International insurance when driving in Canada

Published: September 28, 2015

Updated: May 15, 2018



If you are coming into Canada for a visit or to move on a temporary basis you will be driving with international car insurance. That means you will need to know the basics of driving in Canada as a foreign driver, and you will need to know some important things about insurance in the country.

What insurance will you need?

Canada is a country which has required auto insurance, which means it is mandatory for you to have insurance coverage when driving in the country in any capacity. The insurance you use in the country will have to be valid under Canadian law or you will be forced to pay a fine. In some cases, the coverage you have in your home nation may cover you in Canada, so it is worth checking with your provider to see if that is the case.

For example, if you are from the United States your existing auto insurance will cover you while operating a vehicle in Canada, although again you should check your policy to be sure.

You should inform your insurance company regardless as your provider will give you a letter/insurance card that proves your insurance when you are in Canada.

You can rent

Your normal car insurance will cover you while renting a vehicle in Canada in almost all circumstances, but it really depends on what your policy offers. Some policy points in your coverage may not be eligible for car rental, so once again you should check with your insurance provider to find out. Rental companies offer temporary insurance as part of their car package, and this is sometimes a good option and is paid as a cost on top of the daily rental rate.

Proving who you are

Needless to say, you need to bring your drivers license with you when travelling and driving in Canada, while you should also make sure you have your passport with you when in a vehicle.

A Canadian insurance card may also be necessary, and while it is not always requested you should definitely carry one when coming to the country. Your insurance company should be able to provide you with one before you leave, just contact them with your intentions of travelling and they will prepare a Canadian insurance card for you.

We recommend contacting your insurance provider with a few weeks to spare as it can take five to seven working days for the insurance card to arrive. While it is not always asked for in Canada, you should keep the card with you at all times when driving in the country.