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Canadian couple told new car cannot be insured in U.S. after moving to Florida

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A couple from Montreal who recently moved to Florida fear they may have to sell their newly purchased vehicle after Toyota would not provide them a compliance letter, a policy by some manufacturing companies that has seen owners unable to import their cars into the United States.

“I love the car. It’s amazing,” Natalia Whiteley, who just moved to Pensacola, Florida with her Montreal husband, told CTV News Toronto. 

Importing your car to the United States used to be a fairly easy process, but not anymore. To do so, you need a letter of compliance from the manufacturer of the vehicle which shows the car has the necessary emissions, safety standards and the proper odometer to be driven there.

In the past, such letters were easy to get, but now some manufacturers, such as Toyota Canada and Kia, are no longer providing the letters, which means Whiteley can not insure her 2023 Toyota Prius Prime in the U.S.

Whiteley said she was on a waitlist to buy the vehicle for more than a year.

“I thought it would be a little bureaucratic, but I didn't think it would be impossible,” she said.

A spokesperson for Toyota Canada told CTV News the company “is unable to provide compliance letters.”

“Toyota vehicles distributed and sold in Canada by Toyota Canada Inc. are certified as complying with all applicable Canadian safety & emission regulations,” they said.

Viraf Baliwalla, with the Automall Network Inc., said some car companies are becoming concerned their vehicles are being flipped for profit so they're no longer providing compliance letters.

“They don't want a vehicle that is supposed to be destined for Canada that’s on a long waiting list and then someone buys it and takes it to the United States and flips it down there,” Baliwalla said.

To no avail, Whiteley told Toyota she doesn't want to sell the car, but rather, keep it long term.

With her Canadian insurance in Florida about to run out, she feels she may have no choice but to drive it back to Canada and sell it.

“We are going to have to take some time off work and drive the car up to Canada to sell it, but it's going to cost us a lot of money we don't have,” she said.

Whiteley's 2023 Toyota Prius Prime can be seen above. (Handout)

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