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Insurance Corporation of British Columbia Summary
Insurance Corporation of British Columbia was founded in 1973 as a crown corporation, meaning it is established and regulated by a country’s state or government, and provides legally required car insurance to drivers in the province. Like all Canadian public insurers, ICBC offers insurance to only BC drivers, but covers them anywhere in the country as well as in the United States. While the company once held a monopoly on all insurance in the province, they have moved in recent years to allow drivers to select their optional coverage either directly from ICBC or from a private insurance company.
In addition to insurance, ICBC handles all driver and vehicle licensing for the province. All drivers must have the basic Autoplan liability insurance provided by ICBC in order to drive legally. Beyond this, they can select increased liability limits and coverage options. ICBC also offers products for specialty vehicles.
While most provinces have either a public or private insurance system, ICBC’s program combines the two in order to allow competition. Drivers can purchase ICBC insurance through any licensed insurance broker in the province.
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ICBC offers their basic Autoplan, the required coverage for all drivers, as well as a list of options and packages to enhance the Autoplan coverage.
This basic package is legally required and includes these basic coverages:
- Third-party liability coverage with a combined limit of $200,000 for injuries and property damage in an at-fault accident
- Accident benefits that apply regardless of fault and provide for medical costs, rehabilitation, wage loss, and more
- Uninsured motorist coverage to pay for damages caused by a driver who is uninsured
- Hit-and-run coverage of up to $200,000
- Inverse liability coverage to accidents in other provinces or states where lawsuits are not permitted against other drivers
ICBC also provides options that drivers can add individually to their insurance policy.
- Specified Perils, which is similar to comprehensive but covers only specific perils and is less costly
- Rental Vehicle Coverage
- New Vehicle Coverage
ICBC also offers increased third-party liability limits, increased uninsured motorist coverage, and loss of use coverage.
Autoplan Add-on Packages
ICBC has two optional packages that can be added to the basic Autoplan for additional coverage.
- RoadStar includes rental vehicle coverage, loss of use, vehicle travel protection, and lock re-keying.
- RoadSide Plus includes the same coverage as the RoadStar plan, but also adds several more options: theft deductible waiver, destination assistance, family worldwide transportation, and emergency roadside expense repayment.
ICBC offers insurance policies for off-road vehicles including snowmobiles, luxury vehicles, and for vehicles that are kept in storage.
Due to the fact that ICBC offers coverage only in BC, and quotes are not available online, we are unable to compare their rates to other companies. In addition, due to the fact that the company does not compete with other insurers for liability coverage, the only way for drivers to get a lower rate on that portion of their insurance is by qualifying for discounts and keeping a clean driving record.
ICBC calculates rates similar to other insurance companies, basing them on factors including the driver’s experience and record, the type of vehicle, and how the vehicle is used. As a public insurer, ICBC must submit its rates to approval by a governing body.
ICBC offers a list of available discounts to allow drivers to obtain a better rate. When it comes to optional coverage, BC drivers can shop around to compare rates, but without a rate comparison directly between BC insurers, we are unable to comment on how competitive ICBC rates will be.
ICBC provides a local claims number: 604-520-8222, as well as a toll-free line: 1-800-910-4222 that can be used outside the province or country. They also offer online claims reporting for specific types of claims.
The website outlines a very clear and detailed list of the steps in a claim. After reporting of the claim, the vehicle is inspected by a certified inspector, who will create an estimate of the damage. After this step, the driver can choose to have repairs done at a repair shop that they prefer.
ICBC does have a preferred network of repair shops, part of their c.a.r. program, which includes their VALET service. These shops are certified to do estimates for ICBC and guarantee their work. VALET shops offer additional services such as pick-up and drop-off.
Repair shops that do not accept ICBC estimates will require payment up front from the insured, who can then apply for reimbursement.
ICBC has an A+ rating with the BBB, and does not have any complaints listed. There are two reviews, one of which is positive. Considering that ICBC is the required liability insurer for all of BC’s large population, that’s a pretty low number of complaints.
Many of the complaints against ICBC around the internet stem from the company’s rates, which most people believe are too high – this may a result of the monopoly on liability insurance. According to Canadian based site DiscoveryFinance.com, British Columbia ranks as the second most expensive province in which to insure a car, which may play a part in ICBC’s rates.
There are also numerous complaints regarding claims service, however, there are also enough positive reviews of this area of service to balance the negative ones.
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ICBC is the only option that BC drivers have for their basic liability insurance, so when it comes to recommending an insurance company, reputation and rates do not really matter on that front.
When it comes to optional insurance, however, BC drivers can and should shop around for a better rate. Comparing rates on full coverage options may help drivers mitigate the high cost of required coverage from ICBC, by lowering the premium on the other portion of their insurance. While purchasing all of your coverage from ICBC has the benefit of allowing drivers to keep coverage all in one place, ICBC is unlikely to offer the lowest rate.
For a list of companies that we recommend, visit our Best Insurance Companies page.