added to a family member or friend’s insurance policy if you’re going to be driving their vehicle while you’re visiting. This secondary driver coverage is often less expensive than setting up your own auto insurance as a primary driver, and can be a smart way to cut down on your insurance costs during your stay.

If your stay is in the one-year range, you might opt to lease a vehicle for a year. In this case you’ll definitely need insurance through a third party. Working with an insurance broker or using a rate comparison website such as will help ensure you get the best deal possible.

Keep in mind that your international drivers license in Canada is only valid for a certain length of time (about three months), otherwise you’ll need to apply for an International Driver’s Permit (IDP) from your own country, or get a license in the province or territory you’re visiting.

Finally, you might wish to drive your own car from back home, and have it shipped to Canada so you can continue driving it. Even if you are buying or shipping a car from back home, it will require plates and insurance once it arrives in Canada. Importing a vehicle is a complicated process and requires proper import documentation from Canada Border Service Agency. You’ll also need a Canadian driver licence and to state that you are living in Canada. The vehicle will need to pass a safety test as well as an emission test. You’ll need to provide proof of ownership and any bill of sale from the former owner. All in all, it may be more hassle than it’s worth to import your vehicle to Canada, once you consider shipping and import fees.

What kind of car insurance do I need if I’m preparing to move to Canada?

If you’re preparing to move to Canada, you’ll want to set up complete proper insurance, rather than a temporary policy. Be sure to let your provider know that you are planning a move to Canada, and the date that your policy should take effect.

According to the Ontario government’s website:

If you are visiting Ontario for less than 3 months and want to drive while you’re here, you can use a valid driver’s licence from your own province, state or country. If you will be visiting from another country for more than 3 months, you will need an International Driver’s Permit (IDP) from your own country.

When you move to Ontario, you can use a valid licence from another province, state or country for 60 days. After 60 days, you need to switch to an Ontario driver’s licence.

The Ontario government has a list of countries that it recognizes licences from, enabling the holder to receive a full G licence. After 60 days, your licence from your former country expires. If you have a driver’s licence from a country that does not have an exchange agreement in place with Ontario, you’ll need to apply for an Ontario licence in-person at a DriveTest centre. You may be able to receive credit for your foreign driving experience.

In British Columbia, if you are a visitor you can drive for up to six months if you hold a valid foreign or out-of-province licence. Any restrictions on your licence apply in B.C. If you’re moving to the province, you can continue to use your foreign licence for 90 days. After 90 days, your out-of-province licence is not valid in B.C.

The other provinces and territories have similar rules. Be sure to visit their government websites for full information on what is required when visiting or moving to the province or territory in question. No matter where you plan on staying, you’ll need valid insurance before you can get behind the wheel.

Where and how do I get car insurance as an international driver in Canada?

The best place to get car insurance in Canada for visitors or other international drivers is to use a rate comparison website such as Our site allows foreigners to easily compare car insurance quotes from a number of different providers and see the cost of car insurance for non-residents. Another option to secure car insurance for foreign visitors driving in Canada is to speak with an insurance broker, who can compare rates on your behalf and act as an intermediary between you and the insurance company.

How can international drivers find cheap insurance in Canada?

Auto insurance for foreign drivers can be a tricky thing to navigate. By comparing rates on a rate comparison website such as, you can ensure that you’re getting the best price on car insurance for foreigners possible without missing out on any discounts. Compare now to see your rates, get a free quote for car insurance for international drivers, and be connected with an insurance company that meets your needs.

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