Headed over the border? Here’s what you need to know about car insurance
When you’re planning on driving your own vehicle to the United States, it’s important to make sure your car insurance will have you covered for your entire trip. Whether you’re headed down south for two weeks or two months, talk to your group’s licensed broker so they can make sure you have the coverage you need before you hit the road.
Here are five things to keep in mind before you drive your vehicle over the border:
- Increase your liability limit. In a car insurance policy, third-party liability coverage is designed to protect you when you’re held legally liable (or responsible) for injuries or damage to someone else’s property in a collision. The southern states in particular are known to be very litigious, and the rewards in lawsuits are often much higher than they would be here in Canada. If you’re responsible for injuries or damage to someone else’s vehicle in the U.S., you’ll need enough liability coverage to cover the costs of a lawsuit. Consider upping the liability limit on your car insurance policy before you travel.
- Get the Family Protection Endorsement. Mandatory liability limits are significantly lower in the U.S. than they are in Canada, meaning American drivers aren’t required to have as much coverage for liability claims. The Family Protection Endorsement is a car insurance add-on designed to protect you and your family if you’re injured in a collision and the at-fault driver doesn’t have insurance (or doesn’t have enough insurance). This coverage may already be included in your policy, but it’s best to double-check before heading over the border.
- Don’t plan on taking a road trip to Mexico. Generally speaking, Canadian insurance companies won’t offer any protection if you drive your vehicle to Mexico. If you’re planning a trip to Mexico while you’re staying in the States, consider renting a vehicle from an American company that will allow you to travel into Mexico — but leave your own vehicle behind.
- If you move to the U.S. and don’t plan on coming back to Canada, you’ll probably need a new car insurance policy. Most Canadian insurance companies will only insure Canadian residents. Talk to your group’s broker if you’re planning on moving your permanent residence to America.
- Depending on your insurer, your premium may be a little bit higher if you’re spending a significant amount of time in the States each year. Contact your broker to find out how frequent travel to the U.S. could affect your premium and consider asking if you can take advantage of any additional car insurance discounts to offset the cost of the small increase.
Your broker needs to know about any change in circumstances that could affect your eligibility for coverage or the type of coverage you need, so they can make sure you’re always protected. If you’re planning on staying in the U.S. for an extended period of time (all winter, for example), it’s especially important that you connect with your group’s broker ahead of time.
No matter how long you’ll be away, don’t forget to take these simple measures to keep your home secure and prevent any mishaps while you’re gone.
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