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Myself and my wife are planning a trip to Canada for 10-12 months. We are hoping to ship our vehicle over from the UK and use it for tourism-related purposes throughout our stay.

We are struggling to find any companies that would assist us in insuring a British vehicle whilst we are over driving in Canada.

Is this pretty standard, in finding an insurance company here in the UK or in Canada that would be willing to insure us?

Any ideas would be gratefully appreciated

  • This approach is unfortunately a long way from being standard. I'm an expat Brit in Canada, and in nineteen years I have never seen a British registered car here, nor an RHD car (excluding some classic cars). I have no suggestions on how to do this. – DJClayworth Apr 19 '16 at 21:09
  • Don't forget you'll have visa issues trying to stay for 10-12 months to. cic.gc.ca/english/helpcentre/answer.asp?qnum=1016&top=16 – CMaster Apr 19 '16 at 21:37
  • Yes thank you for the visa info. Standard visa entitlement is six months and if one would like to "extend" the visa i believe they have to apply 30 days before the visa ends / expires – jpfalconer Apr 19 '16 at 22:01
  • I would contact the Auto Club, as I imagine they would have details on providers of overseas insurance coverage. I have seen numerous European plated cars (including camper vans from the UK) in the western states and provinces, so obviously insurance is available. – user13044 Apr 20 '16 at 2:03
  • Thank you very much Tom and all that have replied to date. What do you mean by the "auto club" ? If you have seen Euro plates in the western provinces then this must be a possible hurdle to overcome, this is the last hurdle we feel before we book flights, shipping etc.... – jpfalconer Apr 20 '16 at 19:44
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Have you explored the option of an extended car rental? Hertz has a 'Multi-Month' option, for up to 360 days; Avis calls it a 'Mini-Lease,' Enterprise has a 'Long Term' offer, just to mention a few. It avoids the issues of license tags, purchase, registration, etc. and is designed for accommodate, among others, travelers. The rental agencies offer insurance coverage, should your UK insurer not (and you might be able to downgrade your UK coverage for the period that you're absent, at a bit of a savings).

  • Thanks Dorothy, i shall look into long term lease from well known car rental companies. That might have to be an option if nothing works. – jpfalconer Apr 20 '16 at 19:45
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There are two possibilities to consider - and you didn't specify which one you are after.

  1. You want to ship the vehicle to Canada and use it there, but continue driving with the British plates. In this case you should contact your UK insurance company and extend your insurance to cover you while abroad. This isn't going to be cheap for the whole year and not all UK insurance companies will cover Canada, so you may need to switch one. You may want to start reading with this page: Information for Visitors, Tourists and Temporary Residents Entering Canada with Foreign Owned Vehicles, which covers bringing foreign vehicles into Canada while visiting.

  2. You want to ship the vehicle to Canada and re-register it there to drive on Canadian plates. In this case, you need to investigate whether or not it's even allowed. Usually, most vehicles will be prohibited from being imported into Canada. Read this page: Importing vehicles purchased in countries OTHER than the United States - it'll give you the info on whether or not your vehicle can be imported.

In either way, shipping your vehicle to Canada will be expensive - costing several thousand pounds - and take at least a month or so to get there (unless you are talking about air transport, which will cost tens of thousands of pounds). I strongly advice that you leave you VW in Blighty and instead buy a vehicle in Canada, use it while there and then sell it before returning to the UK. You'll save yourself a lot of money and hassles.

EDIT: Whatever options it is, you'll probably find that a brick-and-mortar insurance agent (either in UK or Canada) will be the way to go.

  • Hi and thanks for the comments/suggestions. We have two quotes from shipping agents here in the UK, Costing between £800 too £1200 to ship a vehicle from the UK too Halifax. This is on a "roll on roll off" basis. The crossing takes 8 days and ships leave on a 7 day rota. Ive contacted my current insurance company. No luck – jpfalconer Apr 19 '16 at 21:28
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    Quite a few Europeans ship their camper type vehicles to North America and then use them. Cost to ship versus buying something used is competitive, and by shipping you have a vehicle whose condition is well known, as opposed to an unknown used car. – user13044 Apr 20 '16 at 1:57
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    Be aware also that with no driving record in North America, any insurance obtained through a Canadian insurer will be expensive. If it's possible to do this through your UK insurance I would start there. – DJClayworth Apr 20 '16 at 3:33
  • See a related question about buying a car in the US: travel.stackexchange.com/questions/3620/…. It's not super-easy, unfortunately. – JonathanReez Apr 20 '16 at 8:19

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