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3 Tips for driving your car in the United States

June 27th, 2016  |  Auto Insurance

Taking road trips is fun and crossing the border into a new country is exciting. Whether it's for a weekend getaway or a cross country trip, before you leave for a vacation down south, there are some things you need to keep in mind when it comes to driving in a foreign country and your car insurance. Even though Canadians can usually cross the border freely into the United States, your car insurance may not follow you so easily. If you're headed down south on wheels there are some things you need to know about driving your car in the United States. 

You may need extra car insurance

Contact your car insurance company to see if your current car insurance policy covers you, your passengers, your belongings, and your vehicle while driving out of the country. If not it may be time to shop around for new car insurance.

Many states require a minimum amount of insurance for all drivers, both domestic and foreign. If you're pulled over or get into an accident without proper insurance coverage, you could find yourself paying big bucks out of pocket.

Check if you're covered for a rental car

If you don't want to take your car across the border and are renting a car, be sure to check if you're covered while driving into the United States. There are two ways you can get car insurance while out of the country: you may be covered under your primary car insurance policy or you can purchase the daily car insurance from the rental agency. 

The car insurance from the rental agency is usually approximately $29.95 per day. It's a good idea to ask if the car insurance covers you for a trip out of the country before committing to buy. That may sound like a lot of extra money to add onto the price of a car rental, but it's better than paying to cover damages or theft to the car. If the rental agency doesn't offer all-inclusive car insurance, you may need to purchase additional car insurance under your primary policy.

Learn the rules of the road

The last thing you want to do is get pulled over and find yourself with a traffic ticket in a foreign country. That means fees in a foreign currency. The dollar exchange isn't exactly in the favour of Canadians these days, so watch the speedometer when heading south. When driving on highways and interstates in the U.S., always look for the posted speed limit and other road rules such as texting while in motion. 

Keep in mind that 100 km/hour equals 60 mph. Most cars allow drivers to change dashboard functions (temperature and speedometer) and GPS settings into American system measurements to reduce confusion while driving in the States. The rules also vary from state to state, so if you're headed on a long road trip it may be best to look up the regulations before hitting the road. It's always better safe than sorry whenever you travel.

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