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International Driving Permit: What You Need to Know

Auto Insurance

By Joanne Lemna | June 22, 2017

Planning on travelling internationally this year? Thinking about renting a car or borrowing a friend or family’s car to head out for some of your own sightseeing? You should consider getting an international driving permit. While many  would tend to dismiss this as not really necessary and not think twice about taking just their regular Canadian driver’s license what happens if a foreign country doesn’t accept your license?  This is generally something you wouldn’t necessarily think about until it happened to you. This is why we often tell clients to consider getting an international driving permit and to educate themselves about what exactly the process entails.

What You Need To Know About An International Driving Permit

An international driving permit is simply a permit that universalizes your Canadian license. This means that most foreign countries will accept it as a valid driver’s license. You must carry it in tandem with your normal Canadian license in order for it to be effective wherever you happen to be driving.

The benefits of an international driving permit are that you have an addition form of photo identification and it is readily accepted by car rental agencies worldwide. It also translates your license into multiple languages and smooths the process of renting a car or having to communicate with foreign police officers if you’re stopped for traffic violations.

How to Apply for an International Driving Permit

Depending on your province or territory the requirements may vary in terms of what exactly you need to do to apply for an international driving permit. To start you do have to be at least 18 years of age and possess a valid Canadian driver’s license. If for some reason your license has been suspended or you only have a learner’s permit or some other form of provisional license you will not be able to apply for the international driving permit.

As far as application materials you will need to fill out an application form and supply two passport sized photos. In order to process the application there is a $25.00 fee. Generally if you go in person to apply for your international driving permit the process can take less than an hour to complete. If you opt to mail in the application and supporting materials you should allow up to 3 weeks. The permit is good for one year from the time of issue and can then be renewed but again this will depend on your individual circumstances at the time of renewal.

Does an international driving permit affect my car insurance?

Regardless of what country you are driving in you definitely need to make sure that you have a car insurance policy in place. T alk to your insurance broker about rental car insurance and what you’ll require for any international driving as well as discuss what type of effect driving with an international driver’s license in a foreign country will have on your individual policy. This will depend on your specific travel plans and your policy.

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