Canada RV

We hoped to buy an RV in the USA and drive to Canada for summer. The NZ$ to US$ exchange rate crashed, so we are flying to Vancouver to start our road trip.

In the USA there is a great company that sells RV and will even do buy back deals. They arrange registration and insurance using their address.Highway Camper   They have outlets in Vancouver and Calgary but they had sold out when we asked  (6 months in advance !).  They also use US$ and the exchange rate has crashed, so we decided it was better to buy in CAD$.

Then we found They sell their rental vehicles after performing a refurbishment and full service at very good prices.  The Vancouver sales rep, Darcy Dueck, was extremely helpful with our questions and we felt very comfortable doing business with them.  They often sell to international buyers.  We had to purchase in advance to secure the RV of our choice, but he offered us a full money back guarantee, or swap to another vehicle if we weren’t happy on arrival.  We had plenty of pictures to review so we are confident we will love this RV when we see it.  He will also arrange a registration and insurance agent to be on site when we pickup.

Buying in advance means you don’t get to see the vehicle until you drive away, but you do get to choose over a period of time while you plan.  There are independent RV inspection services you can hire for a pre-purchase check.  We were so impressed with the inspection / refurb service at Cruise Canada we didn’t bother with this.

If you are a foreign buyer one of the hurdles to overcome is a residential address for registration and insurance. If you are buying in USA, Highway  Camper will sort out registration and insurance.


In BC vehicle registration and mandatory liability insurance is done with ICBC.  They have Autoplan brokers all over that can provide advice and assistance.  HOWEVER, they don’t deal with non residents often and it’s only when they ring ICBC to sign up the paperwork that the find out there is a restriction on non residents of 3 months. For residents insurance covers all of Canada and USA, non residents some tines limited to just BC. You do need a postal address, but not proof of address, so you just need some friends who live there to use their address.  If you do buy in Canada the best option is to register the vehicle in a residents name, if you are lucky enough to have one that will do this for you.

To get the maximum no claims discount you need a driver history letter from your insurance company for the past 8 years.

Here is an extract from the ICBC documentation :

Foreign visitors proof of identification

Occasionally visitors from other countries purchase vehicles in BC, especially motor homes, that they use while they are traveling around the province. Then they sell the vehicles when they are ready to return home.

One primary and one secondary identification document for a foreign visitor must be presented for vehicle registration and licensing purposes. You may accept the following documents as proof of identity.

Primary identification Secondary identification
·         Visitor Record or other acceptable Canadian Government-issued immigration document valid for six months or less (e.g. study permit, work permit, etc)

·         Foreign E-Passport (machine readable) displaying

·         picture

·         date of birth

·         name, and

·         signature of applicant

·         with official seal/crest/stamp of issuing agency/country.

·         Foreign Passport displaying

·         picture

·         date of birth

·         name, and

·         signature of applicant

·         with official seal/crest/stamp of issuing agency/country.

·         NATO Identity Card displaying

·         name of applicant

·         date and place of birth

·         nationality, and

·         picture.

·         Foreign Government issued Certificate of Birth – displaying

·         date of birth

·         full name of applicant, with

·         official seal/crest/stamp of issuing agency/country.

·         Geneva Conventions Accompanying Forces Card

·         Geneva Conventions Identification Card

·         Identification and Privilege Card issued after October 2006 displaying

·         picture

·         date of birth, and

·         name of applicant.

·         All primary documents

·         Foreign Drivers Licence displaying

·         date of birth

·         name

·         signature of applicant, and

·         official seal/crest/stamp of issuing agency/country.

If the document is not in English, then it must be accompanied by

o    a valid International Driving Permit (IDP) issued by a country other than Canada; or

o    an original translation displaying the date, signature, and official stamp of an ICBC approved translator or Consular Official.

·         Credit Card – displaying name and signature of applicant.

·         Foreign Government Issued Identity Card displaying

o    name and signature of applicant, or

·         name and date of birth, and

·         official seal/crest/stamp of issuing agency/country.

·         Foreign Military Identity Card – issued by a foreign government agency displaying

·         nationality

·         name of applicant

·         date of birth

·         picture, and

·         official seal/crest/stamp of issuing agency

Consider buying in Alberta.  There is no provincial tax in Alberta, and the insurance is done by separately from registration, so you can use independant brokers, not agents.  A very helpful contact is Linda Bannerman,

The insurance is expensive, but offset that against no sales tax on the RV and peace of mind on your coverage.

Buying in USA

We met a NZ couple that had bought a RV from Cruise America Las Vegas.  All they needed was an address somewhere in the States,  preferably Montana as there is no sales tax.  They got insurance from Overland Insurance Services, US$777, and registration US$155.

Another insurer is Progressive Assurance company.

Seems a lot simpler than Canada

Money Transfer :

Transferring money internationally is easy these days.  We bank with ASB.  Even when overseas we can authorise international transfers using standard internet banking, but you do need a netcode token to generate auth codes if your NZ cell phone doesn’t roam  (only $1 per month fee). These take 2 weeks to arrange so dont leave to the last minute!  However for large one off transfers I’d recommend They have much better rates than the banks and we saved over $300 on our purchase.

Our new home :


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