The simple answer to this question is yes. Your car insurance will cover you if you drive to another state, even if that state has different minimum limits or coverage types. You can very safely plan a cross-country trip without worrying about whether or not your policy follows you. Just make sure your premium has been paid and your policy is still active.
Your financial liability if you cause an accident does not change regardless of where the incident happens. If you do not have enough coverage to pay for an accident, you will become financially responsible and end up having to pay the difference out of your own pocket. With that in mind, you should make sure you are carrying as much liability coverage as you can reasonably afford.
Where does my policy cover me?
Your policy will cover you in any state in the United States. Some companies do not offer insurance in all states, but this does not matter. As long as you live in the state where your policy was purchased, you can travel anywhere you’d like within the country.
If you plan on driving to Mexico, you may have to purchase a separate policy to cover your stay in Mexico. Talk to your insurance agent to find out if your company has a subsidiary in Mexico. If not, you may need to talk to a travel agent or international provider.
If you are driving to Canada, you do not need to purchase separate insurance. The Canadian and United States governments have a reciprocal agreement that allows drivers to travel without any special insurance needs. You are, however, still held to the rules regarding tourism and visa programs. If you were to stay in the country illegally, your auto insurance would automatically cease to cover you.
A note about rental car coverage
While most auto insurance policies with comprehensive and collision coverage will extend to rental cars, in your state or in another state, you should consider purchasing rental car coverage from the leasing company you use. Your car insurance policy will only pay to fix the damage to your rental car if there is an accident. The rental company will, however, try to bill you for “loss of use” – the amount of time they can’t rent the car out because it is in the shop being fixed. Usually the insurance offered in the rental contract does cover loss of use. It may change the cost of your rental car experience, but it may be worth the savings if you have an accident.
Not sure about your travels and how your insurance policy applies? Contact your insurance professional for help!