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British Columbia car insurance quotes

Everything you need to know about how BC auto insurance works. Find out how you can customize your BC car insurance policy today.

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How car insurance coverage works in British Columbia

Matt Hands

Car insurance is a requirement across Canada and each province has their own coverage mandates.

For British Columbia drivers, basic auto insurance is provided through the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC), a public insurance company.

Mandatory BC auto insurance coverage includes (full descriptions below)

  • Third-party liability
  • Accident Benefits
  • Uninsured motorist protection

However, there also is optional, and highly recommended, coverage available through both ICBC and private insurance brokerages and directly from insurance companies (i.e. Aviva Canada).

Optional BC car insurance coverage (full descriptions below)

  • Collision
  • Comprehensive
  • Extended Third-Party Liability
  • Loss of Use
  • Rental Vehicle Coverage
  • New Vehicle Protection

For instance, mandatory third-party liability coverage through ICBC has a minimum limit of $200,000. A driver then has the option to increase their liability coverage up to $5 million either through ICBC or a private insurer. Be sure to view the table below for more explicit details.

In May of 2021, British Columbia will introduce a no-fault insurance system meaning you'll only ever deal with your own insurance provider for claims, not that you can't be found at fault. It generally limits your ability to sue for pain and suffering beyond what is available in your coverage. 

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A history of British Columbia auto insurance rates

Any proposed car insurance rate changes from the ICBC must first be approved by the British Columbia Utilities Commission (BCUC). Auto insurance in B.C. has a significant problem with injury claims and legal costs reaching an all-time high.

On April 1st, 2019 ICBC implemented the following in an effort to reduce car insurance costs. 

  • Cap of $5,500 on pain and suffering payouts for minor injuries
  • A new online Civil Resolution Tribunal to deal with injury claim disputes valued at $50,000 or less
  • Improved accident benefits including an increase for those unable to work, and to access home support
  • Expanded treatment options – including acupuncture, counselling, massage therapy and physiotherapy

For the first time in almost a decade, ICBC did not increase rates in 2020. Currently, BC drivers pay the most expensive car insurance premiums in the country.  ICBC continue to make changes to reduce premiums, such as introducing no-fault in May 2021 which promises to reduce rates by 20% by removing red tape surrounding access to care and eliminating most legal battles.

There are proponents for a Quebec car insurance system, which uses a hybrid model where the government manages personal injuries and private insurers cover property damage. The historical rate changes shown below are based on all the drivers insured each year by the ICBC.

Mandatory coverage for auto insurance in British Columbia

Mandatory insurance is mostly about protecting you from damage you may cause to others and their property. Protecting you car is in optional coverages.

Third-party liability

Accident benefits

Uninsured motorist

Are you getting the best price for British Columbia auto insurance?

In less than five minutes, you can compare multiple car insurance quotes from British Columbia's top providers, for free.

Optional car insurance coverage in British Columbia

You can personalize your coverage with these common additions that protect your car.

Collision insurance

Comprehensive insurance

Emergency roadside assistance

Specified perils

All perils

How to get cheap car insurance in British Columbia

  1. Shop and compare

    Research which company provides cheap car insurance in British Columbia, and also the best value for you and your vehicle. Rates may change up to four times a year, but lucky for you comparing British Columbia car insurance with us is free.

  2. Stay with your current insurer

    Some British Columbia auto insurance companies will give loyalty discounts to drivers who remain active with them for years. Especially if they add family members or multiple vehicles to their policy.

  3. Bundle your policies

    If you use the same insurance company for both your home and auto insurance needs, your insurer will often thank you with a dip in premiums.

  4. Get a multi car discount

    If you have multiple drivers and vehicles in the same household, by putting them all on one policy can save you money.

  5. Increase your deductible

    Your deductible is the portion you pay when settling a claim before your insurer will pay the rest. If you’re willing to double your deductible, it could save you money.

  6. Ask about discounts

    If you’re a member of a large corporation, union, or a school alumnus, it could help you get cheaper British Columbia car insurance

  7. Pay premiums annually, instead of monthly

    Paying monthly adds administrative costs to your insurer, so if you’re able to pay in full annually you can lower your premiums.

  8. Maintain a good driving record

    If you’re a safe driver, obey the rules of the road and drive according to road conditions you can reduce your chances of an accident. Car crashes stay on your insurance record for up to ten years and can result in higher premiums.

  9. Install winter tires

    You can save up to 5% simply by adding winter tires to your car. Unless you're in Quebec, where it's mandatory.

How to get a British Columbia driver's license

British Columbia puts new drivers through a graduated licensing program (GLP) requiring each driver to progress through a 3-step educational program in order to be considered a fully licenced driver. If you are moving to B.C. and you have an existing driver’s license, you have 90 days to switch your valid out of province license to a B.C. driver’s license. You can read more about how to transfer a driver’s license to B.C.on the ICBC website.

The graduated licensing program in British Columbia operates as follows:

Learner's licence (or level one) eligibility criteria:

Novice licence (or level two) eligibility criteria:

Full licence (or level three) eligibility criteria:


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Frequently asked questions about British Columbia auto insurance

Do I need auto insurance in British Columbia?

Does my insurance cover me if I drive for Uber or Lyft?

Why does car insurance in British Columbia cost so much?

Do I need winter tires in British Columbia?

Is roadside assistance required in B.C.?

How do I report a claim in British Columbia?

How long do driving offences stay on my driving record in B.C.?

What can I do to remove a penalty from my B.C. driving record?

Author Bio

Matt Hands, Business Director of Insurance

Matt started his professional career at CARPROOF where he honed his marketing and analytical skills for over 3 years. Matt then took his wealth of experience to’s Toronto offices, working with insurance providers, agents, and brokers to grow and expand the Insurance business unit. He is a thought leader in the community and a valuable insurance resource to respected publications like the Globe & Mail, Toronto Star, Huffington Post, Yahoo News, and 680 news radio in Toronto.

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