Get money-saving tips in your inbox.

Stay on top of personal finance tips from our money experts!

News & Resources

Does your car insurance cover you when travelling out of province?

May 16, 2024
4 mins
Friends On Road Trip Driving In Convertible Car.jpg

This article has been updated from a previous version.

If you plan to take a road trip outside your home province, there’s more to consider than which route to take and where to stay.

Whether you choose to venture out into the wilderness or cozy up in a cottage, be prepared to make your road trip a safe and enjoyable experience. That might mean packing fun snacks and loading up on podcasts for the ride. It also means making sure your vehicle is in good condition and ensuring you have adequate insurance coverage.

The good news is your car insurance policy covers you when you travel to other provinces in Canada or the U.S. But there’s a caveat: If you happen to injure someone while driving in the States, your existing policy might not be enough to cover the damages and resulting costs.

Car insurance is valid for travel in Canada and the U.S.

In general, your car insurance follows you anywhere you go in Canada and the U.S. This means you have some protection for yourself and your passengers, even when driving outside of your home province.

For instance, if you are hurt in a collision in the U.S., your auto policy’s accident benefits  coverage will cover some medical costs. However, the policy alone may not be enough to protect you in the U.S, where medical costs are much higher.

Plus, while your provincial health card covers expenses like walk-in clinic visits and emergency treatment, it doesn’t cover all expenses like ambulance travel or certain prescriptions. Keep in mind that provincial billing rates also differ, meaning different rates for medical care might mean you pay more out of pocket.

That’s why it is wiser to consider travel insurance before departing for your trip.

Add collision and comprehensive coverage to your existing policy

Optional insurance coverages, such as collision and comprehensive, will typically follow you on your trip to the States, but ask your insurance broker or agent to ensure this applies to your policy. Make sure you know what steps the company requires you to take should you need to file a claim across the border.

Provinces such as Ontario and Quebec have no-fault insurance systems, which means you deal with your insurance provider regardless of who is responsible for the collision.

In provinces such as Manitoba, your insurance provider would work with the other driver’s insurance company to determine who is at fault for the collision and must pay for the damages.

You may run into coverage problems if you travel to other countries. Most Canadian auto insurance policies are invalid in Mexico, for example. Check with your auto insurance provider before travelling with your vehicle to ensure you have proper coverage.

Read more: Does your car insurance policy include collision and comprehensive coverages?

You may need additional auto insurance coverage in the U.S.

Things get more complicated if passengers in another car suffer injuries while on a cross-border trip. In some U.S. states, like New Hampshire, automobile insurance coverage is not mandatory, and there’s the risk that drivers are on the road without insurance.

In the event of a collision, if the other driver doesn’t have insurance, you may end up footing majority of the bill.

Standard Canadian auto insurance policies have some provisions for handling this scenario. In Ontario, for example, you’re required to have uninsured motorist coverage, which applies if the other driver is uninsured.

In other provinces, this coverage is not required by law; however, drivers can purchase a policy extension to include it in most cases.

Mandatory third-party liability coverage is designed to cover injuries and vehicle damage to the other vehicles involved in the crash. However, it also may not be enough.

In Quebec, the minimum you must carry is $50,000; in Alberta and Ontario, it’s $200,000. That may sound like a lot, but if you’re involved in even a minor collision, the costs could add up quickly. This is why the Alberta Motor Association recommends carrying at least $1 million in coverage.

Related: Insurance considerations when travelling with friends

Before you leave, it’s a good idea to know what insurance you already have and whether you need to increase your coverage.

If your plans include travelling to another Canadian province or the U.S., consider purchasing travel or medical insurance before you go. Your home province’s health insurance plan may not cover you for everything it does when injured or ill in other jurisdictions. Review your existing policies, including coverage that your credit card company may provide.

car mascot.png

Don't waste time calling around for auto insurance

Use RATESDOTCA to shop around, and compare multiple quotes at the same time.

Liam Lahey

Liam Lahey is a versatile marketer with experience as a staff and freelance writer for many business and technology publications and newspapers. He previously worked as the editor and media spokesperson for RATESDOTCA, handling home, auto, and travel insurance topics.

Latest auto insurance articles

What is pay-as-you-go car insurance?
If you live in Ontario or Nova Scotia and drive fewer than 12,000 kilometres a year, consider a mileage-based insurance program to reduce your rate.
4 mins read
Most common insurance claims in Canada
Home and auto insurance can cover a wide range of claims. Here are just the most common ones.
4 mins read
Will my car insurance cover damage discovered after filing a claim?
It’s rare to find additional damage after a claim has been settled and repairs done. But if it happens, here are your options.
5 mins read

Subscribe to our newsletter

Stay on top of our latest offers, relevant news and tips!

Thanks for joining!

You'll be hearing from us shortly - stay tuned.