Motorists who drive outside of the province or country will wonder if their insurance policies automatically provide coverage when driving in the U.S. and Mexico.
Most basic automobile insurance policies (for Ontario drivers) contain provisions that will cover motorists if they are involved in an accident in another province or in the U.S.
A Standard Ontario Motor Vehicle Policy includes a set of ‘no-fault’ benefits which are available to the insured Ontario motorist if an accident occurs in Ontario, in another province or in the U.S. These no-fault benefits include:
Income replacement benefits, non-earner or caregiver benefits
Attendant care benefits
Lost educational benefits
Death and funeral benefits
Expenses of visitors
Reimbursement for damaged clothing, glasses and medical devices
Depending on the severity of the injury, potential benefits for housekeeping and home maintenance expenses
In most U.S. states, motorists are not required to carry minimum liability insurance, whereas in Ontario, the minimum liability coverage is $200,000. If you plan on driving in the U.S., you may want to increase your minimum liability coverage.
Fortunately, all Ontario auto insurance policies contain a provision for ‘uninsured automobile coverage,’ which protects insured Ontario motorists and certain family members to the limit of their own insurance liability coverage in the event that an accident is caused by someone who has no insurance coverage.
Ontario motorists have the option of purchasing enhanced accident benefit coverage, in which case additional financial support may be available under this type of coverage.
If you plan on driving to Mexico, however, motorists are required to purchase separate Mexican auto insurance coverage, as Canadian auto coverage ceases the moment you enter the Mexican border.
Mexican auto insurance can be purchased at the Mexican border, but prices are generally steeper than if you purchase online. Motorists should research this coverage and purchase it directly from a Mexican-based insurance provider (i.e. www.mexadventure.com). Be sure to purchase and print your policy before you leave for your trip.
If you plan on visiting the U.S. and renting a vehicle there, you’ll be covered under your Canada auto insurance policy for basic liability coverage. Collision and comprehensive coverage, however, do not always apply. You may want to consider separate coverage purchased from the car rental provider, so that you do not use your own policy.
When renting a vehicle in the U.S., you may want to purchase additional insurance coverage from the rental car company. Some credit cards offer extra protection, but it’s best to consult with your insurance provider to know what your policy includes.
Ask your insurance broker about a ‘loss-of-use’ provision. That’s when a rental car company imposes a fee on the customer to cover lost revenue while their vehicle is being repaired after an accident. Not all policies include that provision for rental vehicles.
If you happen to be involved in a collision in the U.S. or Mexico, report the accident to your insurance provider and have your vehicle towed to a new car dealership that represents your brand. Collision repairs are usually expedited in a timely and efficient manner.
A dealership will have a reputable repair facility on site or will be affiliated with one, and it will have access to replacement parts and the expertise to make the necessary repairs.
Sometimes delays occur with collision repairs in the U.S., due to different models being available in the U.S. and Canada. In these cases, sourcing replacement parts for Canadian models can take extra time.
Every situation will be different, so it is best to plan in advance of your travels. Talk to your insurance agent and then make the decision that is best suited for you.
If you’re looking for an insurance policy for the first time, you want to beat your renewal quote, you’re searching for the right financial product, or you’re after a great travel or utility deal, contact 2nd Chance Insurance today for a free instant online quote. 2nd Chance works with trusted insurance providers, financial services organisations and partners to provide a real breadth of coverage across the marketplace.