You may be planning a winter break travelling for an extended period to warmer parts of the United States or Mexico, however before you leave consider your insurance. Leaving your home unoccupied for an extended period of time or storing your car while away, could affect your insurance. We answer your most common insurance questions regarding your trip and the things you value back home.
1. If I decide to drive my car outside of Canada, is my existing car insurance still valid?
Your Canadian auto insurance provides full coverage while travelling throughout the Unites States. If you’re planning to drive to Mexico, you will need to purchase Mexican auto insurance as your Canadian coverage will stop as soon as you enter the Mexican border. You can either purchase your Mexican insurance in advance by contacting a Mexican insurance company or on the spot once you arrive at the Mexican border. For other countries, be sure to contact a BrokerLink broker to discuss options.
You may want to increase your auto liability limit while travelling abroad. Most policies have a $1 million liability limit, however injuries resulting from an accident or lawsuits could exceed this amount. Contact your BrokerLink broker to confirm the maximum amount of insurance coverage available.
2. I am leaving my car at home for several months. Should I cancel my auto insurance?
No, you should keep your vehicle insured in case damage occurs while you are away. If your vehicle is parked privately, securely and no one has access to it, such as parking in a garage, you may be able to remove liability and collision coverage from your policy. This will reduce your coverage to fire and theft. If you are leasing or financing a vehicle, the financing rules may require you to maintain full coverage on the vehicle, no exceptions.
3. Does my car insurance cover me while driving a rental car outside of Canada?
Generally your existing auto insurance policy will automatically extend third party liability coverage to the rental vehicle. Regarding collision and comprehensive coverage you will need to check with your broker to find out if you have this coverage on your auto policy back home. Any limits on your existing auto policy will also extend to the rental vehicle. Make sure that your current coverage matches the value of your rental car or you may be liable for the difference. Note, that if you decide to reduce the coverage for your car back home to fire and theft, your rental car will not be insured through your auto insurance policy. To make sure you are properly insured and to update your coverage limits contact your broker before you pick up the keys to your rental car.
If you rent a car in the US, your car insurance extends to the rental car, however, some types of vehicles such as vans and trucks may not be covered. If you rent a car in Mexico, you will need to purchase alternative coverage or check if you have rental coverage through your credit card. Speak with a BrokerLink broker to check limits and details on your existing auto insurance before you rent a car outside of Canada.
4. Do I need travel insurance?
Travel insurance is essential for every trip abroad and for travel between Canadian provinces. If you become ill or injured and require hospitalization or a doctor’s visit while away from home, you could be faced with an expensive bill. Medical or evacuation costs can quickly add up, so be sure to select travel insurance limits accordingly. Be aware of the fact that your provincial medical coverage will not always extend to trips outside your province and has strict limits even for travel within Canada. Consider purchasing a travel insurance plan which includes trip cancellation and interruption insurance, as well as baggage coverage. You can learn more about travel insurance or by speaking with a BrokerLink broker.
5. Can BrokerLink provide me with insurance coverage for my seasonal property outside of Canada?
This depends on where your seasonal property is located. A quick call with a broker can help to confirm your options.
6. What can I do to protect my home while I am away?
To prevent water damage, turn off the main water supply, open your taps and drain any water remaining in the pipes. If you go away for a longer period of time, add anti-freeze to your drains and toilets. Does your house use a water heating system? Make sure you can turn off your water without shutting down the water supply to your heating system. You may need to consult a plumber to add an additional valve if necessary. Arrange for a trusted friend or neighbour to inspect your property regularly while away and pick up your mail. Inspections need to include all levels inside your house. Check your home insurance policy or ask your broker to find out how often your property needs to be inspected to maintain valid coverage. Regardless of your policy, we recommend daily inspections of your property while being away for an extended period of time, especially during the heating season. Learn more on how to protect your home while away.
Contact your BrokerLink broker to make sure your home, auto and travel insurance policies are up-to-date. We can help you with any questions you may have, so you can enjoy a safe and worry free vacation this winter.