Can I get U.S. car insurance with a Canadian license?

Can you get U.S. car insurance with a Canadian license? Many auto insurers will offer you a temporary policy during your visit to the states. While it depends on the specific company, the duration of your stay is also a factor.

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UPDATED: Jun 20, 2022

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Written By: Laura BerryReviewed By: Joel OhmanUPDATED: Jun 20, 2022Fact Checked

Here's what you need to know...

  • Most insurers will let you purchase temporary U.S. car insurance with a Canadian license
  • If you’re moving to the United States, you will need to get a U.S. license 
  • You can purchase U.S. rental car insurance if renting a car on your visit

If you’re traveling in the United States with a Canadian license, your Canadian auto insurance may not always cover you. If that’s the case, you’re probably wondering if you can get U.S car insurance with a Canadian license on your next visit. If your visit is short and you aren’t moving to the U.S., it should be fairly easy to get U.S. auto insurance.

Though, it may not be necessary if your Canadian auto insurance covers you for short stints abroad. Read on to learn how to get U.S. car insurance coverage with a Canadian license and when it won’t be so easy to obtain. If you’re looking to compare multiple car insurance quotes, start browsing today by entering your ZIP code into our online tool above. 

When can you get U.S. car insurance with a Canadian license?

If you have a Canadian license and need to insure a car in the U.S., it is worth reviewing the differences between Canadian car insurance and U.S. car insurance.

For the most part, you can get U.S. car insurance if you are:

  • Renting a car
  • Visiting for a short period
  • Newly moved
  • Buying a vehicle

If you’re renting a car in the U.S., you can easily get insurance coverage from the rental car company, even with a Canadian license. The rental car coverage will meet all U.S. liability requirements. 

Another situation where you could get U.S. car insurance with a Canadian license is if you’re visiting for a short period and your Canadian insurance won’t cover you. When driving a Canadian car in the USA, most states and companies allow you to purchase a short-term policy for your car with your Canadian license. 

If you’re a Canadian buying a vehicle in the U.S., you’ll need to buy a U.S. insurance policy. However, the process of doing this can sometimes be tricky. If you are a Canadian buying a car in the USA, do your research on buying a car and insurance in a foreign country before purchasing a vehicle in the country. 

Finally, if you recently moved to the United States, there is usually a grace period to update your license, meaning some insurers will accept your Canadian license when you buy U.S. insurance. However, you’ll need to send them your updated U.S. license once everything is updated.

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When You Can’t Get U.S. Car Insurance With a Canadian License 

If you stay longer than six months or move permanently to the U.S., you may need a U.S. license to purchase U.S. insurance. As we stated earlier, some insurers allow a grace period to switch your license over, but if you’re staying for a while or moving permanently, you may need a different license.

Some insurers may accept your Canadian license if you aren’t permanently moving or require an International Driving Permit (IDP). You can apply for an IDP online at the Canadian Automobile Association. Requirements vary by insurer and state, so check with your local DMV in your new state.

In some cases, you may not even need to worry about getting car insurance with a Canadian license.

When do I not need to purchase U.S. car insurance?

Most Canadian insurers will cover your car insurance claims if you’re vacationing in the United States. Give your insurer a quick call to double-check, but you’ll be fine in most instances.

What coverages do you need on your U.S. auto policy?

If you’re looking to buy a U.S. insurance policy, it’s important to make sure you’re fully covered. Most states require drivers to carry, at minimum, property damage and bodily injury liability auto insurance coverageThese coverages protect you if you cause an accident that damages another’s property or injures another person.

Not having liability coverage is illegal in most states and results in heavy fines.

While not required in most states, you should consider comprehensive and collision car insurance coverage. Collision will pay for your damages after a collision with another car or object, regardless of fault, while comprehensive car insurance covers various damages from natural disasters, vandalism, animals, and more.

The Final Word on U.S. Car Insurance With a Canadian License 

You generally won’t need to get U.S. car insurance for short trips. However, if you’re staying longer and need a U.S. car insurance policy, you can usually buy a temporary policy from a U.S. auto insurance company. 

If you want to jump right into finding a U.S. insurance policy, a free quote comparison tool can help you find the best insurance rates. Feel free to use ours below, just enter your ZIP code to begin.

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.

A former insurance producer, Laura understands that education is key when it comes to buying insurance. She has happily dedicated many hours to helping her clients understand how the insurance marketplace works so they can find the best car, home, and life insurance products for their needs.

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Written by Laura Berry
Former Insurance Agent Laura Berry

Joel Ohman is the CEO of a private equity backed digital media company. He is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, author, angel investor, and serial entrepreneur who loves creating new things, whether books or businesses. He has also previously served as the founder and resident CFP® of a national insurance agency, Real Time Health Quotes. He has an MBA from the University of South Florida. Jo...

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Reviewed by Joel Ohman
Founder & CFP® Joel Ohman

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