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Will My Auto Insurance Cover Me If I Drive Across The U.S. Border?


Your personal auto insurance policy provides protection against liability, bodily injury, and property damage in case you are involved in an accident in the U.S. But what happens if your travels take you into Canada, Mexico, or beyond? Are you still covered once you cross the U.S. border? The answer depends on which country you are driving to. Yes, if your trip is to Canada. No, if you are driving to Mexico or beyond.

U.S. Auto Insurance Coverage Is Recognized In Canada

The U.S. and Canada have reciprocal auto insurance laws, meaning each country recognizes the other’s car insurance policies. The same auto insurance you have in the U.S. will protect you in Canada, with the same coverage and policy limits.

However, this depends on your status as a tourist. You can remain in Canada for days, weeks, or even months without a visa and still have auto insurance coverage, but you must leave the country within 180 days. If you stay for more than six months, you lose your tourist status and are considered to be driving in the country illegally, at which point reciprocal insurance laws will no longer apply to you.

Additional Coverage Is Needed In Mexico

If you drive across the border into Mexico, although your driver’s license remains valid, your car insurance will not cover you until you return to the U.S. If you are planning such a trip, please contact us to discuss your insurance needs so that we may present your options.

Depending on your insurance provider, Mexico tourist insurance coverage may help protect your from:

  • Liability for bodily injury and property damage
  • Physical damage to your vehicle
  • Theft or vandalism
  • Medical payments for policyholder and passengers
  • Medical evacuation after an accident
  • Vehicle loan or lease payoff
  • Roadside assistance
  • Legal assistance after a collision

Expect Different Auto Insurance Requirements In Different Latin American Countries

Travelers can take the Pan American Highway from Alaska to Argentina. When you are traveling south from Mexico, some countries along the way do not require vehicle insurance for international drivers, while others do. Among the ones that do are Costa Rica, Panama, Columbia, Peru, and Chile. When auto insurance is required, in many cases, you can buy it right at the border as you are entering the country.

Talk With An Experienced Agent Before Taking A Trip Across The Border

You can drive anywhere in the U.S. and still have the same coverage under your auto insurance policy. But things may be different if you cross the border into another country. If you are planning a trip to Canada, your car insurance policy will remain in effect, provided you return to the U.S. within 180 days. On the other hand, if you are planning to travel south into Mexico or South America, speak with our knowledgeable agent in advance of your trip for assistance and advice on getting the coverage you need.

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