Getting car insurance can be a complex process for international students in Canada, especially if you are unfamiliar with the Canadian car insurance system or the regulations that apply in the province or territory where you reside.
Finding a car insurance provider that understands your unique needs and offers affordable rates can be challenging, but it doesn’t have to be.
This comprehensive guide will provide you with all the information you need to find car insurance for international students in Canada.
We will cover the basics of the Canadian car insurance system, the requirements for car insurance in Canada, how to find a car insurance provider, the documents you need to gather, the types and amount of coverage you need, and tips for saving money on car insurance.
Getting car insurance for international students — An in-depth guide
Here’s our guide for finding auto coverage as an international student living in Canada:
Familiarize yourself with the Canadian car insurance system
In Canada, car insurance is regulated by each province or territory. Therefore, the requirements and regulations for car insurance vary by region. The Canadian car insurance system is designed to provide minimum protection for drivers, passengers, and other road users in the event of an accident.
The minimum amount of car insurance required by law in Canada includes third-party liability coverage, accident benefits coverage, and uninsured automobile coverage. Third-party liability coverage protects you if you cause an accident that results in property damage or injury to another person. Accident benefits coverage provides financial support to help cover medical expenses and lost wages if you are injured in a car accident.
Finally, uninsured automobile coverage helps protect you if you are in an accident with an uninsured driver.
Additionally, there are optional types of car insurance that you should consider, such as collision coverage and comprehensive coverage. Collision coverage covers damage to your car if you are in a collision that you cause, while comprehensive coverage protects you against theft, vandalism, and other types of damage.
Learn the requirements for car insurance in Canada
As an international student in Canada, you are legally required to have car insurance if you plan to drive a car. The exact requirements for car insurance may vary by province, but generally, you need to have at least third-party liability coverage, accident benefits coverage, and uninsured automobile coverage.
It is important to note that the amount of coverage required may vary by province. For example, in Ontario, the minimum third-party liability coverage required is $200,000, while in Quebec, the minimum amount required is $50,000.
You can also ask your Surex insurance advisor about the requirements for international car insurance.
How to find a car insurance provider
It can be challenging to find a car insurance provider tailored to your unique needs while having affordable rates. However, there are several steps you can take to find the right provider for you.
Research several providers to compare prices and find the best deal for your needs. Look for providers that specialize in providing coverage to international students, as they may be more familiar with the unique needs and challenges faced by international students and offer policies designed to meet those needs.
You can also ask friends, family, or your school's international student office for recommendations. Read online reviews of car insurance providers to get an idea of their reputation and customer service. You can also team up with an online insurance brokerage, like Surex, to find and compare auto insurance quotes. Taking the time to do this can not only help you find a provider, but it can also help you learn how to get cheap car insurance for international students.
The documents you need to gather
Once you have found a car insurance provider, you need to provide them with some documentation. The exact documents required may vary by provider, but typically, you will need the following:
- A valid driver's license: If you have a driver's license from another country, you may be able to use it in Canada. However, the rules for using a foreign driver's license can vary by province, so be sure to check the requirements in your area. Most carriers will not accept the "home country license" and the student must carry an International Drivers license.
- Proof of residency: You may need to provide proof of your Canadian residency, such as a lease agreement or utility bill. As well, if you own and want to insure your own vehicle, you will need to provide a Letter of Experience from your home country, in English, detailing your insurance history there. This will include how many years you were insured, those dates, and if you had any claims on your prior insurance policies.
- Vehicle information: If you own a vehicle, you will need to provide information about the make, model, and year of the vehicle, as well as the vehicle identification number (VIN).
- Driving history: You may be asked to provide information about your driving record, such as any accidents or tickets you may have received. This will be on a driver's History Report from your home country, and it must be in English.
It is important to gather all the necessary documents before applying for car insurance to ensure a smooth process.
Types and amount of coverage you need
As mentioned earlier, the minimum amount of car insurance required by law in Canada includes third-party liability coverage, accident benefits coverage, and uninsured automobile coverage. However, consider purchasing additional coverage, such as collision and comprehensive coverage, to protect yourself and your vehicle better.
The amount of coverage you need will depend on your circumstances, such as the value of your vehicle, your driving record, and your financial situation. Discuss your needs and budget with your insurance provider to ensure adequate coverage.
Saving money on the best car insurance for international students
Car insurance can be a significant expense, but there are several ways to save money on your policy.
- Shop around: As mentioned earlier, it is important to research several providers to compare prices and find the best deal for your needs.
- Consider a higher deductible: Choosing a higher deductible can lower your monthly premium, but remember that you will have to pay more out of pocket if you are involved in an accident.
- Take advantage of discounts: Many car insurance providers offer discounts for things such as safe driving, taking a driver's education course, or having multiple policies with the same provider.
- Drive a safe and reliable car: Cars considered safer and more reliable may result in lower insurance premiums.
Give these tips a try if you’d like to get the cheapest car insurance for international students.