All vehicle owners must carry a minimum of $200,000 in Third Party Liability Coverage through the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC).
Included in this basic coverage are a range of benefits of up to $150,000 for any person injured in an accident regardless of who is at fault. It also provides $1 million in protection for you or any member of your household who is injured by a motorist with insufficient insurance to compensate for the injuries sustained.
All other automobile insurance - including Collision and Comprehensive - may be purchased through the Crown Corporation or through private insurers.
GNK Insurance offers you a choice:
the full range of ICBC protection
basic ICBC protection
Rates and Rate Classifications
There are four basic factors that affect your government and private insurance rates: 1. the years of driving experience of the principal operator; and. the number of claims; 2. the type of vehicle 3. the way the vehicle is typically used, and; 4. the area in which the vehicle is operated.
Claims Rated Scale
ICBC uses the years of driving experience and the number of claims in a complicated formula that creates a position on a "Claims Rated Scale." Based on your position on this scale, you could receive a premium discount or a surcharge on your insurance rates.
Every vehicle type and model is rated separately. In establishing rates government and private insurance industry executives take into consideration the likelihood the vehicle will become involved in an accident based on the experience of other vehicle owners. They also take into consideration replacement costs, repair costs and the likelihood the vehicle will be stolen.
Some vehicles, such as motor homes, trailers, golf carts, replicas and specialty cars, do not fall comfortably into any rate class. In these special circumstances, ICBC will allow you to assign a value for the vehicle. The declared value is the amount that will be paid in the event of a total loss.
In British Columbia there are three basic classifications of use that affect your premium: pleasure use only; operation to and from work or school and business use. As a rule of thumb the less you use your vehicle, the lower your premium.
However, a person with pleasure use only coverage can occasionally drive to work or for business. This type of use is extremely limited and you should consult your GNK Insurance representative for clarification.
Area of Operation
As an insured motorist, you are entitled to drive anywhere in Canada or the United States. However, the premium you pay for your coverage will vary depending on where the vehicle is normally parked.
The lowest rates in British Columbia are enjoyed by people on Southern Vancouver Island while the highest are paid by people in Greater Vancouver.
Inexperienced Drivers & Graduated Licences
ICBC believes that a new driver is twice as likely to cause an accident as an experienced motorist. In fact, the Corporation says that one in every five new drivers is involved in a crash within the first two years.
As a result, the ICBC and private insurers may restrict or prohibit the use of your vehicle by new drivers even if they are members of your family.
The Government also places severe restrictions on the use of vehicles by new drivers - even if the person owns and insures his/her own vehicle.
Some of the conditions include a zero tolerance policy with respect to alcohol and prohibition against operating the vehicle between the hours of midnight and 5 a.m. Disregarding these restrictions could void the insurance.
Automobile insurance in British Columbia can be divided into two broad coverage areas: Basic Coverage and Optional Coverage.
| Basic Coverage
This is the coverage that protects anyone who is injured in an accident regardless of who is at risk. The three components are Third Party Liability, Accident Benefits, Underinsured Motorist Protection and Inverse Liability.
Third Party Liability
B.C. law requires that every vehicle owner carry a minimum of $200,000 in Third Party Liability coverage with extra or excess coverage available.
GNK Insurance strongly recommends that you increase this coverage to $2 million or more depending on your driving patterns. The reason is simple. The amount of liability coverage is the maximum ICBC will pay out in the event of an injury claim by someone else. If the courts award higher damages than your limit of coverage, you are responsible for the difference.
Both ICBC and our private insurance companies will allow you to increase your liability coverage for a relatively small increase in premium.
Accident benefits are designed to provide necessary care and treatment for injuries that might result from a motor vehicle accident. This could include such things as physiotherapy, occupational therapy or private nursing.
The benefits also include homemaker services if there is no member of the household able to perform routine chores. They also include funeral costs and other death benefits which are payable to the deceased's family.
Benefits of up to $150,000 extend to anyone injured in an accident - a driver, a passenger, a cyclist or a pedestrian.
Underinsured Motorist Protection
Underinsured Motorist Protection of up to $1 million is included as part of your basic ICBC policy is one of the most important and least understood protections. Extended benefits are available through ICBC or some private insurers.
This coverage guarantees appropriate financial compensation for virtually any citizen of British Columbia injured in a motor vehicle accident even if the person responsible for the accident had no insurance or limited coverage.
The protection extends to drivers, passengers, cyclists and pedestrians whether or not the individual has ICBC coverage. The qualifying criteria is that at least one member of the household must have a valid B.C. driver's licence.
There are some limits to coverage that may apply if the accident occurred outside of British Columbia. Please consult with your GNK Insurance representative for details.
Inverse Liability means that ICBC will pay for all or part of the loss or damage to your vehicle if an accident occurs in a province or state that prohibits or restricts damage claims against the motorist responsible.
| Optional Coverage
In British Columbia all optional automobile coverage can be purchased from either the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia or one of several private insurance carriers.
The coverages offered by the pubic and private insurers are similar. However, the rates charged may vary depending on the vehicle, the region and the experience of the principal driver.
Optional Coverages fall into four main categories: Collision, Comprehensive or Specified Perils, Value-Added Insurance and Special Coverages.
Collision protection covers the cost of repairing or replacing your vehicle in the event of an accident involving another vehicle, a pedestrian, a cyclist or an object such as a tree or telephone pole.
The coverage is limited by the amount of your deductible - unless another driver is totally at fault.
If your vehicle is so severely damaged that it cannot be safely repaired, or if the cost of the repairs will exceed the value of the vehicle, your insurer will offer you a financial settlement based on a depreciated industry standard for vehicles of the same year and model.
If your vehicle is new, most insurance companies will waive the depreciation and pay you the cost a new vehicle if you had purchased replacement cost coverage..
Comprehensive or Specified Perils
Comprehensive or Specified Perils protection covers the cost of repairing or replacing your vehicle in the event the damage is caused by circumstances beyond your control - theft, fire, glass breakage, etc.
Comprehensive coverage includes damage to your windshield, theft, vandalism, malicious damage, fire, hail, lightning, earthquake, rising water and impact with an animal.
Specified Perils protection is more limited. It covers most naturally occurring damage but does not include damage to your windshield, vandalism or an impact with an animal.
The coverage is limited by the amount of the deductible. Neither Comprehensive nor Specified Perils coverage applies if your vehicle is stolen by someone living in your household.
There are a variety of coverages available for motorists who are at greater financial risk because of the use they their vehicles. These coverages can be purchased separately or as part of a package depending on the insurance company you choose.
The three most popular Value-Added products are: Loss of Use Coverage, Rental Vehicle Coverage and Travel Protection. Some restrictions may apply.
In addition to these coverages, ICBC has a package of added protections available to its best drivers. Your GNK Insurance representative will be please to explain these options to you.