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What to expect when
driving in British Columbia...
Insurance Corporation of
British Columbia (ICBC)
British Columbia’s car insurance market is government-run with the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC) being the provider of all basic auto insurance.
Combating impaired driving
BC implemented a unique method of combating impaired driving to deal with the backlogs in the provincial legal system. Using a combination of both provincial and federal laws, police officers can simply suspend the licence of an impaired driver after failing a sobriety test. Offenders will need to pay to get their licence reinstated but there will not be any court dates unless the police proceed with criminal charges. Any accident or injury caused by impaired driving is prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law using the Criminal Code. For more information, you can consult BC's provincial government site
Drive in British Columbia
In order to drive in British Columbia, you must be at least 16 years of age in order to get your learner's licence (L). Once you have 12 months experience on the road with a licensed driver who's 25 or older, you can take the road test to obtain your novice licence (N). Once you have 24 months experience without any tickets, you can apply to take the test for your full licence.
New Drivers in BC
So you finally got your driver's licence? Congratulations! Learning to drive is a big milestone in a person’s life.
Being a new driver means you'll need insurance to protect yourself as well as those around you. Due to your lack of a driving record, your rates may be higher than an experienced driver. Statistically speaking, young people between the ages of 20 to 24 are more likely to be involved in accidents resulting in an injury or fatality.
Consider applying as a secondary driver under a parent or legal guardian's insurance policy if you are only an occasional driver of the vehicle. This allows you to pay a much smaller premium while allowing you to build up your car insurance record. However, if you are the owner of the vehicle or use the car frequently, you'll need to apply as a primary driver. Talk to your insurance agent to see which coverage options are best for your specific situation.
4 things you need to know when choosing car insurance coverage in British Columbia...
Just like the rest of Canada, you must have car insurance to be able to legally drive in BC. This ensures that all parties are covered in the event of an accident that causes property damage or injuries. In British Columbia, the minimum liability coverage you'll require for auto insurance must cover third party liability, accident benefits coverage and uninsured automobile coverage.
Car Insurance Policy:
Minimum Requirements by Law
Third party Liability:
$200,000 of coverage. Within this amount, property damage compensation is capped at $20,000.
Covers up to $300,000 per person.
Underinsured Motorist Protection:
Up to $1 million in coverage if ever you are injured or killed in a crash with an underinsured vehicle and you are found not at fault for the crash.
Hit-and-Run and Uninsured Motorist Coverage:
Under B.C.’s Insurance (Vehicle) Act, automatic coverage of up to $200,000 is available to B.C. residents whose property is damaged by, or who are injured or killed in a crash caused by an uninsured or hit-and-run driver in B.C.
Inverse Liability Coverage:
This will cover you in the event you have an accident somewhere the local laws won't allow you to make a claim against the at-fault party. Coverage can range from up to 100% of the claim or less if you are found to be partially at-fault.
The minimum amount of TPL coverage required in BC is $200,000. This would cover third-party liability such as property damage, injuries or a death caused by an accident where you are found to be at-fault. The minimum amount of coverage, however, doesn't include all scenarios. To ensure that you get the right coverage you specifically need, talk with one of our agents.
In BC, insurance operates on a tort system. What that means is the party that is found not at-fault can take legal action against the at-fault party to recover damages. They can sue to recover loss of income, out-of-pocket expenses, pain and suffering as well as other damages.
The accident benefits portion of a claim is not subject to the tort system. Instead, it follows the no-fault structure where the injured person can receive coverage no matter who's responsible.
ICBC, or Insurance Corporation of British Columbia, is a Crown corporation that oversees the sale of car insurance. BC has a government-run auto insurance market and is the only provider of mandatory car insurance coverage in the province. Private companies, such as belairdirect, provide non-mandatory coverage such as collision, theft, fire and various other coverages.
In BC, if you're involved in an accident where you are proven not to have been at fault, you will not have to pay for the deductible on your car insurance. If the accident was a hit-and-run and you were not able to identify who hit you, you'll have to pay out of pocket if you don't have collision coverage on your policy