illustration: Jason Schneider

How to Prepare for a Road Trip Down South

By AMA Staff

When we see the word “snowbird,” it’s common enough for us to think about Canadians who fly to U.S. hot spots like California and Florida for the winter. But many Albertans choose to plan a road trip down south instead. If you count yourself among that group of intrepid drivers, consider these rules of the road before starting your engine.

Check expiry dates. Ensure your driver’s licence and vehicle registration don’t expire while you’re out of the country. Sign up online for AMA’s licence and registration renewal reminder services.

Keep your car alive. If your vehicle will be inactive for months at a time, get a battery tender, which ensures the battery maintains a charge at the proper storage voltage. Purchase one at AMA centres or through AMA Mobile Battery Service.

Taking your own car? Your insurance will cover you while driving in the U.S. But inform your insurance provider that you’re leaving the country—there may be extra costs associated with crossing the border.

Driving outside Canada and the U.S.? Get an International Driving Permit (IDP), which is valid in more than 150 countries. It provides a translation of your valid Canadian driver’s licence into 10 languages. Apply in-person at an AMA centre or print an application online and mail it to your local AMA.

Rent a car. When renting, consider adding an SEF 27 endorsement to your insurance policy. For about $30, this add-on extends your own vehicle’s collision, comprehensive and specific perils coverage to a rental vehicle in Canada and the U.S.

Always carry your AMA card. It covers you anywhere in North America. With it, you can receive roadside assistance in the U.S., as well as other countries around the world. Plus you can save at 160,000 rewards partner locations worldwide.

Driving an RV or pulling a trailer? Make sure you have AMA’s Plus RV or Premier RV membership to get coverage across North America. AMA can also help with insurance for your RV.

Involved in a collision? AMA will come to the rescue if you’re the driver or a passenger. After a collision, show your valid membership card and licence to tow operator.

Free fuel delivery. Call AMA if you run out of gas on the road. We’ll deliver emergency fuel to get you going again.

Trip Collision Reimbursement. AMA membership covers expenses for car rental, meals and lodging if you’re in a collision 125 km or more from your home.