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ICBC car insurance review

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Looking to get your car on the road in BC? Get basic and extended coverage from this mandatory provider. 

You’ll be able to insure any commercial vehicles you operate through ICBC car insurance.

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Please note: All information about ICBC car insurance has been collected independently by Finder and products from ICBC car insurance are not available through this site.

If you live in BC and drive a vehicle of any kind, there’s no doubt that you’ve heard of ICBC. This government-run insurance agency offers a basic insurance package called Autoplan, which you have to purchase to get your car on the road in the province. You can also use ICBC to purchase extended coverage such as collision or comprehensive.

That said, you may want to compare other providers for extended insurance since private companies in BC are allowed to compete in this space. Find out more about whether ICBC insurance is the right fit for you, and learn how you can sign up for coverage today.

What is ICBC car insurance?

ICBC (also known as the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia) is a BC-based insurance company that’s run by the provincial government. Every driver in British Columbia will at some point have to deal with ICBC. This is because it sells a mandatory basic insurance package that includes third-party liability, under-insured motorist protection and accident benefits.

In addition to this insurance, which only ICBC and its brokers can sell, the company also offers extended coverage such as collision and comprehensive. That said, this insurance can also be purchased from other providers, so you’ll have more freedom to shop around for extended coverage.

What types of insurance does ICBC offer?

ICBC holds the market on mandatory insurance for all drivers in BC. It also offers additional coverage such as collision and comprehensive. It determines what premiums you’ll pay based on where you’re located, what type of car you drive and what your driving record looks like.

Mandatory insurance

The basic insurance found in ICBC‘s Autoplan package includes the following:

  • Liability insurance. Pays for the medical expenses of another driver as well as for any damage to their vehicle if you get into an at-fault collision with them.
  • Accident benefits. Covers your expenses if you (or your passengers) get hurt in an accident and you need medical attention or are unable to work.
  • Underinsured motorist protection. Gives you extra protection if another driver doesn’t have enough insurance to cover your claim.
  • Hit-and-run insurance. Provides coverage for any damage or injuries you may suffer as a result of a hit-and-run.
  • Inverse liability protection. Covers you in parts of Canada or the US where local laws don’t let you file a claim against the person who caused your crash.
  • Unlisted driver protection. Lets you file a claim in the case that a driver you don’t have listed on your policy crashes your vehicle (though some conditions apply).

What if I have a luxury vehicle?

You can still get basic Autoplan coverage for a luxury vehicle in BC, though you’ll pay higher premiums. You’ll also have to fill out an application to obtain ICBC‘s own damage coverage through a special risk own damage policy. Unfortunately, you won’t be able to qualify for regular comprehensive or collision coverage.

Collision or comprehensive insurance

You can choose to pay a higher monthly premium to add any of the following types of insurance onto your policy. You can also choose to shop around with other providers for extended coverage if you want to make sure you’re getting the best deal possible.

  • Collision. Pays to repair or replace your car even if the accident you get into is deemed to be your fault.
  • Comprehensive. Covers non-collision damage such as damage from theft, vandalism, fire, falling objects, lightning or impact with an animal.
  • Specified perils. Similar to comprehensive insurance, but lets you pick and choose which potential threats to cover to lower your overall costs.
  • Extended basic insurance. Lets you choose to pay more to increase your level of insurance for third-party liability or underinsured motorist protection.

Can I purchase additional coverage if I want more protection?

You’ll be able to purchase a number of additional add-ons if you want extra protection for your vehicle. Again, these can be purchased from other providers, so you may be able to find a better deal elsewhere.

  • Loss of use. Covers the cost of backup travel when your car is being repaired as a result of damage or theft.
  • Damage to non-owned cars. Offers liability protection when you drive rental cars or other vehicles you don’t own.
  • New vehicle protection. Ensures you get the full value of your new car if it’s written-off as part of a covered claim.
  • Vehicle storage protection. Protects your vehicle from damage when you have it in storage.

ICBC bundles

You won’t be able to bundle your ICBC car insurance with other forms of ICBC insurance. This is because ICBC only deals in auto insurance. That said, you may be able to qualify for discounts in certain cases. For example, you’ll be able to save money if you’re a senior, you have a solid driving record or you drive your vehicle infrequently.

What do customers say about ICBC auto insurance?

ICBC car insurance has many negative reviews online, though this seems to be the case for the majority of insurance providers. For example, it has a rating of 1.9 on InsurEye (out of 161 reviews) as of July 7, 2020.

Customers seem particularly displeased with high premiums and rate hikes that seem to be occurring as a result of ICBC‘s new system. They also indicate that customer service needs some work since it can take a long time to process claims or get through to an agent over the phone.

Benefits and drawbacks of ICBC

Benefits

  • Discounts for experienced drivers. You may qualify for discounts if you’ve had a clean driving record for a number of years.
  • 24/7 claims service. You’ll be able to file a claim online or call in at any time of day or night to report an accident.
  • Many brokers. There are over 900 Autoplan brokers all over BC, so it won’t be difficult to find a location near you where you can insure your vehicle.
  • Commercial insurance. You’ll be able to insure any commercial vehicles you operate through ICBC car insurance.

Drawbacks

  • Only available in BC. ICBC car insurance is owned by the provincial government and can only be purchased in BC.
  • No online application. You’ll have to go into an ICBC auto insurance location to get your vehicle insured as there’s no way to apply online.
  • High premiums. ICBC car insurance has a monopoly on the industry, which means it doesn’t have to keep low rates to compete with other providers.
  • Limited discounts. There are far fewer discounts available with ICBC than there are with many private car insurance providers.
  • Customers report rate hikes. Some customers indicate that their rates continue to increase with ICBC car insurance, despite having no accidents.

What should I know before I apply?

Eligibility requirements

To apply for ICBC auto insurance coverage, you 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

How to apply

If you want to apply for ICBC auto insurance, you just need to follow these simple steps.

  1. Visit the ICBC location nearest you to get your basic Autoplan coverage and any extended insurance you might be interested in.
  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 ICBC to negotiate the terms of your car insurance if you meet the eligibility requirements.

How to contact ICBC auto insurance

It’s easy to visit an ICBC location or broker nearest you if you have questions about your ICBC auto insurance. It’s also possible to get in touch with its claims hotline 24/7 if you need to report an accident.

Compare other free car insurance quotes online

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Who it might be good for: Drivers looking to use an insurance broker to compare multiple pricing and coverage options.
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Bottom line

ICBC is a government-owned car insurance agency that operates exclusively in BC. It provides mandatory car insurance coverage for British Columbians under the brand name Autoplan. It also offers extended coverage, though you can purchase this from other providers in BC as well.

Frequently asked questions

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