Jessica Sautter is a Content Writer for CarInsuranceCompanies.com with a Bachelor’s Degree from Eastern Michigan University in Elementary Education with a Major in Reading and a Minor in Mathematics.

Full Bio →

Written by

Chris Harrigan has an economic degree from Limestone College and an MBA from Clemson University. He previously managed auto insurance claims for Enterprise Rent-A-Car. Currently, he is using his business and insurance expertise to provide insurance data analysis and visualizations to enhance the user experience.

Full Bio →

Reviewed by Chris Harrigan
Former Auto Insurance Claims Manager

UPDATED: Sep 8, 2020

Advertiser Disclosure

It’s all about you. We want to help you make the right car insurance coverage choices.

Advertiser Disclosure: We strive to help you make confident insurance decisions. Car insurance comparison shopping should be easy. We partner with top car insurance companies. This doesn’t influence our content. Our opinions are our own.

Editorial Guidelines: We are a free online resource for anyone interested in learning more about auto insurance. Our goal is to be an objective, third-party resource for everything auto insurance related. We update our site regularly, and all content is reviewed by auto insurance experts.

Here's what you need to know...

  • Your Canadian car insurance is valid in the United States
  • The US and Canada have similar legal systems and car insurance policy structures
  • Both liability insurance and physical damage coverage will extend over the border
  • Due to the higher nature of risk, Canadian insurance will stop at the border of Mexico
  • You are covered when renting a car in the US for at least liability coverage


If you’re planning on going down south for weeks or a more extended period of time, it’s important that you plan ahead to ensure your holiday goes as smoothly as possible.

Most people assume that their Canadian auto insurance is only valid throughout the country of origin.

While the coverage won’t protect you when you rent a car overseas, your car insurance extends if you’re crossing the United States border. There could be limitations as to which types of coverage and what limits will extend. Read this guide to driving in the US with Canadian insurance and learn everything that you need to know.

To learn more about Canadian car insurance coverage in the U.S.A. (and vice versa), start comparing car insurance rates now by using our FREE tool. Enter your zip code above to get started.

Table of Contents

Canadian Car Insurance Coverage in the U.S.

Does Canadian Car cover you in the USA? One of the main reasons that Canadian insurance will be valid in the U.S. is because the two countries operate under very similar legal systems.

While there are some differences in terms of car insurance laws and how claims are settled, minimum liability requirements are extremely similar in nature.

Here’s a brief overview of what liability coverage extends to, which is true for both the U.S. and Canada.

There are a lot of uninsured drivers in the United States. About one in eight drivers on the road are driving uninsured, according to the Insurance Information Institute.

You can see that some states are worse than others in the table below.

Uninsured Drivers by U.S. State
StateUninsured Driver Percentage
Florida 26.70%
Mississippi23.70%
New Mexico20.80%
Michigan20.30%
Tennessee20%
Alabama18.40%
Washington17.40%
Indiana16.70%
Arkansas16.60%
D.C.15.60%
Alaska15.40%
California15.20%
Rhode Island15.20%
New Jersey14.90%
Wisconsin14.30%
Texas14.10%
Missouri14%
Illinois13.70%
Colorado13.30%
Louisiana13%
Oregon12.70%
Ohio12.40%
Maryland12.40%
Arizona12%
Georgia12%
Kentucky11.50%
Minnesota11.50%
Delaware11.40%
Nevada10.60%
Hawaii10.60%
Oklahoma10.50%
West Virginia10.10%
Montana9.90%
Virginia9.90%
New Hampshire9.90%
Connecticut9.40%
South Carolina9.40%
Iowa8.70%
Utah8.20%
Idaho8.20%
Wyoming7.80%
South Dakota7.70%
Pennsylvania7.60%
Kansas7.20%
North Dakota6.80%
Nebraska6.80%
Vermont6.80%
North Carolina6.50%
Massachusetts6.20%
New York6.10%
Maine4.50%
Get Your Rates Quote Now

Compare RatesStart Now →

The possibility of being hit by an uninsured driver is a very real one, so make sure you have coverage that will kick in if an uninsured driver hits you.

In Canada, all provinces set their own compulsory car insurance laws much like states do in the U.S.

