What Happens If You Get Into an Accident in Another Province?

Motor vehicle accidents know no boundaries, but if you are involved in a collision outside your home province, ICBC regulations and your benefits might change. That is because each province – and country (if the accident happens in the U.S.) – has its own laws regarding auto insurance.

If you were seriously injured in the crash, an ICBC lawyer at Preszler Injury Law will review your case and let you know which province offers the best legal advantage for your claim.

ICBC as insurer

The ICBC insures all qualified motorists in the province. When two B.C. drivers collide in B.C, both are represented and covered by the ICBC. When a B.C. driver gets into an accident in another province, the ICBC remains his or her insurer but does not represent the other driver involved. Other drivers are covered by their own provincial or private insurers.

ICBC minimum coverage

Under the ICBC’s Autoplan, which is the basic plan with no additional insurance purchase, a minimum of $200,000 in coverage for B.C. vehicles is mandated. Other provinces have a lower limit, and that is an issue if you have an accident outside of B.C. Some insurers in other provinces do match ICBC minimums. Find out which provincial insurers match the ICBC by finding out if they sell any type of insurance products in B.C., or if there is a reciprocal ICBC agreement.

Out-of-province accidents

Motor vehicle laws and insurance requirements differ according to the province. Such regulations apply to every vehicle on the road in that province, but once a car crosses into another province, that area’s laws are in effect.

However, if the accident involves only another B.C. motorist and occurs in Canada, then you can agree to allow the B.C. courts to have jurisdiction. If you happen to collide with another B.C. driver in the U.S. or another country, the laws of that nation apply.

U.S. accidents

If your accident occurs in the U.S., ICBC will cover you – even if the crash happens in Alaska or Hawaii –but it does not cover accidents in Mexico. Before travelling abroad to the U.S., is it critical to review your policy and determine the circumstances under which you are covered. You may need to purchase additional insurance prior to the trip. Such short-term insurance is not that costly and can give you peace of mind on your travels.

The purpose of your trip also relates to coverage. Vacations or pleasure trips fall under the ICBC, but travelling on business is a different story. An accident on a business trip may mean your company must insure you. It is even more complicated when a journey mixes business and pleasure. Different rules apply for regular commuters between B.C., other provinces, or the United States.

Keep in mind that many states require much lower insurance thresholds than those provided by the ICBC. The bottom line is that the U.S. driver may not have sufficient insurance to pay for the resulting damage.

Personal injury lawsuits stemming from a serious accident are subject to the statute of limitations in that particular state. Accidents occurring in the U.S. are overseen by a U.S. court in case of a criminal or civil action. Seek legal counsel as soon as possible after a car accident in the U.S.

Underinsured motorist protection

The ICBC’s Autoplan includes basic Underinsured Motorist Protection (UMP), which protects a motorist if the other driver in the accident does not possess enough coverage. Before travelling, consider buying additional UMP insurance, known as Extensional UMP, in case you get into a crash with an underinsured driver. The additional insurance can pay the difference between the underinsured driver’s policy limits and the deficient amount.

Contact a Vancouver ICBC lawyer

If you or someone you know was involved in an out-of-province car accident, our ICBC law firm can help. Preszler Injury Law offers free consultations, so call us 24/7 or contact us online to make an appointment. Due to the complexities of the insurance law when an accident occurs outside of B.C., obtaining legal advice under such circumstances is wise. Our dedicated lawyers can handle all of the paperwork and negotiations with the ICBC or other insurers on your behalf.

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