Car export - is current insurance valid till I get Canadian[travel period ~ 3 or 4 days]]?


I am preparing for the documentation to export my Car - I will be driving my car across the border and got my clean title and recall clearance letter. I searched on the movnorth forum but could not get the answer.

I have Geico policy and they claim, they have coverage in Canada. So once I leave the US - I will not have a US address. My plan is to immediately register the vehicle in Canada and get Canadian insurance after the quarantine period. Do border officials ask for Canadian insurance on the border crossing? Do I necessarily have to get Canadian insurance or my current US insurance should suffice till I reach there (travel period ~ 3-4 days)?

Thank You!!!

This is a bit of a grey area, Geico and most US insurers will provide you coverage for your vehicle in Canada provided that you’re a resident of the USA but once you cease to be a US resident, they’re no longer required to provide you with insurance.

That said, getting Canadian insurance for US plated cars can also be hard, you’d need to jump through more than a few hoops.

At the border, CBSA doesn’t require proof of Canadian insurance nor of US insurance or for any drivers license either. All they care about is you proving ownership of the vehicle and they do the RIV paperwork.

Sharing my personal experience, I also had Geico insure my vehicle in the USA and drove my US plated car with just the US insurance for a month till I could complete all the formalities and import my vehicle. During this time, I was never asked for proof of insurance and didn’t get into any situation where insurance would be required. So as long as you don’t cause damage or have your car damaged by someone else from a paperwork perspective you’re going to be just fine.

1 Like

Actually I am also planning to drive car to Toronto, and enquired the coverage with Geico, they said its covered in Canada for the first 3 months and i asked the exact contract page where it specifies and they shared it in email. Do you have any different opinion/comments please.?

I am driving for the first time to Canada, I know clear Title on our name, Insurance, Driving extract are the documents required to show at the boarder. can you pl suggest if anything else required for car. Appreciate your time.

Thank you @panditji

@mramesh19 I sent them an email and they said yes it’s covered till the time I get Canadian insurance. I did write in an email that I will be immediately getting the Canada insurance after quarantine time. So they didn’t provide me the details about 3 months but it is good to know. Can you please share which page on the contract mentions the detail about 3 months?

Regarding your inquire, it depends - are you doing temporary or permanent export?

I remember its in Contract section but I will check and let you know in sometime today.

I am coming on Temp work visa (TRV). Pl advise, Thank you @swamiom.

@mramesh19 Same here I am going on a work visa but plans to apply for PR as soon as I reach there. If your plans are to settle down there in Canada - the best would be to do non-temporary (permanent) export of vehicle otherwise if you have plans to come back to US - temporary export should suffice. Temporary export is less expensive but has restrictions. There are good detailed posts on this forum about the permanent export of the vehicle. Thanks

@swamiom, sure I will check posts, mine will be temporary export.

Please find the details i got it from Geico.


Great - for temporary export/import here is the good details:

The RIV site is kinda terrible, and so are all the docs.

Your insurance is usable for months after you cross the border. Just keep a US mail box and they’ll never know. However, depending on province you have like 30-90 days or something to switch over and get local insurance. Remember that many Americans cross the border for months at a time and still use their home insurance.

The best thing if you don’t have PR yet is to not import right away. You don’t have to import to get local insurance. Importing without a PR costs a HUGE import tax. I did it. You can get an exemption for work permit.

The whole process is super confusing and complicated. I’m going to write a blog post really soon about the whole thing cuz it stumps lots of people.

1 Like

Can you please elaborate more on “The best thing if you don’t have PR yet is to not import right away.” My intentions are to apply for PR as soon as I land there. What are the advantages of doing temporary import? Regarding import tax - you have to pay either way whether you are on PR or work permit if you are doing permanent export/import. Thanks

I’m sorry but this is a terrible, terrible idea. You must always read the fineprint in your insurance to see what your obligations are for a claim to be considered valid. There is a common practice of post claim underwriting in the insurance industry, which basically means that the insurer wont check your information until you submit a claim. You can get a Quote for insurance in any US state online and sign up for a policy even if you provide fictitious information, they’ll happily give you a piece of paper saying that you’re covered and take your money, until you file a claim.
There are stipulations in every policy which will require that you inform the insurer whenever you change your address and that you have a certain number of days to notify them. Using a PO Box or a forwarding mail address is a 100% foolproof way of ensuring that your claim is going to be denied.

Your proof of coverage paperwork isn’t worth the price of paper that it’s printed on if you’re in violation of any of the fineprint in your policy. Most US and Canadian auto policies will cover the subscriber if they’re temporarily visiting the other country. The key words being temporary and visit and a permanent resident moving to either country is not classified as a visitor especially if their intent was to settle permanently. So like I said earlier, from a paperwork perspective your US insurance is perfectly fine but if you get into an accident, then are you actually covered? This is something that you’ll only know if you ask the insurer in advance or when you file a claim. That’s why it’s an extremely good idea to get local insurance as soon as possible if that’s important for your piece of mind. If you’re a bit more laid back like me then you can wait till you get licensed and then insure your vehicle. But don’t be under the impression that you’re fully covered when you may not be.

For anyone interested, CBC did an excellent Marketplace program about Insurance gotchas which I highly recommend watching.

My intentions are to apply for PR as soon as I land there.

This is fine, but until you actually have PR, your status will be say “temporary worker” on a working permit. What I was told by IRCC is that when you import permanently, as a PR you get a one time exception which you don’t get with a work permit. So there is a big advantage, not having to pay import taxes when you actually have a PR. That’s the reason to get a temporary import. The temporary import lets you get local insurance without fully importing. The only negative is that you cannot sell your vehicle, but otherwise you don’t actually have to fully import. The other thing I heard is that if you don’t fully import and then drive the car back to the US, then they might complain over there; however I’m not sure how they can tell since your car would have Canadian plates.

It takes most people a long time to get permanent residence, and my point was that until you get PR, technically you are just a temporary resident who happens to be working there. Many govt agencies also treat you like a temporary resident until you have PR. In fact, even if you have intentions of settling permanently, the PR process can hiccup and there is no guarantee – this is basically the advice that the IRCC gives. So in fact, at least for the first few months, it is valid to say that you are “temporarily visiting”. Of course if you delay and don’t get local insurance after 90 days, it becomes more and more difficult to say that you are “temporarily visiting”.