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US Car Insurance for a Temporary Canadian Citizen

Written by Michele Wilmonen. Posted in Ask An Insurance Question Last Updated: 10/31/2017

Q: Hi! I’m a US citizen and I am coming to Canada for a year through IEC working holiday visa, so I’ll be a temporary resident and I’ll be bringing my car with me. Do I need to get Canadian insurance on my car?

A: This is a great question for your car insurance agent as there are a couple of things going on here. First, I am located in the United States, so I can only speak of our insurance rules and regulations here. Second, your car insurance here in the US does normally cover you while you are traveling in Canada, so normally you would not need Canadian car insurance. However, with you being in Canada for a year as a temporary resident this changes your residency and the regular location of where the vehicle is for that long of a period of time; both items car insurance companies use to determine what state and country your car insurance should be from.

Your car insurance agent will be able to tell you if your car insurance company here in the United States would still extend coverage during your time in Canada or if you would need to purchase car insurance coverage on a Canadian policy.  The good news is, even if you do have to get Canadian car insurance, your US policy will still provide you at least temporary coverage while you are getting your Canadian car insurance coverage in place.

Vandalism Damage and “Full Car Insurance Coverage”

Written by Michele Wilmonen. Posted in Ask An Insurance Question Last Updated: 10/31/2017

Q: I have a 2001 vehicle that I only have full coverage on and my car was vandalized but I don’t have collision and comprehensive because age of car, does full coverage still cover the damage?

A: Full coverage does not actually exist, but when that term is used it means that you have both liability coverage and physical damage coverage for your own vehicle on your car insurance policy. In the absence of collision and comprehensive coverage, you don’t have what is commonly called “full coverage”.

With that being said, what you are protected from on your car insurance policy is determined by the specific coverages you have and not an all-encompassing term. Towing coverage will pay for your vehicle to be towed, bodily injury liability coverage will cover the medical payments for those you injure in a car accident, personal injury protection covers your medical payments, etc. Just because you are told you have full coverage, it doesn’t mean that everything you can think of is covered.

In the absence of comprehensive coverage, you do not have protection under your car insurance policy that will cover the vandalism damage to your vehicle. I understand that your vehicle is older, but I would highly suggest that you sit down with your car insurance agent and go over your policy to make sure you understand what coverages you have and don’t have. Also, what car insurance coverages you need, regardless of the age of your vehicle.

Why Doesn’t my Tracking Device Decrease my Car Insurance Premium?

Written by Michele Wilmonen. Posted in Ask An Insurance Question Last Updated: 10/01/2017

Q: I have a tracking device on my car, but my car insurance company won’t give me a discount on my car insurance for having it, why? Isn’t this a safety feature for if the car gets stolen?

A: Yes, it is a safety feature for WHEN the car gets stolen. The car insurance companies look at tracking devices as a safety feature that will help in the recovery of a stolen vehicle, not one that would prevent the vehicle from being stolen in the first place. This is why they don’t offer a discount for it off your car insurance premium and instead will waive your comprehensive deductible if your vehicle is ever stolen and you do have a tracking device on it.

This may sound silly because that tracking device will help get your car back to you and you won’t need the claim anyway, but if they do find your vehicle after it has been stolen and it has been stripped for parts, the offer is really not as silly as it may sound at first.

Also, tracking devices are not always dependable. I checked mine from the bus the other day and it said my car was parked 100 miles south of me up in the mountains, not at the transit center where I had parked it that morning. I went into full panic mode that my car had been stolen, only to find it safely parked right where I had left it that morning.

Does a Hit-and-Run Affect my insurance?

Written by Michele Wilmonen. Posted in Ask An Insurance Question Last Updated: 10/01/2017

Q: I walked out to my car this morning and someone hit my car overnight and didn’t leave any car insurance information. If I file this with my car insurance company, will it affect my rates?

A: The unfortunate answer is, yes it can. Anytime you file a claim on your car insurance policy it has the potential to increase your rates, regardless as to whether it was your fault or not. There are two pieces of good news for you though. One, if you have uninsured motorist coverage and you file a police report for the hit-and-run, your insurance company will pay out under the uninsured motorist coverage and you may not have to pay a deductible. Two, if the amount of your damages are minor and the cost of repairs come in under a certain dollar amount, your insurance company may not increase your rates. Like always, the threshold varies from company to company and it is always good to check to see as to what threshold your car insurance company has.

If your car was parked in an apartment parking lot or in a residential area, most likely the person that hit you lives near you. So it would be a good idea to go around and look at other people’s car to see if you can find damage that matches up to yours. If you can, then your car insurance company will have someone to go after, which can save you the rate increase, as well as being able to get your deductible back if you did end up paying that out of your own pocket.

How Bad Does a DUI Affect my Car Insurance?

Written by Michele Wilmonen. Posted in Ask An Insurance Question Last Updated: 09/30/2017

Q: I just got my first DUI, what is that going to do to my car insurance?

A: Wow, I don’t even know where to start to explain to you how badly this is going to jack up your insurance rates. First, you aren’t going to see it right away, because most likely your license is going to be suspended for a certain period of time. And please don’t bother driving during this time period, because if you get caught you can add another serious infraction to the list of things that are now going to increase your rates.

When you get your license back, most states require that you now carry SR-22, FR19 or some other form of financial responsibility addition to your insurance policy. So first, you can add the filing fee for this financial responsibility that your car insurance company now has to send to your state. Second, most insurance companies also increase your premium, on top of the filing fee,  if you have to carry an SR-22 or other form of financial responsibility. Third, that SR-22 or other financial responsibility filing that you had to ask to have added to your policy midterm is going to flag your insurance company that something is up and they will run your MVR the next renewal, which may be much sooner than they had originally planned on running it. Fourth, once they do run that MVR they are going to find your DUI (which is a serious infraction charge, by the way) and anything else that has been added to your MVR since the last time your car insurance company ran it.

All-in-all, you shouldn’t have got yourself a DUI if you wanted to keep your car insurance rates reasonable.

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