How long can Canadians keep a car in the U.S.?

01/07/2020
Question:

We are going to be spending a few months in California this winter for the first time and plan to drive our car down with us. Can you please clarify how long we can keep our car in the U.S., as we hearing conflicting information?

Answer:

You can keep a Canadian car in the United States for up to 1 year at a time on a temporary basis for personal use, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). At the one-year mark, you would either need to bring the car back to Canada or permanently import it to the U.S.

Keep in mind that this rule only applies for U.S. customs and import purposes.

Auto insurance is a different story. You should contact your auto insurance company before you leave to find out how long they will insure your car in the United States. Typically, auto insurance providers will only cover you in the U.S. for up to 6 months, but your coverage may have a longer or shorter coverage maximum.

Disclaimer: The material provided on the SnowbirdAdvisor.ca website is for informational purposes only and does NOT constitute legal, tax, accounting, financial, real estate, medical or other advice, and should not be relied on as such. If you require such advice, you should retain a qualified professional to advise you.