Car Insurance for International Drivers

If you're someone with an international or foreign license and you're either visiting, studying or planning on living in Canada, and in turn, looking to drive while you’re here, there are some important details you'll need to know before getting behind the wheel of a car. From licensing to insurance, we'll help cover some questions you may have around Canadian car insurance for international drivers.

Do I need to get a Canadian driver's license?

Whether you need to get a Canadian driver's license or not will depend on the province you're staying in and how long you intend on staying there. For example, in Ontario, if you’re visiting for a period of 3 months or less, you'll typically be okay to drive using a valid license from your home country. If you're visiting for over 3 months, you'll be required to obtain an International Driver's Permit (IDP) from your home country. Having an IDP will allow you to drive in another country without taking additional tests or submitting other applications, but you will need to carry the IDP with you alongside a valid license from your home country.1 If, however, you intend on settling down in your selected province, you will be required to get a license for that specific province you plan on residing in.

Does my international license carry over to Canada?

This again will depend on which province you plan on living in. Some provinces will require you to start fresh and take all required testing in order to obtain a license for that province. And other provinces will let you exchange your home country license for a province-specific license, again depending on the country you're from. For example, in most provinces there are license exchange agreements with other countries where you can do a direct license change, without going through additional testing.

Find out the specific license requirements needed for your chosen province here:

Do international drivers need to have car insurance in Canada?

Yes, in fact, it's against the law to drive in Canada without a valid license and car insurance. But keep in mind that car insurance follows the car and not the driver. If you own the vehicle you’re driving, you'll need to make sure it's insured. If, however, you're driving a friend or family member's vehicle either occasionally or on a regular basis, you'll want to make sure you're added to their car insurance policy before driving. This will help ensure you're protected in the event of an accident leading to a claim.

Depending on the province you plan on residing in, insurance requirements can vary. But, regardless of province, your policy can consist of two parts:

  • Standard or Mandatory coverage: The base policy we offer and the minimum coverage required in your province.
  • Optional coverage: Additional coverage options that you can opt into to help enhance your base policy and cover you/your vehicle in the event of an accident or covered loss.

It's important that you have proper coverage and meet the necessary licensing requirements applicable to your province, so ensure you have all the right documentation with you before driving off in a vehicle.

How does an international driver get car insurance in Canada?

If you're an international driver looking to drive in Canada, you may want to double check with the insurer from your home country to see if your coverage will extend to cover you during your time in Canada. If not, you'll need to get insurance with a Canadian insurer. To get a car insurance policy in Canada, it may be wise to do some shopping around for a policy that fits your needs and your budget. Keep in mind that all insurance companies will decide the cost of your premium based on multiple factors such as the car you drive, where you live, and the coverage you choose, among other things. If you're looking to get insured and are curious about what TD Insurance can offer you, get started with an online quote in just minutes below.

The content on this page is for general information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Coverages described herein may be subject to additional eligibility criteria, limitations and exclusions. In the event you make a claim, potential indemnification is also subject to the receivability of the claim and the type of coverage you bought.

In the case of conflict between the content on this page and your policy wordings, your policy wordings shall take precedence. Please speak to an Advisor or consult your policy wordings for further details.