Saturday, December 20, 2014

British Columbia


Car insurance in this province is provided by a government-run insurance
company, Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC). Since 1973,
BC consumers have had very little choice in how and where they buy their
car insurance. If they are dissatisfied with the service provided by
ICBC or the premiums they are being charged, drivers in BC do not have
the same option as do drivers in other provinces – the option to switch
insurance companies.
 
BC consumers do have some of the same choices available to other
Canadians when it comes to optional car insurance. Drivers can purchase
collision, fire and theft insurance from the private car insurance
companies competing for business in BC. These companies are committed to
ensuring consumers have the benefit of competition and choice, where
government inaction has made it difficult to do so.
A competitive business environment is a powerful incentive for insurers
to deliver the best service and to understand and meet consumers’ needs.
Auto insurance is no exception to this rule. As consumers’ needs
change, private sector insurance companies respond by offering
innovative new products and services. Product innovations such as first
accident forgiveness, replacement cost coverage, roadside assistance,
and payment plans were all adopted in competitive jurisdictions long
before they were available in provinces with government-run auto
insurance systems.
 
After the BC government’s 2001 election-campaign commitment to increase
competition in auto insurance, a lengthy examination of the role and
mandate of ICBC was conducted. The recommendations for insurance reforms
that came out of that review fell short of creating a fully competitive
market and giving consumers full choice and competition in automobile
insurance. Drivers in BC must still buy their mandatory insurance from
government-run ICBC.
Private-sector auto insurers continue to work to ensure that consumers
in BC have competition and choice in where, how and from whom they buy
auto insurance.
 

Minimum Required Auto Insurance

 Coverage in British Columbia

As of May 1, 2013


Compulsory minimum third-party liability:$200,000
is available for any one accident; however, if a claim involving both
bodily injury and property damage reaches this figure, payment for
property damage will be capped at $20,000
Medical payments:$150,000/person, including rehabilitation, excluding health insurance and other medical plans
Funeral expense benefits:$2,500
Disability income benefits:75%
gross weekly wages to a maximum $300/week; 104 weeks temporary
disability, lifetime if totally disabled; nothing is payable for the
first 7 days of disability; homemaker up to $145/week, maximum 104 weeks
Death benefits:Death
of head of household $5,000 and $145/week for 104 weeks to first
survivor, plus $1,000 and $35/week for 104 weeks to each child; death of
spouse/partner $2,500; death of dependent child according to age,
maximum $1,500/child
Impairment benefits:N/A
Right to sue for pain and suffering?Yes
Right to sue for economic loss in excess of no-fault benefits?Yes
Administration:Government (government and private insurers compete for optional and excess coverage)

 

Steps Required to Become a Fully 

Licensed Driver in British Columbia

Introduced Oct. 6, 2003

How do I become a Learner?

To enter the Learner Phase (Class 7L), you must:

  • Be at least 16
  • Take a vision test
  • Take a driving knowledge test
  • Have a parent or guardian’s consent (if you are under 19)

How long will I be in the Learner Phase?

You must be in the Learner Phase for at least 12 months. The Learner’s
license is valid for two years, but can be extended if you re-qualify on
the knowledge test. You can stay in this phase for as long as you like.
You must be 16 years of age (and have passed all license requirements) to enter the Learner Phase.

What are the restrictions while I am in the Learner Phase?

You must drive with a supervisory driver who is 25 or older and has a
valid Class 1-5 driver’s licence. You can have, along with the
supervisory driver, only one other passenger in the car with you.  You
cannot drive between midnight and 5 a.m. You cannot drink when you are
driving – your blood alcohol must be zero. Your car must have the
Learner sign on it.
The minimum penalty for violating any Learner Phase restriction is a
$109 fine. If you break the no-drinking-and-driving rule, you will get
an immediate 12-hour driving suspension, and you will not be able to
drive again for one month, on a first offense.  If you break the
no-drinking-and-driving rule again, you will not be able to drive for a
year.

What else should I know?

If you break any traffic rules while you are a Learner, you can lose
your right to drive very quickly. You will be allowed only two to six
demerit points (instead of the 15 to 19 points allowed to a Class 1-5
driver).  If you get too many demerit points, you will lose the right to
drive for a period of time.
If you get four demerit points (this would usually happen with two
tickets) you can lose the right to drive for one month.  If you get more
than four points you can lose the right to drive for a longer time.
You are also subject to all the penalties and fines that apply to other drivers.  For a chart of these, seehttp://www.icbc.com/Licensing/lic_fines_pen_fine_chart.asp

How do I become a Novice?

To enter the Novice Phase (Class 7N) from the Learner Phase, you must pass the Class 7 road test.

How long will I be in the Novice Phase?

You must be in the Novice Phase for at least 24 months, unless you take and pass an ICBC-approved driver education course (which
reduces this by 6 months). The approved course must be taken and passed
in the Learner Phase. In addition, to qualify for the six month
reduction, you must be prohibition free; ticket and violation free; and
not have any at-fault collisions.

What are the restrictions while I am in the Novice Phase?

You can have only one passenger in the car with you, unless you have a
supervisory driver who is 25 or older and has a valid Class 1-5 driver’s license (one or more immediate family members are allowed even without a
supervisor). You cannot drink when you are driving – your blood alcohol
must be zero. Your car must have the Novice sign on it.

What else should I know?

If you break any traffic rules, you will go back to the beginning of the
Novice Phase; you will lose all of the time you have spent in this
phase.
As in the Learner Phase, you will be allowed only two to six demerit
points (instead of the 15 to 19 points allowed to a Class 1-5 driver).
If you get too many demerit points, you will lose the right to drive for
a period of time.
To graduate from the Novice Phase, you must pass the Class 5 road test.

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