So you’re switching provinces with your car? While you’re looking forward to your adventure, keep in mind, each province has different legislation. You’ll need to follow different procedures to bring your car into each province. If done incorrectly, you could end up being liable for thousands of dollars worth of damages if you were to end up in an accident.
Here’s what you should do.
Start by checking the provincial government website for your new province to see their recommendations upon arrival.
Deadlines To Switch Over Insurance
Switch over your insurance and your driving license within three months (90 days). This is an important date which is standard across Canada. After this time you will no longer be covered in case of an accident, even if you are still paying your old insurer!
Once you have switched over to the new insurance, you will be eligible for a refund on any insurance that you prepaid for in the old province. Don’t forget to call and cancel this insurance, or you won’t get your money back.
Students Switching Provinces
If you are moving provinces for school, you may be able to keep your insurance and license from your home province. This can be very advantageous depending what province you are moving from. Car insurance rates differ severely between provinces. Do the math and figure out whether you are best to switch over to the new province rates or stick with your home province rates. Keep in mind that there are special rules you will have to follow to keep your home province insurance rates. This can include but is not limited to; always having your student ID on you when you are driving the car, not allowing others to drive your car, and limiting the amount you drive around with it. Contact your insurance provider for more information in this field.
Some provinces will require an inspection when switching provinces with your car. This means that you will have to pay for the inspection. Additionally, any work needed on the car will need to be done before you will be allowed to insure it in the province. If you have an older car, the cost can really stack up, as any problems will need to be fixed immediately. Keep this in mind if you are on a fixed budget.
Vehicle Inspection Exemptions
If you are importing your vehicle in between BC, Alberta, and Saskatchewan there are some rules that apply when switching provinces with your car that may save you money. Eligible vehicles are able to be imported between these provinces without an inspection if they meet the following standards:
- The owner of the vehicle moves to Saskatchewan, Alberta, or BC from another North West Province (Saskatchewan, BC or Alberta);
- The vehicle was last registered in a NWP jurisdiction to the customer applying for the inspection exemption;
- The vehicle is a passenger car, multi-purpose passenger vehicle, motorcycle, light truck or van with a gross vehicle weight rating less than or equal to 4,536 kg;
- The automobile has a normal status reported through the Inter-Provincial Records Exchange (IRE) system; and
- Your vehicle is either:
- less than 4 years old from the date of manufacture; or
- has been inspected as part of a NWP government inspection program within the last 90 days.
If all these describe your vehicle you will be able to apply for an exemption when switching provinces with your car. This will allow you to import the car into the province without an inspection, thus saving you the inspection fee.
Travelling to Victoria from Mainland BC
You will need to catch a BC Ferry to get over to Vancouver Island. If this is your first time travelling by ferry, you’re in for a treat! It’s a beautiful trip. If you’re alert, you might even see a pod of killer whales or sealions!
If you are on a timeline it’s best to check their website for any travel advisories, and also to reserve your space. Make sure you arrive at the terminal at least a good half hour early. Otherwise, you risk losing your reservation. You can make reservations and check advisories on the BC FERRIES website
This article outlines the regular procedure that should be followed to move vehicles between provinces. However, please ensure you look at the official government site before making any decisions. If you have any unanswered questions, please call your insurer to make sure you are getting the correct information. By not following all procedures you can become uninsured, leading to large costs if you were to get into an accident.