Whether you’re a snowbird driving to the states to retreat for the winter or enjoying a cross-border vacation, there are a few things you should know about driving in the US before you leave.
If you have a Canadian driver’s license it is valid in the United States. However, if you are planning an extended stay you should contact the State Department of Motor Vehicles to determine if an International Driver’s Permit is needed. The requirement may vary by state – if one is necessary you must obtain it from your own province before you leave. You are required to carry both your regular license and International license together in the event they are requested.
If you are driving your own vehicle to the state and have valid Canadian insurance, your existing car insurance will continue to cover you in the U.S. You may want to contact your Insurance Advisor to review your current coverage. Here are a few things to review:
- Updating the drivers on your policy (if others will be operating your car)
- Ensuring your liability limit is adequate. Increasing your limit may be a good idea, the liability section of your policy provides coverage if you are in an automobile accident and someone is injured or killed, this is the amount of money available to compensate them (or their family). It is also used if you cause damage to someone’s property with your vehicle.
- Review the physical damage coverage on your policy. In the event of an accident while you are away will you have the funds to repair your vehicle in U.S. if you don’t have collision coverage? If your vehicle is stolen how will you return home if you don’t carry Comprehensive coverage?
- You may also want to add Loss of Use coverage. This will cover a rental car if your vehicle is involved in an accident or claim.
- If you are considering renting a vehicle it is a good idea to add the OPCF 27 (Liability for Damage to Non-Owned Automobiles). This endorsement extends coverage from your own policy to cover the rental vehicle. By adding the OPCF 27 you will avoid having to pay the daily insurance fee when you rent a car anywhere in the United States.
These are just a few tips; drive safe and always make sure to check with your Insurance Advisor for professional advice on your insurance needs.