Motor Vehicle Accidents and Travel Insurance: What to Know

Whether you’re heading out on a much-anticipated spa getaway, shopping spree, or quick grocery shop at everyone’s favourite cross-border grocery store, Trader Joe’s, there’s nothing quite like taking a road trip to the US from Canada. But let’s not forget that with road trips come potential accidents, even when you cross the border. If you ever find yourself in a motor vehicle accident (MVA) while travelling, here is everything you’ll need to know when filing a motor vehicle accident claim. 

What Kind of Insurance Do I Need for a Road Trip? 

In order to road trip like a pro, it’s essential to have the right coverage for your needs. First and foremost, auto insurance is your primary coverage in a motor vehicle accident, but there are a few things that may not be covered by your auto insurance provider. Here’s how your insurance works in the event of an accident in the US or abroad: 

Collision Insurance 

Offered through your auto insurance provider, collision insurance covers you for damage to your vehicle. It’s important to note that any emergency medical bills incurred outside of Canada aren’t covered by this insurance, making travel insurance imperative. 

Liability Insurance 

This insurance is also offered through your auto insurance provider; it’s third-party or ‘liability’ insurance, covering injury or damage to others. In the US, the other party’s liability insurance will likely not cover all of your emergency costs. 

Travel Insurance 

TuGo’s Emergency Medical insurance protects you from unexpected illness or injuries while travelling outside of your home province. This also applies to motor vehicle accidents, even if you’re driving a friend’s vehicle or a rental car. Here are a few key benefits of our coverage that may help you in the case of a motor vehicle accident, if your auto insurer doesn’t fully cover these expenses: 

  • Hospitalization and treatment for medical emergencies 
  • Ground, air or sea ambulance services 
  • X-rays and other diagnostic laboratory tests 
  • Essential medical supplies, such as crutches 
  • Fracture treatment benefit 
  • Other professional medical services, like physio, etc., to relieve an acute emergency 
  • Emergency dental services 
  • Emergency air transportation 
  • Remote evacuation 

In addition, if your doctor deems you (and your travel companion) unable to drive your car back home, TuGo’s Emergency Medical Insurance will also cover the return of your vehicle, as long as the vehicle is drivable post-accident.

Rental Car Protection 

If you’re planning on renting a car on vacation, purchasing rental car insurance is a good idea. TuGo’s Rental Car Protection optional coverage reimburses you up to a maximum of $75,000 in case of loss due to physical damage or loss of a rented or leased vehicle. This includes costs such as towing, salvage, and fire department charges. Coverage is limited to the original covered vehicle. 

Note: Coverage is also offered through rental car companies, but make sure you read their benefits and exclusions before you head out on your road trip. Always ensure you do a walk around of the rental car as well, and take photos of any irregular sightings, like a chipped windshield, etc. 

How Do I Open a Motor Vehicle Accident Claim? 

1. Open a claim with your auto insurance provider 

Your auto insurance is your primary, first payor in terms of MVA coverage. Once you’ve submitted a claim to them, your auto insurance provider will determine what’s covered under their benefits and how much will be paid. 

2. Give your travel insurance provider a heads up 

Once you start your auto insurance claim, it’s beneficial to let your travel insurance provider know about the accident. This way, they can open a claim and have a note in your file that a claim may be coming, in case your auto insurer does not cover the claim in full. Notifying them from the beginning may speed up the process if you end up claiming under that policy. 

3. Provide all itemized bills, receipts and any other relevant documents 

Keep copies of any documents sent to your auto insurer, as well as those from your auto insurer. Make sure to keep itemized bills and receipts handy to speed up your claims process for eligible expenses. 

4. Submit your claim to your travel insurance provider 

Once you’ve settled your claim with your auto insurer, if any expenses were not paid, that are eligible under your travel policy, advise your travel insurer of the settlement from your auto insurer.  Make sure to specify any payment(s) you’ve received thus far and have all documentation relating to the claim handy. If there are outstanding expenses covered by your travel insurance policy, they’ll help you kick start your claim. To submit a claim at TuGo, email or email 1-800-663-0399. 

Tip: If you prefer to kickstart your claim online, make an account on myTuGo to submit your emergency medical claim electronically. Be sure to send in a copy of the settlement from your auto insurer, so that your travel insurer can see what was and wasn’t paid. 

Regardless of where you’re off to by car this year, drive carefully and don’t forget your travel insurance! Accidents are bound to happen, so protect yourself (and your loved ones) before you leave, and ensure you use our ultimate road trip checklist!  

Remember: All claims are subject to the terms, conditions and exclusions in your policy. Additionally, always review your policy to ensure the expenses you’re claiming are in line with your coverage so there are no surprises! 

Safe travels,

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in November 2014 and has been updated for freshness and/or accuracy. 

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