While the actual minimum requirements in Canada vary from province to province, liability insurance that pays for bodily injury and property damage claims is required across the board.

This is much like the liability requirements in the United States, which are detailed by the Digest of Motor Laws. These require a minimum amount of coverage that is typically lower than the minimums in Canadian territories.

If you get pulled over in the U.S., don’t panic and behave as you normally would. FindLaw notes how you should handle traffic stops, and it’s especially important for Canadian drivers.

Most of the time, you won’t have any problems, but there have been instances of Canadian drivers getting arrested for driving with their Canadian license. For example, the BBC reports that a Canadian woman was arrested in 2018 while driving in Georgia because of her Canadian driver’s license.

She was refunded all fines, but it’s not unheard of to be arrested erroneously while driving with your Canadian license. This shows there is still a level of confusion in the U.S. about Canadian driver’s license reciprocity.

Compare quotes from the top car insurance companies and save

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

Canadian Liability Insurance in the U.S.

It’s extremely important that you contact your agent to verify that your standard personal coverage will protect you once you cross the 49th parallel.

In most cases, when you leave the country to drive the open road in the U.S. in your own car, your third-party liability limits will be valid.

So, if you live in Alberta, the amount of coverage that you’ll have for third-party injury claims and third-party damage claims.

Some provinces have their own unique laws regarding how insurance will pay when you’re out of the province.

You’ll need to check to see if there’s an out-of-province rider that you’ll need to add for a nominal fee before you leave the country.

Increasing Car Insurance Coverage Limits

One thing that you can do to ensure that you have enough liability coverage in the U.S. to cover the increased exposure to loss is increasing your liability limits.

While it’s not required, having a blanket $1 million of protection can help give you peace of mind while you operate unfamiliar roads.

It can also help protect your assets from being targeted if you have a large loss and must defend yourself in civil court.

Compare Car Insurance Companies

Compare quotes from the top car insurance companies and save

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

Will damage to your Canadian vehicle be covered in the United States?

If you’re worried about getting into an accident and having to pay for U.S. repair bills on your own, you should check to see if comprehensive and collision will extend over the border.

Most of the respected insurers will extend your full coverage when you’re driving in the United States.

This means that whatever coverage you carry and limits you’ve selected will be valid in the US. If you don’t have collision coverage to pay for damage sustained in an accident, it might be time to reassess your needs.

Compare quotes from the top car insurance companies and save

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

Does your Canadian car insurance cover you in a rental?

If you’re renting a car, wait before you elect to take the expensive over-the-counter insurance. A Canadian renting a car in the USA needs insurance but probably not special rental coverage

It can cost you between $20 and $40 per day to buy liability and damage waivers on a U.S. rental.

Luckily, most companies will extend coverage to a temporary replacement car.

While you’ll need to verify how your coverage works, here is what will typically be valid:

  • Bodily Injury and Property Damage Liability
  • Comprehensive (subject to deductible)
  • Collision (subject to deductible)
  • Personal Injury

Before you jump to buy auto insurance in the U.S. you should check to see how your coverage applies.

Ask how long you’ll be covered and when you’ll need to activate domestic insurance.

If you plan on moving to the U.S., start quoting rates today. You can use an online comparison tool and then find the most affordable coverage in a short time frame so that you have coverage as soon as you move.

Things to Keep in Mind as a Canadian Driving in the USA

Canadian car insurance for driving in the USA is essential, but you should also be aware of the laws that govern where you’ll be driving. 

Each state has its own form of the “keep right” law, which determines how you should handle driving in the left lane. Some states only allow it while passing, while others don’t really care as much. You can search below to see the laws in the states you may be driving in.

