ICBC vs. Private Insurance Companies – Which is Better?

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If you’re a driver in British Columbia, you’re probably aware of ICBC (Insurance Corporation of British Columbia), the basic automotive insurance you’re required to have in order to drive in the province. Due to some of the changes to the ICBC in 2019 many people have been deciding to switch over to private insurance companies. If you’re looking for coverage for your vehicle, you might find yourself asking which of the two are the better option?

What the ICBC Offers

The ICBC may be a publicly based company, but they aren’t a non-profit organization. This makes dealing with the ICBC the same as dealing with any other insurance company, and you might want to get a hand with legal advice if you’re involved in a car accident. They do offer similar coverage just like any other minimum insurance agency and will protect your vehicle against accidents where the other driver doesn’t have insurance. They also offer third-party liability insurance, which will cover injuries to the other driver up to 200, 000$. 

There have been several changes to the ICBC in 2019 that can greatly impact how claims work. The biggest alteration is the limit on how much ICBC will cover on claims for minor “pain and suffering”, which is under 6000$ (it’s the minimum insurance option for a reason). The stipulations on what is considered a major injury seem to have become subjective and disfigurements from accidents need to be proven to be extensive. Any major injury cannot be settled within the Civil Resolution Tribunal, and the professionals at Warnett Hallen LLP provides a detailed breakdown of these processes. They also offer information in regards to ICBC settlement claims if that’s something you currently need assistance with or are worried about needing help with in the future.

Private Insurance Companies

Comparing one specific insurance company to a collective of private insurance companies is difficult. There are many features you’ll find within the private sector that the minimum insurance agency doesn’t offer. A lot of private insurance companies might extend an offer for first-accident forgiveness, and this might be a selling point to a lot of people. I’m a safe driver, but if I ever did happen to get into a car accident, I wouldn’t want to be paying for higher premiums.

You’re also going to have options when it comes to what you want to be covered for when it comes to extras such as veterinary bills for animals. If you’re okay with paying a higher premium you can add protection for almost anything and everything. Private insurance companies also offer features like roadside assistance which can be a huge asset if you’re planning on doing any traveling.

If you’re a new driver absolutely on a budget, you’re going to need to get the ICBC insurance plan no matter what. I’d highly suggest adding the benefit of a private insurance company so you won’t have to deal with the headaches and drawn-out process of dealing with the ICBC unless absolutely necessary. You’re going to have greater freedom to choose the options that you want with private insurance and setting your deductible at your own rate. Insurance protects us, and it’s always best to plan for the worst and hope for the best (so they say).

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