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Compare car insurance in BC

Learn more about ICBC’s Autoplan insurance and compare providers in BC to find the best extended coverage.

Quick facts for car insurance in British Columbia

  • Minimum liability coverage: $200,000
  • Average annual car insurance costs: $1,832

If you live in British Columbia, you’ve probably already discovered that you have to get your basic car insurance with ICBC. This is a government-owned insurance corporation that has a strong hold on the car insurance market in the province. This means that other providers aren’t allowed to sell their own mandatory insurance products in this space.

That said, insurance companies in BC are allowed to sell extended insurance products (in addition to selling Autoplan coverage for ICBC). This includes collision and comprehensive insurance as well as a number of special endorsements. Keep reading to find out more about how car insurance works in BC and learn how you can lock in the best rates.

Average cost of car insurance in BC

You’ll pay an average of $1,832 per year for car insurance in BC (according to a report from the Insurance Bureau of Canada). This includes third-party liability as well as accident benefits and uninsured motorist protection. It will typically cost you more to add extended coverage such as collision or comprehensive onto your policy.

You may also have to pay more if you choose to add special endorsements such as first accident forgiveness or rental car insurance. Your rates will also fluctuate according to a number of personal factors. These include how old you are, how many accidents you’ve been in, how long you’ve been driving, where you live and what type of car you drive.

Which city has the cheapest car insurance in BC?

It’s difficult to say which city has the cheapest car insurance in BC as this will depend on a number of variables. That said, it’s likely that you’ll pay the lowest rates in smaller cities such as Nelson, Vernon, Prince George, Penticton and Victoria. Your rates will typically be higher in larger cities like Vancouver, Kamloops and Kelowna.

This is because your risk level as a driver has a lot to do with where you live. Big cities have more traffic congestion and a higher population density, which means there are more opportunities to get into accidents. Drivers in big cities are also often in a rush due to being stuck in traffic at regular intervals and this can result in unsafe driving habits as well.

Which company offers the cheapest car insurance in BC?

It’s difficult to pinpoint which company offers the cheapest car insurance in BC. There are a handful of agents that work in BC, including The Co-operators, Allstate and BCAA. Many brokers will also sell third-party insurance for companies such as Intact, Economical, RSA and other popular cross-country car insurance brands.

To get the cheapest car insurance in BC, you may want to get quotes for a number of insurance products from a couple of different brokers. You can find the brokers that work nearest you with a handy tool available from ICBC. You should also aim to check in about available discounts to make sure that you’re getting the best deal on your insurance.

Where can I buy car insurance in BC?

You can buy ICBC’s Autoplan insurance from any third-party broker in BC. You can also use just about any broker to add on extended insurance. Just be aware that some brokers will only sell you their own proprietary brand of insurance while others will help you compare policies from a number of different insurers so that you can be sure you’re getting the best price.

For example, if you visit a BCAA broker, they may only sell you BCAA extended insurance and Autoplan. If you visit a non-affiliated car insurance broker, they will offer Autoplan as well as compare a number of different insurance products for your extended coverage to find you the best option.

That said, brokers such as BCAA may offer a number of unique perks that other car insurance brokers won’t be able to match. For example, BCAA gives you first claim forgiveness and certified repairs at no extra charge as part of any extended insurance package. It also gives you a big discount if you’re a member of BCAA and signed up for roadside assistance.

Minimum provincial requirements for car insurance in British Columbia

BC’s mandatory Autoplan insurance offers a number of different forms of coverage rolled into one. You can only purchase this mandatory coverage from ICBC; although, it’s sold by most third-party brokers in Canada.

  • Liability insurance. Covers the costs of any expenses you may incur if you cause an accident and are sued for damages (minimum $200,000).
  • Accident benefits. Reimburses you for medical bills and time off work as a result of getting into an accident.
  • Uninsured motorist coverage. Gives you coverage for various expenses if you get into a collision with an uninsured motorist or hit-and-run driver.
  • Inverse liability protection. Covers you in parts of Canada or the US where local laws don’t let you claim against the person who caused your crash.

Are there eligibility requirements for car insurance in BC?

Eligibility requirements

To apply for car insurance in British Columbia, you’ll typically need to meet the following criteria:

  • Be at least 16 years old
  • Have a valid Canadian driver’s licence
  • Own the vehicle you wish to insure
  • Be willing to purchase the minimum amount of liability coverage

How to apply

If you think you meet the eligibility criteria, you can apply for car insurance coverage with these simple steps:

  1. Visit a third-party broker to discuss your car insurance needs and get information about how much you’ll have to pay.
  2. Provide the necessary documentation – such as a valid driver’s licence and proof of purchase for your vehicle.
  3. Get verified and work with your broker to purchase ICBC’s Autoplan insurance and negotiate the terms of your extended coverage.

How can I lower my premiums?

It’s difficult to lower your car insurance premiums in BC because you can’t compare providers for basic insurance. That said, you may be able to do the following to get better rates:

  • Apply for discounts. Look into what discounts you could be eligible for with ICBC and the provider you get your extended coverage through.
  • Maintain a clean driving record. Drive carefully and according to the rules of the road to avoid traffic violations and collisions that could drive up your premiums.
  • Keep your mileage low. Get behind the wheel on an as-needed basis and get discounts when you keep your mileage below 5,000km per year.
  • Get the lowest level of basic coverage. Pay for only the minimum level of third-party liability ($200,000) to get the absolute lowest premiums.
  • List a more experienced primary driver. List your parents, your spouse or another more experienced driver as the primary driver on your insurance to save money.
  • Pay annually instead of monthly. Pay your insurance premiums in one lump sum to get a discount on your rates.

Bottom line

Car insurance in British Columbia is fairly restrictive since all mandatory insurance has to be purchased through ICBC’s Autoplan coverage. However, you can purchase extended coverage from a number of different providers. Learn more about how much you can expect to pay for car insurance in BC, and find out what you need to do to qualify for insurance today.

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