I'm moving to Canada. How do I get car insurance?

If you are going to own a car in Canada you must purchase insurance. It's illegal to drive without it. Follow these few simple steps and you'll find that it's easy to get the right insurance for the right price.

Get a letter of experience from your previous insurance company

If you can, get a letter from the company who insured you where you used to live. Make sure it is on the company's letterhead and that it is the original copy. Some Canadian insurance companies may consider your insurance experience when they determine your rates. The more experience you have, the lower your rates. Some insurance companies may accept your letter as proof, but they are not obliged to recognize any foreign insurance experience.

Learn more about Letters of Experience.

Get a valid Canadian driver's licence.

Most Canadian insurance companies won't provide coverage for people with international licences, so it's important that you get your Canadian driver's licence before you start shopping for insurance. There may be exceptions however, so you will want to do some research. In the meantime, the following will help you look into how you can go about exchanging your current driver's licence for new one from your new province of residence:

Shop around for the best insurance rates.

Unless you are moving to British Columbia, Saskatchewan or Manitoba where insurance is provided by government agencies, you have a long list of insurance companies to choose from. Each company sets its own insurance rates, so you have to shop around to find the one that has the lowest price for you.

Insurance experience

Even though you may have been driving for years and have had previous insurance in another country, most insurance companies will consider you a new driver when determining your insurance rates. The exception here is the United States. Since driving conditions across the border are similar to Canada, insurance companies will often give you credit for having a clean American driving record.

Kanetix® tip for getting quotes!
If you are comparing quotes through Kanetix, and you are coming to Canada from anywhere outside of the U.S., consider yourself a new driver with no insurance experience. Once you know what company offers the best rates for you, give us a call. We can put you in touch with the insurance company of your choice so you can discuss if they will give you credit for your previous insurance experience.

Arrange for your coverage

Once you have made your decision and selected an insurance company, you need to arrange to purchase your insurance coverage. Some insurance companies will let you set up your insurance, and make payment arrangements over the phone. Others require you to send in signed documents and may even require a deposit to begin your coverage. It's best to allow at least two to three weeks before you want the insurance to start in order to make sure you have enough time to complete any necessary paperwork.

Keep your insurance documents with you

Your insurance company will send your insurance documents to you in the mail. The package should include your official policy wording and a wallet-sized card. This card is usually pink and is considered your "proof of insurance." Make sure you keep the card with you at all times when you are driving. If you are stopped by the police and you do not have your "proof of insurance" card with you, you may receive a ticket and that fine could affect your insurance rates in the future.

Government insurance agencies

If you are moving to British Columbia, Saskatchewan or Manitoba, your insurance choice is simple. You have to purchase insurance from the government insurance provider in that province. For more information, check their websites:

British Columbia:

Kanetix is an online insurance shopping service and, more specifically is not an insurance company or brokerage. This response is believed to be accurate at the time of publication, but keep in mind that each person's situation is unique. In addition, this information is subject to change and Kanetix is not responsible for any damages caused as a result of the information included in this response. As such, always check with an insurance provider, or the proper authority, for terms and conditions that may apply to you specifically as the information may vary depending on your insurer, geographic location, and particular individual circumstances.

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