Finding insurance for your camper(van) as a tourist in Canada can either be really simple or nearly impossible depending on which province you’re in.
When we were looking to buy a campervan in Canada in February 2022, we never expected that insurance would be the most difficult piece of the puzzle. We made some mistakes that could have been avoided if there was any good information online about this process. But unfortunately, we couldn’t find any of this information.
So that’s why I’m writing this post: to help you make find insurance for your campervan in Canada as a tourist.
- Things to know before you look for insurance
- You need to be insured in the province where you register the vehicle
- Where can you register a vehicle as a tourist?
- How to find camper(van) insurance as a tourist in Canada
Things to know before you look for insurance
Before you start applying for online insurance quotes, here are some things you should know:
- What kind of insurance do you want? Do you want third-party liability insurance only, or do you also your own campervan to be included in the insurance?
- How long will you want to be insured?
- Will you be traveling to other provinces in Canada?
- Will you be traveling to the USA with your campervan?
- How much of the coverage period will you spend outside of the province?
In our case, we wanted third-party liability insurance only. We wanted to be insured for the entirety of our trip, so for a full year. Our plans included traveling to the USA and outside of the province. In fact, we would spend 95% of the time outside of the province where we registered the vehicle in.
You need to be insured in the province where you register the vehicle
Every province in Canada carries its own set of rules. As a result, you need to have your vehicle insured in the province where you register your vehicle.
Believe me, we called over 50 insurance companies, both inside and outside our province, and they would only think about insuring our plans if we registered our vehicle in their province.
So as a general rule of thumb: if the insurance company doesn’t have an office in your province, don’t bother calling them!
Where can you register a vehicle as a tourist?
I wrote an entire article dedicated to this question, but there are currently only 3 provinces in Canada that allow you to register a vehicle in your name as a tourist:
- British Columbia.
- New Brunswick.
How to find camper(van) insurance as a tourist in Canada
Depending on where you’re looking to register, I’ll go through the process for each province.
Finding vehicle insurance as a tourist in British Columbia
Finding insurance for your campervan as a tourist in British Columbia is the easiest when you’re in British Columbia.
The ICBC (The Insurance Corporation of British Columbia) provides auto insurance for all vehicles registered in B.C.
In fact, their basic insurance is the mandatory coverage you need for a vehicle in B.C.
When I researched my options, I gave their support line a call, and it was super straightforward:
They offer third-party liability insurance for tourists for a minimum coverage of 200,000 Canadian Dollars. If you want more coverage (which is recommended if you’re also visiting other provinces or the USA), you can opt for extended coverage.
I gave them my situation. For a full year of coverage, with third-party liability coverage for up to 2 million Canadian Dollars, they quoted me 1,600 Canadian Dollars. This would include travel to the USA and other Canadian provinces.
To make it even easier, the ICBC is also the place where you’ll need to go to in order to register the vehicle to your name. So basically, you could have both your insurance and vehicle registration arranged within a single afternoon!
Finding vehicle insurance as a tourist in Quebec
When we traveled to Canada, we decided to start looking for a campervan in Montreal, Quebec. What we didn’t know at the time is just how hard it is to find a suitable insurance plan for our travels in Quebec.
In fact, we called over 40 insurance companies in Quebec, and none of them were able to offer us a suitable insurance plan.