Getting Car Insurance for International Drivers in Canada In 2024


Bracing up to relocate to Canada or spend a vacation in the country? Well, you’d naturally be worried about your status as a driver in Canada.

Compared to Canadian residents, premiums for car insurance in Canada for international drivers turn out to be a bit expensive. However, with reputed insurance brokers like Surex ready to recommend cost-effective policies, premiums won’t hurt your wallet.

What’s more important is to know the formalities before you take on the roads in Canada. Whether you are on a short vacation or decide to settle permanently in Canada, getting your insurance policy is mandatory.

Can Foreigners Drive in Canada?


The established rules governing the requirement of car insurance in Canada for international drivers aren’t too harsh. In Canada, you will come across several auto insurance companies providing policies that cover foreign drivers for up to 30 days. Simply consult an insurance broker to check affordable policies. If you are visiting Canada on a short vacation not exceeding 30 days, get one of these temporary insurance policies.

However, if your stay exceeds 30 days in Canada, make sure to get insurance coverage for international drivers. Many insurers specialize in this type of policy. Besides, foreigners can apply for an insurance policy in Canada using their international driving permit.

In most cases, the temporary insurance policies remain valid for up to six months. If you plan to stay in Canada even longer, get a one-year policy. Drivers may have to get an inter-provincial liability insurance card for non-residents depending on the province in Canada where you would reside.

Therefore, foreigners can drive in Canada with adequate coverage once they purchase the right insurance policy.

Is Car Insurance Mandatory for Foreigners in Canada?

Yes, all drivers in Canada should have adequate insurance coverage before they hit the road. So, whether you are a foreigner, temporary resident, citizen, or permanent resident of Canada, make sure to buy proper insurance. Failing to get the coverage would land you in legal hassles.

The coverage limit for foreign drivers depends on the territory or province they drive in. Each province has its specific requirements. For instance, if you drive in Ontario, your policy should include accident benefits coverage, direct compensation – property damage coverage, and uninsured automobile coverage. Your third-party liability insurance should cover at least $200,000.

For further protection, you can choose from the optional policies and add-ons.

What Documents Do Foreign Drivers Need to Buy Insurance in Canada?


Before buying car insurance for international drivers in Canada, keep the following documents handy.

  • A valid driving licence
  • Your driving record in your home country
  • Your personal details like address and contact details
  • Details about your car, including its registration number, age, make, model, and mileage
  • Your insurance records
  • A formal document to validate insurance claims record

In Canada, the authorities allow foreign drivers to use the driving history of their own country. Some insurers are comfortable with using your foreign driving record. However, other insurers might not recognize this record. Your insurance broker would help you choose the right insurer so that you can use your foreign driving record.

What Type of Coverage Do International Drivers Need in Canada?

We have discussed the necessary coverage for international drivers in Canada under two scenarios.

Scenario 1: Short-term stay in Canada

If you are a tourist or plan to visit Canada on a short vacation, a temporary insurance policy would work for you. These policies typically include the following benefits:

  • Third-party liability coverage, which compensates loss if you kill or injure someone in an accident.
  • Accident benefits compensate your medical expenses following an accident.
  • Collision damage waiver, which would protect you if you damage a rented car in a collision.
  • Personal effects coverage to aid you financially if your belongings in a car are stolen.

If you happen to be a US citizen travelling to Canada, your US insurance policy will remain valid in Canada. However, residents from other countries would need a valid insurance policy to drive in Canada.

Scenario 2: Long-term stay in Canada

If you are a foreign national visiting Canada for family or business purposes and wish to live up to six months, you can customize your insurance policy through brokers. Many drivers use their car rental insurance policies, but these plans often fall short of fully securing your financial outflows.

If you wish to stay in Canada for a year or longer, get a traditional insurance policy from one of the reputed insurers. In all these situations, you should get liability coverage as a mandatory requirement. Further customize your policy with comprehensive coverage, collision coverage, and the necessary riders.

Even if you seek residency in Canada, reach out to brokers for affordable car insurance for international drivers.

Is a Foreign Driving Licence Valid in Canada?


Based on the province you are in, your foreign licence would remain valid in Canada for the first three to six months. To keep driving on Canadian roads, approach your home government to issue an international driver’s permit. Alternatively, you can get a Canadian licence from the respective provincial government.

While driving in Canada, make sure to carry this licence or driver’s permit all the time. Experts recommend getting an international driver’s licence before you land in Canada if you plan to stay here for three or more months. It’s pretty challenging to obtain an international driving permit after you arrive in Canada.

Car insurance in Canada for international drivers — Endnote

Being a foreign national, you must be worried about finding cheap automobile insurance in Canada. As we mentioned, not all insurers specialize in designing insurance policies for international drivers. If you end up approaching the wrong insurer, you will end up paying more premiums.

Again, it takes several weeks to compare quotes from reputed insurers after researching their profiles. To save time and effort, most foreigners visiting Canada count on insurance brokers. These insurance professionals explain the provincial requirements to foreign nationals. Next, they evaluate their risk profile and recommend the necessary coverage.

Thanks to the industry knowledge and expertise of insurance brokers, you can get the cheapest policies recommended by them. Also, the experts would assist you while filing claims, if required.