Shuman Roy is an entrepreneur, business owner, and musician. He started RoysNoys, LLC in 2013 as a music production and education service company. He also offers small business consulting and advisory services to help businesses get from start-up mode to turn-key operations. Shuman earned his M.B.A from the Stern School of Business in 2001 and has an undergraduate degree from Manhattan College in ...

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Joel Ohman is the CEO of a private equity-backed digital media company. He is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, author, angel investor, and serial entrepreneur who loves creating new things, whether books or businesses. He has also previously served as the founder and resident CFP® of a national insurance agency, Real Time Health Quotes. He has an MBA from the University of South Florida. Joel...

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Reviewed by Joel Ohman
Founder, CFP®

UPDATED: Jul 19, 2021

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We get questions all the time about whether car insurance coverage is valid in certain circumstances.

Typically, the questions center on who is covered to drive your vehicle. In this post, we’ll tackle the subject of your car insurance validity in locations other than the state in which you live.

“Is my car insurance valid in other states?”

Yes, your liability auto insurance policy automatically adjusts to different state’s requirements as you travel.

Each state has a mandatory minimum liability limit. If your state’s limit is less than a neighboring state’s, your coverage automatically increases when you cross the border (Out-of-state car insurance).

For example, if you have 15/30/25 liability limits (state minimum) on your Louisiana car insurance policy and take a weekend drive over to Texas, your limits automatically increase to 30/60/25 when you drive over the Texas border.

It does not matter who insures your vehicle. All insurance companies must conform to this general rule.

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“Is my car insurance valid in Canada?”

Very likely, yes. Always read your policy or contact your insurance agent to be certain. Canada is not inherently dangerous in the eyes of insurers who offer coverage in the United States. In fact, many larger insurers offer car insurance in Canada as well.

Canada’s legal system works similarly enough to the United States that there are not typically major gaps in what your car insurance coverage provides. This is very unlike Mexico!

“Is my car insurance valid in Mexico?”

Maybe…maybe not. Many insurers will cover short trips into Mexico as long as you are not more than 25 miles or so beyond the border. However, extended trips are not likely covered.

Basically, if you are traveling over the border to go shopping or visit a relative who lives within very close proximity to the United States, your car insurance policy may be valid. However, if you are planning a Mexican vacation and will be out of the U.S. for an extended period of time, you need to get a Mexican car insurance policy.

Even if you have some coverage in place (or believe you do), it’d be wise to purchase a Mexican auto insurance policy for your trip. The rules are different down there and you may end up in a bad spot if you don’t follow them.

Read more about Mexican auto insurance coverage.

“Is my car insurance valid while traveling abroad?”

Nope. Generally, a U.S. auto insurance policy is not valid when you are not in the U.S., its territories or possessions, or Canada. You will want to obtain coverage in the nation in which you are traveling.

Don’t fret, odds are you’re renting a car and the rental company will be able to offer you coverage as part of the rental process. Do yourself a favor and call ahead and shop around. There is likely a premium for the convenience.

Meaning if you show up as an uninformed tourist…you may be taken advantage as such.

Tip: It is recommended that you purchase coverage similar to what you have in the states when traveling abroad. Don’t skimp on coverage because you are in another country. If you were wise enough to purchase high liability limit coverage in the U.S., you should do so when abroad.

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How to Tell If Your Car Insurance is Valid:

There’s really only one way to be certain you’re covered in any given situation.

Before you travel, be sure to read your policy and call your agent or insurer, instead of simply assuming you’re good to go.

Getting into an automobile accident while on vacation is enough of a bummer. Don’t add fuel to that fire by not carrying the proper insurance coverage.

Getting it wrong can be very costly. In Mexico, being wrong can land you in jail…Mexican jail!

Read more: Is car insurance for the car or driver?