Whether you’ve had your auto insurance policy for years or you’re in the market for a new one, it’s important to understand how Vancouver’s auto insurance laws work. This will ensure you are following your legal obligations and have access to the resources you need in the event you are in a car accident. Let’s take a look as five facts you may not know about auto insurance laws in Vancouver.
1) British Columbia has a government-run auto insurance market.
Unlike most provinces in Canada, BC’s auto insurance market is government run. This means that drivers are required to purchase their policy from the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC). This provincial crown corporation was created in 1973. It was initially introduced to provide universal and affordable public auto insurance, while operating on a non-profit basis. In 2010, however, they became the only for-profit public auto insurance provider in Canada. In addition to providing auto insurance, the corporation is responsible for vehicle registrations, driver licensing, and road safety initiatives.
2) The ICBC Basic Autoplan is mandatory for all drivers in Vancouver.
All those who own and drive a vehicle in Vancouver are legally required to have ICBC Basic Autoplan insurance. This is a basic level coverage. There are a number of things this insurance covers in the event of an accident.
The third party liability coverage protects a driver when they’re at fault for a crash and another motorist makes a claim against them. This covers up to $200,000 in injury costs and vehicle damage. There are also accident benefits that help drivers and passengers with medical costs and lost wages, regardless of fault. If the crash occurred on or after January 1, 2018, up to $300,000 in coverage may be available for expenses like hospital care, medication, physiotherapy, and more.
The Basic Autoplan also provides underinsured motorist protection (UMP) in the event the at-fault party doesn’t have enough insurance to pay for your claim. The Basic UMP covers you and members of your household when you own or lease a vehicle, when an injury or fatality has occurred, and for claims of up to $1 million per insured person. There is also hit-and run coverage for up to $200,000. Additionally, if you’re involved in a wreck were local laws won’t let you claim against the at-fault party, inverse liability protection covers you.
You can also purchase the following forms of optional coverage through ICBC:
- Extended Third Party Liability
- Extension Underinsured Motorist Protection
- Loss of Use
- Specified Perils
- Rental Vehicle Coverage
- New Vehicle Protection
- Specialized Coverages
3) There are additional coverage options through private companies.
While you can purchase additional auto insurance coverage options through ICBC, it may be less expensive to do so through private companies. If your vehicle is newer or if you’re on the road a lot, it’s likely you’ll want additional coverage. The benefits of going private may include lower premiums and deductibles, broader coverage, 24/7 emergency claims services, authorized direct repair facilities for convenient claim handling, first accident forgiveness, free glass repair, and bundled services.
4) Certain factors determine your auto insurance rate.
You may be wondering why your premium through ICBC differs from someone else you know. There are a number of factors that determine your auto insurance rate in British Columbia. The most common factors include the following:
- Driving record
- Age and gender
- Driving experience
- Type of vehicle
- Use of location of vehicle
- Amount of coverage
5) Auto insurance claim denials can be in bad faith.
When the ICBC is determining the validity of your accident claim, the laws hold them to a duty of good faith and fair dealing. This means that there has to be a legal cause to deny your claim. When there is no legal cause, their actions are considered to be in bad faith. Because there are no standards for identifying insurance bad faith, our lawyers can evaluate the insurance company’s actions and determine if they are acting in good faith.
Other acts of bad faith include:
- Delayed payments
- Insurance claim delay
- Insurance claim fraud
- Problems with the adjuster
- Misrepresentation of the claim
- Unfair settlement offers
- Refusal of medical treatment
Understanding auto insurance laws can be overwhelming. This is especially true if you’ve been in a wreck. It can be difficult to handle a car accident if you’re worried about negotiating a proper settlement from your insurance company. At Wishart Brain & Spine Law, we have extensive experience getting our clients fair compensation for their crash-related losses. With our help, you can recover and get your life back in order as quickly as possible. Schedule a consultation with us today to discuss you options.