The last thing you need is an accident in the US. March break is just around the corner and for those who are lucky enough to have a spring time getaway planned, this means you may be embarking on a family road trip or possibly flying to your southern destination. Whether driving in your own vehicle or picking up a rental at your destination, unfamiliar roads and a vehicle full of distractions can sometime be a hazard and vacations can be interrupted by accidents.
Dealing with collisions at home is never an easy task, but navigating the aftermath of an accident across the border can be overwhelming. Should you be involved in an accident in the US , you likely will have many questions about your insurance coverage. Fortunately, in most cases your Canadian insurance will cover you while you are driving in the United States, as long as the trip is only for a vacation and not a permanent move. Take some time to review your insurance policy before you head out and make sure that you are covered.
Rental car accident in the US
When renting a vehicle at your destination, your Canadian car insurance often covers the rental vehicle if you are involved in an accident in the US , but this coverage can vary depending on the specific car insurance policy. Some car insurance policies do not have the same range of coverage for an accident in the US that is available in Canada. Again, it is best to contact your insurance provider and confirm what coverage you have prior to renting.
At the rental counter, the agent will offer you an insurance package should be in an accident in the US . Make sure that you take time to read the fine print. Be sure of the that you understand the type of insurance you are purchasing. Each rental company offers different rental contracts and circumstances where coverage may be denied. Ask for help from the desk agent to explain anything that is not perfectly clear to you to avoid complications and out of pocket expenses in the event of an accident in the US.
Many credit card companies offer some form of rental car coverage. Again, it is best to fully understand what is offered by reading the benefits overview that came with the card. You can often find this online or by calling the toll-free number on the back of the card. Note that these credit cards often require that you pay for the rental car with the credit card itself. Your credit card company may actually provide other forms of travel insurance that you may have never expected; for example, insurance for the theft of personal items while on vacation outside of Canada.
In the unfortunate event that you are involved in an accident in the United States driving your own car or driving a rental car, you should be aware that are some major differences between the Canadian and American insurance systems where policy minimums can leave drivers under insured and paying out of pocket for expenses. In this case, Canadians may be entitled to start a claim against their own insurance company for underinsured benefits (i.e. OPCF 44R coverage).
Accident outside of Canada
If you have been involved in an accident outside of Canada in your own vehicle or in a rental car, reach out to a Personal Injury Lawyer who can help you to pursue the underinsured benefits and navigate the legal system both at home and across the border.