Your car is insured in Ontario
In Ontario, the minimum coverage for civil liability is $200,000 and it’s valid anywhere in Canada or the United States. However, it’s recommended that you carry up to $2 million when travelling south of the border because of the higher risk of lawsuits following an accident. In addition, if you’re going to be in the U.S. for an extended period, check with your insurer to make sure that your policy will cover you for the full length of your stay.
If you are covered by Ontario health insurance, the coverage of medical care is limited and includes emergency treatment under certain conditions, which will be reimbursed at the rates in effect in Ontario. Since these are generally lower than foreign rates, purchasing additional insurance is recommended.
Your car is insured in Quebec
All Quebecers are covered by the SAAQ everywhere in the world for bodily injury they may sustain as the result of a road accident, regardless of who is responsible for the accident. But material or bodily damage to third parties is not covered. In Quebec, you have at least $50,000 in civil liability coverage, but that’s probably not sufficient for a trip to another province or to the U.S. Before travelling to the other side of the American border, increasing your coverage to at least $2 million in civil liability coverage is recommended due to the risk of lawsuits following an accident. Increasing your coverage is extremely important, especially if you visit our southern neighbours on a regular basis or if you stay for more than three weeks. Talk to your insurer to make sure you have adequate coverage for your trip.
It is also essential to purchase medical/hospital insurance. The SAAQ and Quebec health insurance cover emergency medical costs outside the province at the rates in effect in Quebec. Since those fees are often much higher elsewhere, having good coverage is critical.
You are planning on renting a vehicle when you arrive
If you rent a car in the United States, the car rental company carries its own insurance for damage caused by the vehicle to a third party. But that coverage can be insufficient, so your own civil liability insurance would have to kick in. Consequently, insuring the rental car as if it were your own is recommended. That way you don’t have to pay for additional insurance offered by the rental company. You should also check to see that you have sufficient coverage for damage caused to the rental car.
If you think you may need to produce proof of insurance, ask your insurer for proof of coverage—in English of course.
What to do in case of an accident
After an accident, stay at the scene and call the police as soon as possible, regardless of the extent of the damage. Do not admit fault. Write down the circumstance of the accident and information about the vehicles involved. If possible, get contact information from witnesses, take photos, and obtain a copy of the police report.
To prepare your insurance claim, you should keep any receipts in connection with the accident, including medical and transport fees. As well, if you were driving a rented vehicle, keep your copy of the rental agreement.
Contact your insurer as soon as possible.
Taking a side trip to Mexico?
To obtain valid car insurance in Mexico, it must be provided by an agency recognized by local authorities. If you plan on going with your own vehicle, contact your insurer to find out what you need to do. If you plan on using a rented vehicle from the U.S., you should inform the rental agency to make sure you have the proper coverage. If you plan on renting a car in Mexico, it is recommended to take the full insurance coverage offered by the rental agency. You can usually buy this type of coverage at the border.
By taking these precautions when making your travel plans, you’ll be able to explore America’s wide open spaces with peace of mind.