What you need to know about Auto Insurance

There's a lot to consider when purchasing Auto Insurance

So you can make an informed decision, here are some basic facts to make things easier.

In Canada a motor vehicle must be insured to be driven on the road.  If you own a car or lease one, you will need to buy an automobile insurancepolicy.  If you rent a car for a short term, the rental company will offer you coverage, but there may also be a provision in your own policy to extend to the rental.  One of our specialized autoplan representatives will help you determine your coverage needs.

Your insurance policy covers you for expenses such as medical treatment and care, possible legal cost, property damage and lost wages if you're involved in an accident.  In Brtish Columbia the minimum amount of insurance coverage you must have is $200,000.  You may want to purchase more than the minimum to ensure that you are adequately protected from the financial costs of injury or damage to yourself, another person or property.  We highly recommend 2-3 million with a maximum being 5 million.

Basic Autoplan Coverage from the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC) includes up to:

  • $150,000 per person for medical and rehabilitation costs
  • $200,000 for damages claimed by others
  • $1 000,000 per person if the at-fault motorist is under-insured

Even though you are only required to carry the minimum amount of coverage we highly recommend increasing the minimum and one of our specialized autoplan representatives can advise you on what is best.

What Basic Autoplan Doesn't Cover

Basic Autoplan has restrictions. It is important that you understand them so that you don't jeopardize your coverage in the event of a crash.

ICBC may not cover you under your Basic Autoplan if:

  • Your vehicle is insured in the wrong rate class. Your insurance must describe exactly how you use your vehicle. It is important that you discuss the correct rate class with your broker, because being in the wrong rate class may jeopardize your coverage or make you personally responsible for any claims
  • Your driver’s licence has expired or you are driving against any restrictions.
  • You are outside Canada or the U.S. (Remember to buy additional insurance when you travel.)
  • You drive over the legal alcohol limit or under the influence of drugs.
  • Someone drives your car without a valid driver’s licence.
  • Your insurance claim does not represent what happened in the crash.
  • The vehicle was used to cause damage on purpose.
  • You crashed while avoiding the police.

There are further restrictions within specific Autoplan coverages. Make sure you understand these too:

  • Third-Party Liability coverage
  • Accident Benefits
  • Underinsured Motorist Protection
  • Hit-and-run and Uninsured Motorist Protection
  • Inverse Liability coverage

Your Insurance Options

Basically, auto insurance is about how much you are willing to pay out of your own pocket versus how much you want the insurance company to cover.

No matter what kind of vehicle you are insuring you can choose various levels of coverage, depending on how much protection you want.

  • Collision coverage protects you from incurring costs to repair damage to your vehicle caused by impact with another vehicle or an object such as a guard rail
  • Comprehensive coverage protects you from incurring costs to repair damage to your vehicle from unexpected situations such as fire, theft, vandalism or natural disasters
  • All perils insurance combines the coverage provided by Collision and Comprehensive insurance.
  • Specified perils protects your vehicle only against specific danger, such as theft or attempted theft, some natural disasters, riots or civil disturbances.

Knowing what you most likely will need is the key to making sure you are appropriately covered.

Endorsements are modifications that can be included in your auto insurance policy.  For instance, there is an endorsement that can add coverage for the cost of a temporary replacement vehicle while your vehicle is being repaired after an accidemt.  Once an endorsement is added, it takes precedence over the original insurance policy agreement.

Cost of Auto Insurance

The cost of auto insurance (the premium) is calculated for each individual based on the projected cost and probability of making a claim.  Your premium may be influenced by a number of factors, which may include:

  • Where you live
  • Your age
  • The make and model of your car
  • Your driving record in Canada
  • Your insurance claim record
  • The number of years you have been licensed in Canada
  • Whether you drive your vehicle to work

One of our specialized Autoplan Representatives can help you with any questions you may have.

Reducing Your Insurance Costs

The best way to reduce your insurance premiums is by being a safe driver and avoiding accidents and traffic tickets.  You can reduce your rate by owning a car that is less expensive to insure and by taking a driver's training course.

You can also lower your premium by taking a policy that allows you to pay a higher deductible.  This is when you pay a specific amount towards the cost of car repairs when you have an accident.  The higher your deductible, the lower your premium may be.  When selecting your deductible level, consider how much you could afford in the event of an accident.


For more information on Basic Autoplan Coverage from ICBC click here

Let us know how we can help you

Have questions or need to find the right coverage? We can help, contact us today.