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Thinking of Moving to Canada? Here’s What You Need to Know About Switching Car Insurance

car insurance in canada

Before election day, a Morning Consult poll showed 28 percent of U.S. readers stated their readiness to flee to Canada should Donald Trump win the general election. 15 percent said they were “very likely” to make the move to Canada from the United States.

As Trump became the presumptive winner, Canada’s immigration website crashed from the immense traffic it received, presumably from anxious Americans furiously looking for answers.

The truth is that for would-be expatriates, moving to Canada isn’t easy. When it comes to car insurance in Canada, there are plenty of differences from the American system. We’ve answered some of the most common questions about insurance in the Great White North to help clear up the subject.

Can I use my American car insurance in Canada?

Yes, but only if you’re visiting. Be sure to check with your auto insurer before traveling across the border, as some insurers will provide temporary Canadian insurance cards for the length of your stay. They may also have restrictions on your insurance policy, especially for a longer stay. You should always know what your protections and liabilities are before driving in another country.

If you’re planning to move to Canada permanently from the U.S., you’ll have to switch to Canadian car insurance. Every vehicle is required by law to be insured, and specific laws differ from province to province. You may be able to use the same company depending on which insurer you’re with, but it would be a different policy.

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What are the major differences between Canadian and American Insurance?

Canada and the U.S. have similar insurance protocols, but they’re not identical. First, every Canadian driver needs car insurance to be on the road legally. You’ll get an insurance card when you purchase a plan, just like in America. In Canada, insurance cards are commonly referred to as “pink cards,” and the police may ask you to show your card like in the U.S. You can customize your insurance products to fit your needs, and the requirements vary between provinces much like they vary between US states.

One notable difference between the two countries is that your Canadian insurance is tied to your car’s registration. If you stop paying insurance, your car registration will automatically be cancelled. In the US, your registration would still be active even if you were uninsured for an extended period.

Unlike the American system of private medical insurance companies, the Canadian government’s universal health care system will pay for any injury claims made as a result of a car crash. The private insurer will cover anything relating to the vehicles involved. So drivers don’t need personal injury protection as Americans would.

Is A Canadian Insurance Policy More Expensive?

Yes, car insurance in Canada is more expensive. In fact, it can run as high as double the rates in the U.S. in some cases.

There are a couple of reasons for this:

  • Most extra coverage options in the U.S. are included in the standard Canadian plan.
  • The cost of living is higher, meaning just about everything is more expensive, including insurance.
  • The good news for drivers is Canadian insurance companies tend to pay out higher amounts due to the higher rates.
  • Medical coverage limits are higher in Canada than in the U.S.

Even though the exchange rate will make a slight difference in the monthly cost, Canada is generally still more expensive than the U.S. overall.

What are the top Canadian car insurance companies?

The Co-operators insurance company has the highest customer satisfaction results in the Alberta and Atlantic regions, whereas The Personal holds the highest ranking in the Ontario and Quebec regions. Although these companies may not be the cheapest options, they have the best records in terms of service and efficiency. 

Car insurance is specially tailored to each individual, with rates changing based on factors like age, gender, and accident history. For this reason, there is no definitive answer for the cheapest Canadian auto insurance.

To find the best price, don’t hesitate to shop around and get quotes from as many insurance companies as you can. Canadian drivers may also find low insurance coverage rates in unexpected places. In fault accidents, Canadian insurance automatically covers more, but some companies may respond more quickly and process claims more efficiently than others. Some may also penalize you more for accidents or poor driving habits.

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How do I get Canadian home insurance?

Because home insurance is calculated on an individual, home-by-home basis, you’ll need to purchase a new home insurance plan when moving to Canada. Plans change in price depending on the value and condition of the home being insured. If you’re satisfied with your current insurer, call an agent and discuss options for transferring your insurance across borders.

What are the top Canadian home insurance companies?

Customer satisfaction results for home insurance differ by region. In the Atlantic and Ontario regions, The Co-operators ranks highest, followed by State Farm and RBC Insurance. In Quebec, The Personal ranks the highest, with Intact Insurance and La Capitale taking the second and third places, respectively. BCAA holds the highest rating in the West, with Portage Mutual Insurance and Intact Insurance also ranking well.

Are Canadian Auto Insurance Policies A Good Investment?

Looking at the options and the complexities involved, moving to Canada means spending more money, working through extensive amounts of paperwork, and potentially switching insurance companies entirely. If that sounds worth it to you, then put on your maple leaf sweatshirt, pack up your snow boots, and get a move on!

If you’re going to live in Canada, even if it’s just a few months, you’ll need Canadian auto insurance to register and legally drive your car. Insurance agents can run the numbers for you and compare options. Then you can decide what works for you.


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