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What Is the Difference Between ICBC and Private Insurance?

If you have spent any time driving in British Columbia, you are likely familiar with the ICBC. This crown corporation has been in effect since 1973 and serves as the primary insurer for all BC drivers. This is a major departure from countries like the United States, where private companies provide drivers with auto insurance.

While the ICBC serves as the primary insurer in the province, private insurance is still available. There are important differences between these types of coverage, and they are important to understand should you have to file a claim. In some cases, insurance providers deny claims unfairly. If you are fighting over insurance coverage regarding an accident, speak with the ICBC law firm of Preszler Injury Lawyers right away.

ICBC insurance

There is one obvious reason ICBC insurance coverage is so prevalent: obtaining a policy is mandatory. Any British Columbia driver that wishes to register or drive a vehicle must first obtain an ICBC insurance plan. This basic coverage requirement covers the bare minimum level of insurance.

The basic plan every driver must purchase covers up to $200,000 in bodily injury and property damage for third-party liability. This policy covers claims from third parties based on your negligence. These basic plans also provide underinsured motorist protection for medical expenses caused by underinsured drivers.

Speaking of medical coverage, the basic policy also provides up to $150,000 of medical coverage per person. Following a hit and run accident, ICBC also provides up to $200,000 in coverage.

ICBC policies are always the primary policy. Because they are mandatory, these policies will provide the initial source of compensation after a crash. That said, it is possible to have private insurance policies that supplement your ICBC coverage.

Private insurance

Private insurance is entirely optional in British Columbia. However, there are many situations where additional coverage could be useful to you. For supplemental policies like collision or comprehensive coverage, you have the option of purchasing this coverage from a private insurer or even as an add-on to your ICBC policy.

There are some notable benefits of private insurance. Private insurers typically offer more flexibility for lower premiums versus higher deductibles. In some cases, the cost of this coverage is less than adding more ICBC coverage. Every policy is different, and your age and gender could play a big role in the cost of a policy.

There are types of compensation available through private insurance that are not an option with the basic ICBC plan. This involves everything from covering damaged property like sound systems to covering the cost of an injured pet’s veterinary bills.

There are some downsides to private coverage. Two insurers mean twice the hassle, and private policies often require more paperwork. It means paying two separate bills for insurance each month.

The biggest drawback, however, is the necessity to deal with both carriers following an accident. With two policies, you must inform both providers after an accident occurs. This is the case even if you do not file a claim with a specific carrier. This added hassle can add unnecessary complications following a collision.

How Preszler Injury Lawyers could help

Ultimately, only you can determine if the addition of private insurance is worth it. Every driver has different needs, so the ideal level of coverage for you might not work for someone else.

Regardless of the insurance options you choose, the process of filing a claim can be challenging. Insurance companies will frequently deny a claim or limit their benefit payouts without a viable reason. An ICBC lawyer at Preszler Injury Lawyers can work with you to ensure your claim is error-free. If that claim is denied, the firm can assist you with appealing that decision. To discuss your injury claim with a compassionate lawyer, contact us right away.


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