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How car insurance coverage works in Vancouver

Vancouver ranks as Canada’s most congested city for driving, according to surveys. While the scenic mountains and calming oceans may provide some respite from the daily commute, they won’t help you get to your destination any faster. The average annual car insurance premium in Vancouver, depending on fluctuations, is in the top 3 most expensive places in Canada. BC has a government run auto insurance program run by the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC). At Ratehub.ca, we help the people of Vancouver shop for the best car insurance, over and above the mandated minimums, in just minutes to suit their budget and preferences.

The basic and mandatory coverages for all Vancouver drivers include: Third Party Liability of $200,000, medical payments up to $300,000/person, funeral expense benefits of $2,500, disability income benefits, and death benefits. Popular coverages like comprehensive and collision are often chosen and acquired through private insurers. It’s also a good idea to increase your third party liability, either through ICBC or a private insurance company.

Coverage Description
Public Insurance

Basic auto insurance coverage provided by the Bitish Columbia governement (ICBC). This generally includes liability, accident benefits and uninsured motorist coverage.

Available: Yes
Required: Yes

Private Insurance

Auto insurance policies created & sold by private insurance carriers. Though these carriers must still abide by Federal and Provincial regulations.

Available: Yes
Required: No

No-fault insurance

Having no-fault insurance doesn’t mean you can’t be found at fault. This coverage means you must first deal with your own insurance company for all claims, whether you’re at fault or not. But, British Columbia will allow a no-fault driver to sue an at-fault driver for additional damages and costs that are not covered by their accident benefits.

Available: Yes
Required: Yes

Third-party Liability Insurance

Protects against damage caused by you while driving and includes injury and death to others and property damage. This is the only insurance coverage that is mandatory across Canada. Minimum coverage for British Columbia is $200,000.

Available: Yes
Required: Yes

Accident Benefits

Covers your medical benefits if you’re injured in a crash, whether you’re at fault or not. The coverage includes your medical costs, while also paying for additional recovery costs, such as rehab, income replacement, and payment for and attendant care, if needed.

Available: Yes
Required: Yes

Direct Compensation-Property Damage (DCPD)

Covers damage to your vehicle and its contents, and for the loss of use of your vehicle when damaged – if another person was at fault. This coverage only applies if the crash occurs in a province where DCPD is mandatory, if two or more insured vehicles are involved, and if both insurers are licensed within that DCPD province.

Available: No
Required: No

Uninsured Motorist

Uninsured motorist coverage protects against injuries you and your family members sustain in a crash caused by an uninsured motorist. It can also cover your vehicle damages, if the uninsured driver is able to be identified.

Available: Yes
Required: Yes

Collision Insurance

Protects against damages sustained in a collision. This insurance covers you if your car is damaged in a crash – in both cases whether you crash into another other car or whether you crash into a stationary object.

Available: Yes
Required: No

Comprehensive Insurance

Protects against any losses a car owner may suffer, from events not related to driving. Such losses could include theft or damage from attempted theft; vandalism; environmental damage to a car from floods, fallen trees, and hail, etc.

Available: Yes
Required: No

Specified Perils

Covers your financial losses for damage caused specific perils – but only for perils chosen specifically for your policy. Available coverages are for theft; fire; damage from hail, lightning, wind, or flooding; earthquakes; explosions; riots; aircraft crash damage; and damage sustained during any transportation relocation.

Available: Yes
Required: No

All Perils

This combines the coverages you get with collision and comprehensive insurance. Additionally, all-perils also covers you if an employee, or someone who drives or services your car, steals it. It also covers you if someone you live with steals your vehicle.

Available: Yes
Required: No

Emergency roadside assistance

This service covers you for roadside callouts for emergencies such as dead batteries, towing, flat tires, keys locked in your car, empty gas tank, etcetera. Many insurance companies offer roadside assistance either included or in addition to other coverages.

Available: Yes
Required: No

*Table information sourced from http://www.ibc.ca (2017)

Factors that impact your Vancouver car insurance rates

In order for an insurance company to set your premium they look at a number of factors including the car’s make, model and when it was built, the driving record of the individual who will drive the vehicle, and even where you live. For instance, if you live around the Knight Street Bridge, you may pay more for car insurance because its multiple intersections, heavy traffic, and steep incline make for one of the most dangerous intersections in the city. All these conditions are just some of the decision criteria that are factored into an insurance calculation for Vancouver drivers. Insurance companies also want to understand who you are as a driver, so they will look into your type of driver’s license and how long you’ve had it, your daily commute, as well as any at-fault collisions, traffic tickets or moving violations currently still on your record. Insurance calculations are complex, and no two companies use the same weighted criteria, but overall here are the factors that determine the rate you will receive from a Vancouver car insurer.

How to get cheap car insurance in Vancouver?

Shop and compare

Research which car insurance company provides the best value for you and your car. In British Columbia, rates change four times a year, but lucky for you comparing rates with us is free.

Stay with your current insurer

Some 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.

Bundle Your Policies

If you use the same insurance company for both your home and auto insurance, your insurer will often thank you with a discount on your premium.

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.

Increase your deductible

This is the portion you pay when settling a claim before your insurance provider will pay the rest. If you’re willing to double down on your deductible, it could save you money.

Ask about discounts

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

Pay premiums annually, instead of monthly

Paying monthly adds administrative costs to your insurer. If you can help them by paying one lump sum annually, they will thank you by lowering your premiums.

Maintain a good driving record

Be a safe driver, the insurance companies love it. Obey the rules of the road and drive according to road conditions, they look upon this fondly. If you, through these practices, can reduce your chances of an accident, you will pay less.

Install winter tires

You can save up to 5% simply by adding winter tires to your car. With winter driving conditions being so treacherous throughout British Columbia it pays to be safe!

Keep track of your driving

There are telematics devices that collect driving data. With user-based insurance (UBI) you can earn your discounts if you’re not driving far or often. These devices even look at advanced stats like how carefully you brake and accelerate.

Take a course

Are you new to driving? A driver’s education course can save you money. Car insurance providers will think of you as a safe driver if you’ve received lessons by professionals.

Frequently Asked Questions about Vancouver auto insurance

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