Keep Right Laws by State
StateExplanation
AlabamaKeep right if driving slower than the average speed of traffic around you
AlaskaLeft lane driving prohibited if traveling under the speed limit
ArizonaKeep right if driving slower than the average speed of traffic around you
ArkansasKeep right if driving slower than the average speed of traffic around you
CaliforniaKeep right if driving slower than the average speed of traffic around you
ColoradoKeep right if driving slower than the average speed of traffic around you
ConnecticutKeep right if driving slower than the average speed of traffic around you
DelawareKeep right if driving slower than the average speed of traffic around you
FloridaMove right if blocking traffic in the left lane
GeorgiaMove right if blocking traffic in the left lane
HawaiiKeep right if driving slower than the average speed of traffic around you
IdahoKeep right if driving slower than the average speed of traffic around you
IllinoisLeft lane driving only allowed for passing or turning left
IndianaDrivers required to keep right with several exceptions
IowaKeep right if driving slower than the average speed of traffic around you
KansasLeft lane driving only allowed for passing or turning left
KentuckyLeft lane driving only allowed for passing or turning left
LouisianaLeft lane driving only allowed for passing or turning left
MaineLeft lane driving only allowed for passing or turning left
MarylandLeft lane driving prohibited if traveling under the speed limit
MassachusettsLeft lane driving only allowed for passing or turning left
MichiganDrivers required to keep right with several exceptions
MinnesotaKeep right if driving slower than the average speed of traffic around you
MississippiDrivers required to keep right with several exceptions
MissouriKeep right if driving slower than the average speed of traffic around you
MontanaKeep right if driving slower than the average speed of traffic around you
NebraskaKeep right if driving slower than the average speed of traffic around you
NevadaKeep right if driving slower than the average speed of traffic around you
New HampshireKeep right if driving slower than the average speed of traffic around you
New JerseyLeft lane driving only allowed for passing or turning left
New MexicoKeep right if driving slower than the average speed of traffic around you
New YorkKeep right if driving slower than the average speed of traffic around you
North CarolinaLeft lane driving prohibited if traveling under the speed limit
North DakotaKeep right if driving slower than the average speed of traffic around you
OhioLeft lane driving prohibited if traveling under the speed limit
OklahomaLeft lane driving prohibited if traveling under the speed limit
OregonKeep right if driving slower than the average speed of traffic around you
PennsylvaniaDrivers required to keep right with several exceptions
Rhode IslandKeep right if driving slower than the average speed of traffic around you
South CarolinaKeep right if driving slower than the average speed of traffic around you
South DakotaNo law requiring vehicles to keep right
TennesseeMove right if blocking traffic in the left lane
TexasKeep right if driving slower than the average speed of traffic around you
UtahMove right if blocking traffic in the left lane
VermontKeep right if driving slower than the average speed of traffic around you
VirginiaMove right if blocking traffic in the left lane
WashingtonKeep right if driving slower than the average speed of traffic around you
West VirginiaLeft lane driving only allowed for passing or turning left
WisconsinKeep right if driving slower than the average speed of traffic around you
WyomingKeep right if driving slower than the average speed of traffic around you
Get Your Rates Quote Now

Compare RatesStart Now →

It’s worth noting that Car insurance for driving in the USA is generally going to cover you, but it stops when you hit the Mexican border. So, if you’re planning on a multi-country trip, check with your insurer first to see what your options are.

Does your car insurance cover you in another country?

Americans and Canadians are typically covered in both countries when they’re driving, regardless of which of the two countries they bought that policy in. However, other countries will typically not be covered. If you’re planning to travel anywhere else, it’s smart to contact your insurer ahead of time and find out what other coverage you may need.

Whether you need car insurance as a Canadian student in the US or car insurance for Canadian snowbirds flying south to Florida for the winter, your insurance policy will probably cover you in the U.S. But, you should always check with your insurer first before making a trip outside of your country. 

If you’re looking to go to a country where the primary language isn’t English, you may want to get extra car insurance for tourists. The Federal Trade Commission notes that you’ll need an International Driving Permit (IDP), which is really only there to help interpret your driver’s license to officials in the other country.

You can also get car insurance to cover you while abroad, whether through a rental company or through some large companies. Some of these have a big presence in the U.S. also, like Geico.

Does car insurance cover you in Canada with U.S. insurance?

If you’re an American driving into Canada, your policy should cover you. Both countries have very similar car insurance laws. It’s always best to check with your car insurance company before you cross the border to make sure you have the right level of coverage.

Do you need proof of insurance to drive in Canada? You’ll need to provide something showing how much coverage you have on your car, just as in the U.S.

How does Canadian car insurance work? One of the main reasons Canadian and American car insurance work in both countries is because there are a lot of similarities in requirements. 

To learn more about how car insurance works in both countries, start comparing car insurance rates now by entering your zip code in our FREE tool below.