WA / BC Border Question

Mar 23rd, 2004, 01:31 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 222
WA / BC Border Question

I will be travelling to British Columbia from Washington...does anyone know if I'll have a problem using a car that is not registered to me(it's my brother's) and not a rental car. Maybe it's a non-issue.
mei is offline  
Mar 23rd, 2004, 03:02 PM
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Non issue.
Sam_Salmon is offline  
Mar 23rd, 2004, 03:24 PM
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It might be smart to have a letter from your brother saying that he has given you permission to use his car. That said I have never been asked to show ownership papers when crossing the border.
Gavin is offline  
Mar 23rd, 2004, 06:52 PM
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Your problem will not be getting into Canada; if you have one, it will be returning home.

Let me suggest that it is better to be safe than sorry. If your personal identification shows you live in a state different from the registration of the car, I think a prudent step would be to have a notarized letter signed by the owner that names you as the authorized operator of the vehicle and the authorized conditions of use.

Also in Canada, you are supposed to have a Canadian yellow card that describes your insurance coverage. Almost all insurance agents have the cards.

But given the state of affairs with the American border patrol people, nothing is a sure bet coming south.

The last several times I have crossed from the States into Canada, the entry was routine. Going from Canada to the States was a different matter; I got the 3rd degree.

I had flown into Calgary and rented a car at the airport to drive to Glacier National Park. When I got to the border, I presented my passport and my rental contract.

Not good enough. First the border patrol agent looked at my passport and started asking me idiotic questions like "What is your name? Where do you live? Why are you in Canada? Why are you driving into the States?" Then we got into whose car it was even though he was looking at the rental contract. Then we had to play games over insurance, with the border guy telling me that my insurance was no good. I made the mistake of telling him that the senior claims officer for my insurance company had assured me that my insurance was valid. The border guy said the claims officer was wrong; that he did not know what he was talking about, and that my insurance was invalid. In essence, the border patrol people know more about insurance than a professional claims agent with over 16 years experience who is also a Chartered Property and Casualty Underwriter -- the highest professional designation in the business. (It is like telling a CPA that he does not understand debits and credits. Hmm. I wonder if the Border Patrol guys are experts on accounting, too??)

So my experience indicates that being prepared may save you a major hassle. On the other hand, nothing may save you a major hassle. Or, you may get a bored wave and a yawn.

But if you have any insurance questions, don't take them up with an insurance expert, ask the US Border Patrol. They know more than CPCUs.
bob_brown is offline  
Mar 24th, 2004, 01:05 PM
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Re: Bob Brown's response: I normally read Bob's posts with admiration and agreement. This time he must have been having a bad day.

While it's possible he just came across a border agent also having a bad day or who is always a jerk, it is more likely the agent was asking questions as he was trained to do, looking not for information he already had but to check it for consistency with the documentation and to detect signs of nervousness. If the response he got was echoed in the tone of your response to this post, you may have flunked an "attitude test".

These men and women at the border are one of our last protections against folks who mean to hurt us in one way or another. They are trained to do specific things to help detect people who are not whom they represent themselves to be. Some of those things may seem stupid or silly to you but they are done with a purpose. If you remember, it was just this kind of silly questioning that resulted in the capture of the Y2K terrorist coming through the border on the way to blow up LAX.

If you reflect on your response, you took the agent to taks for taking on a level of expertise you did not think he had. Your post assumed a level of expertise in border control procedures which you probably don't have.

In my grandson's immortal words: Chill out, Dude!
dwooddon is offline  
Mar 24th, 2004, 02:57 PM
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Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 222
Thanks to all for the advice. I will double check my insurance and get some documentation from my brother. I too appreciate the serious work of the border patrol even though they can sometimes be annoying. On our last visit to Canada they pulled our children aside and asked each if we were there real parents. We were stopped last month in a roadblock in upstate NY and asked a number of questions. Given the state of the world I guess we have to get used to it. Thanks again! Happy (and safe) travels.
mei is offline  
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