Get ready for a rant! Because, although most of Canada is awesome, some things are truly not. Remember we bought a car? I drove everywhere in it and it was a-may-zing. I felt the freedom like the wind in my hair. (Of course it was too cold to drive with the windows open, but you get the idea!) Life was good.
Until a week later, when we got the email from the insurance company that they would not accept our Dutch driver’s licenses. Dave could obviously exchange his for an Alberta one, being a Canadian citizen, but I cannot until I get my visa. When Dave exchanged his, we did check about the rules regarding Dutch licenses and yep, no problem, I can drive all over Canada totally legit with my Dutch license for a year after arrival.
So we went back to the insurance and asked them if they were sure. After all, it is a totally legal document!? The answer came back (surprisingly?) quick: ‘We won’t accept it until we see an international driver’s license.”
“How about a letter of authentication from the Dutch government?” This states that my license is registered in the Netherlands and that it is real. You can get this document online, which would be very convenient.
“Nope, an international driver’s license only.”
So, let’s think about this for a minute… With my Dutch license I can (and did) rent a car in Canada, I can (and did) drive in another person’s car as a casual driver, but I cannot get an insurance to drive in our own car. Which means that I basically can drive in everyone else’s car here in Canada, except in my own… Also, everyone else in Canada can drive my car, except me…
Of course I don’t have one on me. To be honest I never ever had to produce one, so it’s not like a thing. I did some research and I have to get the International Driver’s License from the Netherlands. The good old ANWB, every Dutchie knows it, kind of like the triple A in the US, I have no idea what it is in Canada (yet, I’m sure). A quick browse on the ANWB website confirms what I know about the international license: you can only get it when you apply in person at one of the many ANWB shops in NL. A Facebook chat with Youssef from the ANWB confirms this. I have to go to Holland to get it.
Just to be clear, I don’t need the license to be able to drive, I only need it for the insurance.
So I need to fly back to the Netherlands to get a stupid document that is not even issued by the Dutch government (who by the way will send me a letter of authentication, that my license is valid and registered in The Netherlands.)
Oh, and also the insurance is going to treat us as new drivers as far as the premium is concerned. Unless we can get give them a Certificate of Merit from the country we drove in over the last 2 years. This is in Singapore of course and had we knows a document like this even existed, we would have applied for it while still in Singapore. (Click here for Certificate of Merit). We did get a letter from our insurance company in Singapore stating that we’d been good drivers, but that apparently is not good enough.
Now that we have left we cannot apply for this certificate online, so if anyone would like to volunteer to get one for us, we’d be very thankful….
Anyway, until I go back to NL and get the bloody permit I cannot drive in my own car. We are fresh out of other people’s cars to drive around in, so this means that Dave is driving me around to everywhere. And even though he is a great driver, a dedicated driver he is not. So we are kind of getting into this new routine, where I get to be driven around and he has to fit all that into his day schedule. This makes for trying conversation at the breakfast table. Also everything is a lot less efficient and takes way more time than necessary.
Ridiculous. It’s like being warped back to the days that women were not allowed to drive.
Anyway, I booked my flight back to NL (to celebrate my dad’s 80th birthday, not specifically to get the international permit 😉 ) and when we get back, I can get back in touch with the freedom I felt before. By then the temperature should be a lot nicer as well and I might even be able to drive with the windows open!
P.S. 28/05/2019 Internet rocks! We got a tip from someone who had gone through the same thing here except she did find an insurance company that would accept a Dutch driver’s license. They took me too, so yay! I’m driving again and cruising around with the wind in my hair for real as the weather has improved. Life really is good again!