We are Germans traveling to Toronto but want to visit friends in the US as well. We plan to pick up a rental car at Toronto airport (and return it there). I don't find any car rental service that explicitly "allows" crossing borders but some say it is not allowed and some may hide it deeper in their terms and conditions.

Does anybody know...

  1. rental agencies that explicitly allow this?

  2. what happens if I cross the border violating their terms?

  3. why they might have problems allowing this? I mean we're not going to Mexico ;)

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    My biggest concern with this would be that US border agents are under no obligation to reassemble your vehicle in the event they decide to inspect it (which may involve removing significant portions of the car): they will give you a pile of parts and say goodbye.
    – user30447
    Sep 6, 2016 at 21:39
  • I've rented cars in the US on a couple of occasions with the intention of driving the car into Canada. I did not have to shop around to find an agency that would allow it; I just asked whether it was okay and they said yes. I would be surprised if your experience in the other direction is significantly different.
    – phoog
    Sep 6, 2016 at 22:20
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    @GeneralAbrial Any source for that caim? I only found one which claimed the opposite.
    – Nobody
    Sep 7, 2016 at 13:10

2 Answers 2


Unfortunately, you won't get a definitive answer here because this policy can very by agency and even station. I've seen this before.

You will have to call the pickup location specifically* to verify that they allow cross border travel and what, if any, condition apply.

If you cross the border in violation of their terms, you are not legally in possession of the car. This can create legal and insurance complications you don't want. The biggest risk is not having valid insurance.

I've rented 100's of cars. I would find the best deal online, book it, then call the location. Just be sure there's no cancellation penalty.

*I know people don't like this answer, but it the only realistic way the OP can be sure since each station can set their own policy on this, there is no one single corporate policy.

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    Thx :) "I would find the best deal online, book it, then call the location. Just be sure there's no cancellation penalty." is exactly what I'm going to do now. Sep 7, 2016 at 10:07

Done it 10-15 times. You won't have a problem. Inform them at the rental counter but I've never had a problem.

Advice for others: only time this is a problem is a Canadian driving a US-plated car into Canada. Canada doesn't allow this (tax reasons.)

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    Actually the rule about Canadian residents driving US cars was changed in 2012. Article
    – pilotcam
    Sep 6, 2016 at 22:58

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