Go Canada: Does Your Insurance Cover You North of the Border?

If you’re planning to travel to Canada by car, you might wonder whether your standard auto policy will apply there. And if you’ve looked around on the internet for the answer, you might be even more confused by the outdated and contradictory information. Here are some answers.

For the most part, a reciprocal arrangement between the United States and Canada means that your auto policy will cover you on your jaunt to Nova Scotia or Lake Louise. This assumes that you maintain “tourist status,” meaning that you’re in Canada for less than 180 days. As long as your stay is shorter than that, you don’t need a visitor’s visa or any special insurance coverage.

HOWEVER, the Canadian government does request that you have a “non-resident inter-provincial motor vehicle liability insurance card,” otherwise known as the Pink Card for Canadians or the Yellow Card for U.S. Citizens visiting Canada.  You may have seen these names mentioned in your online searches.  If you are stopped by a police officer as a result of a traffic violation or you are involved in an accident while in Canada, you will need to present this card or risk being fined.  This card should be readily available from your insurer, but allow a week or two for it to arrive.

It’s also a good idea to bring your auto policy with you, along with your normal U.S. insurance ID card.

And while you’re talking to your insurer, ask about general travel coverage to protect you on your trip. This can insulate you from costs associated with an injury or illness, lost or stolen luggage and a number of other travel-related mishaps.