Does Your Auto Insurance Cover International Travel?

Does Your Auto Insurance Cover International Travel?Your U.S. driver’s license is valid nearly anywhere in the world where you might find yourself behind the wheel. However, auto policies don’t translate quite as easily. It’s necessary to understand your current auto insurance policy and if it provides coverage to international travel. In order to have a fun and stress-free road trip, plan your insurance needs ahead of time. That way, you’ll avoid language barriers, unexpected bills, and even jail time.

Driving in Canada

Most U.S. auto insurance carriers will still provide coverage to you and your vehicle while you are in Canada. However, you must obtain a Motor Vehicle Liability Card/Canada Inter-Province insurance card. This card can be obtained from your auto insurer at no additional cost. Without the Canada-specific insurance card, you could be liable to fines. This card proves that your U.S. insurance policy meets the requirements for all Canadian provinces.

One of the most important aspects of international travel with your car is to bring all necessary paperwork. This includes proof of U.S. citizenship (passport), vehicle registration, and your Canadian Non-Resident Interprovincial Motor Vehicle Liability Card.

Driving in Mexico

U.S. car insurance policies are not valid in Mexico. You must purchase international car insurance from a Mexican auto insurer if you plan on driving to Mexico to avoid costs of an accident or even time in a Mexican jail. The country requires “proof of financial responsibility” to cover an accident, so even if you aren’t at fault, it could still result in you paying for the damages. Furthermore, if you’re at fault in an accident without purchasing Mexican auto insurance, you could face jail time until you can prove to authorities you can pay for the damages.

While you can buy Mexican auto insurance at the border, it’s both easier and cheaper to purchase it ahead of time. In order to buy international car insurance, you will need the following information ready:

  1. Your license plate number
  2. Your VIN number
  3. Year, make, and model of your car
  4. Your driver’s license number
  5. The dates you’ll be staying in Mexico
  6. Where you will be staying

Communicate with your current auto insurance provider because they are able to assist in the process of buying international auto insurance. For more information about traveling abroad to Mexico, visit

Driving in Central America

Similar to Mexico, U.S. auto insurance companies will generally not cover your vehicle while in Central America. Each country has its own laws regarding auto insurance, so it’s important to plan your travels ahead of time to ensure the safety of you and your family. For example, in Costa Rica, liability insurance is required regardless of your policy in the U.S.

Buying auto insurance online is cheaper than buying it at the border (if they even offer it). So, if you are planning a long road trip down to Central America, it is best to first contact your current auto insurer and plan what countries you will be driving to and when, so you are covered at all times. Plus, why not plan ahead and save some money?

Planning for a road trip can be difficult, but it’s worth it in the end. As long as you properly organize your travels and auto insurance beforehand, you are in for a stress-free vacation. Check out our previous blog, Fall RVing: Don’t Pack Up The Adventure Yet, for some tips to have the best road trip. If you have any questions regarding auto insurance, contact us today at TJ Woods Insurance.