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Thursday, 25 August 2011

Moving to Canada from another country? Need car insurance?

Moving to another country can be an exciting experience. There is a new culture and society to learn about, new food to try and a new climate to enjoy. If you're a driver and would like to have a car in your new home, it is important that you take a measures before leaving your country of origin so that you can be properly insured in Canada.

1. Obtain a letter of experience
This is an essential when applying for insurance in Canada. Your Canadian insurance company will want to see what kind of driving experience you have in your country of origin. Be sure this letter is on company letterhead and that you obtain an original copy. This letter will include:
  • Your personal information
  • Your policy number
  • The start and end dates of your policy
  • Any extra drivers on your policy
  • Claims you made, accidents, and traffic violations
It should be noted that your insurance company reserves the right to consider you a "new driver" if they don't think your letter is credible. If so, you may be forced to pay "new driver" premiums. Be sure to shop around; if one company does not recognize your experience, another may.

2. Get a Canadian driver's license
Before getting insurance, you must have a valid Canadian driver's license. Your existing driver's license may be equivalent to a full license in Canada, so talk to the ministry of transportation in your province about exchanging it. In Alberta, there are a number of countries which have "Reciprocal Licensing Agreements", meaning that individuals from nations who sign the agreement can have their licenses exchanged without requiring a test. To learn more, check out the Alberta Ministry of Transportation article on license exchange.

3. Shop around
One of the most important aspects of buying insurance is shopping around. Find a provider who is able to get you the most coverage for the least amount of money. In Canada, one individual can be given wildly different quotes by different companies. It takes very little time and effort to fill in a few online quotes or make some calls. You could save thousands of dollars on your insurance for only an hour's effort!

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