How To Get Car Insurance in Canada for Foreigners

Should your travels or employment opportunities take you to Canada, and if you’re considering driving a vehicle, acquiring a proper understanding of car insurance for non-residents in Canada is crucial. This guide aims to simplify the process of securing appropriate coverage, ensuring that your journey on Canadian roads is protected and compliant with regulations.

The allure of Canada’s stunning landscapes, multicultural society, and superior living standards attract numerous foreigners. Be it a brief holiday or a permanent relocation, driving is often the most practical means of discovering this expansive country and its many points of interest.

That said, to drive in Canada, you must possess a valid driver’s license and auto insurance. As a foreign motorist, it’s essential to grasp the rules and regulations related to non-resident car insurance in Canada to circumvent any legal complications or financial burdens.

If you need help finding car insurance after reading this article, you should consider teaming up with an online insurance brokerage, like Surex.

Car Insurance in Canada for Foreigners — An In-Depth Guide


It’s necessary to delve into the specific provisions for non-resident car insurance in the province you aim to visit or inhabit, as rules may differ.

Securing Car Insurance in Canada for Foreigners

Need some help getting coverage in Canada as a foreigner? Here are some tips:

Applying home country insurance

You may be permitted to utilize your home country’s car insurance while driving in Canada under certain circumstances. Discuss this possibility with your auto insurance broker in your home to ascertain if your current coverage extends to Canada.

Acquiring a Canadian driving license

If your existing auto insurance provider doesn’t offer coverage in Canada, you’ll need to secure a Canadian driving license. The majority of auto insurance providers in Canada necessitate international drivers to obtain a Canadian driving license prior to renewing or securing a policy.

For those emigrating from countries like the United States, Japan, Austria, Korea, Belgium, Switzerland, France, Germany, or the United Kingdom, you can legally swap your driver’s license for a Canadian one. You may be asked to undergo a vision or written test, depending on the province you’re moving to.

However, if you’re not from one of these countries or lack a driving license in your home country, you’ll need to undertake the standard licensing procedure for the given province.

Necessary documentation for non-resident car insurance in Canada

As a non-resident in Canada, to purchase car insurance, you’ll need to present the following data:

  • Details of the vehicle you aim to insure (such as make, model, registration number, etc.)
  • Driver’s license number (for all individuals in the household using the vehicle)
  • Any relevant driving safety certificates obtained within the past three years
  • In some cases, you can also present your confirmed driving record to secure better rates. Consult your car insurance advisor for further details.

International Driving License and Provincial Licensing Programs


If your migration plans involve a Canadian province like Ontario, you will need to participate in their province-specific graduated licensing program. You can secure car insurance as a G2 driver, but it will likely come at a higher cost. It’s advisable to wait until you acquire your G-class license in Ontario.

Bear in mind that the requirements and procedures for licensing systems vary across provinces. Certain provinces, like Ontario, do not accept international licenses, while others, like Alberta, allow drivers to swap their licenses under specific conditions.

Pricing of Car Insurance for Foreigners in Canada

The cost of car insurance for non-residents in Canada is influenced by several factors, such as:

  • The foreign driver’s age
  • The foreign driver’s insurance record
  • The foreign driver’s driving experience
  • The location you’re traveling to or relocating to

Given the individual nature of these factors, it’s uncommon for two drivers to pay an identical amount for auto insurance in Canada. Auto insurance tends to be pricier for immigrants, particularly if they cannot substantiate their driving record.

Tenure of Canada Car Insurance for Foreigners


If you’re intending to immigrate to Canada and have completed the necessary requirements, you can explore car insurance options with any provider for a duration that suits your needs. Typically, you’ll need to renew your auto insurance policy annually (though some drivers may need to renew every six months).

If you’re in Canada for a longer visit, you could seek short-term coverage. It’s advisable to secure coverage for one year to err on the side of caution. However, if your stay in Canada is unlikely to span an entire year, you can explore six-month, short-term car insurance options with an advisor.

Long-term Stay Insurance Options in Canada

For those planning an extended stay in Canada, various options exist for non-resident car insurance:

Renting a car: You could rent a car on a monthly basis and acquire insurance from the rental company. Weigh this daily rate against a short-term policy from a standard insurance company to identify the most cost-effective option.

Secondary driver coverage: If you’ll be driving a vehicle owned by a friend or family member, you could potentially be added to their insurance policy. This option often costs less than setting up your auto insurance as the primary driver.

Leasing a vehicle: If you anticipate staying around a year, you might choose to lease a vehicle and acquire insurance from a third party. Utilize a rate comparison website or collaborate with an insurance broker to secure the best deal.

How To Get Car Insurance in Canada for Foreigners — Conclusion


For further information about securing car insurance as an international driver, don’t hesitate to initiate a discussion with a car insurance advisor. They’re equipped to address your queries and guide you towards the most fitting product for your circumstances.