Every driver in British Columbia is obligated to purchase what is know as Basic Autoplan coverage. Optional insurance in excess of what your Basic Autoplan covers can be purchased through ICBC, or through private insurance companies.
What does basic autoplan cover?
Your Basic Autoplan provides five forms of coverage:
- third party liability
- accident benefits
- underinsured motorist protection (UMP)
- hit and run, and uninsured motorist protection
- inverse liability coverage
Third party liability
Third party liability coverage protects you in the event that you are at fault for a motor vehicle accident, and the other motorist (or motorists), cyclist, or pedestrian makes an ICBC claim against you.
You are protected for up to $200,000, for any ICBC claim brought against you. If you have only the basic coverage, then you will be responsible for any amount in excess of $200,000. You have the option of purchasing Extended Third Party Liability coverage for up to $5 million dollars.
If you drive a commercial vehicle, then Basic Autoplan provides up to $1 million dollars in third party liability coverage, or $2 million dollars if you carry dangerous goods. Commercial vehicles used for commercial usage can get optional coverage for up to $10 million dollars.
Accident Benefits (also known as part 7 benefits, or “no fault” benefits)
Such benefits are contained within Part 7 of the Insurance (Vehicle) Regulation. You are entitled to such benefits as part of your ICBC Claim, even if you were responsible for causing the motor vehicle accident in question.
If you are deemed to be an “insured”, which is defined in Section 78 of the Insurance (Vehicle) Regulation, then you are eligible to apply for accident benefits. The definition is quite encompassing:
- an owner of a motor vehicle that is insured with ICBC, and a member of this owner’s household
- an occupant of a motor vehicle licensed in BC
- an occupant of a motor vehicle not required to be licensed in BC, but which is driven by a person with a BC driver’s license
- a resident of BC who has a valid driver’s certificate, and a member of such a person’s household
- a cyclist or a pedestrian who collides with a vehicle described in an owner’s certificate
- a resident of BC who is entitled to make a hit and run or uninsured motorist claim
- a personal representative of a deceased insured
Accident benefits can include medical care, dental care, surgery, rehabilitation, physiotherapy, massage, chiropractic treatment, wage loss compensation up to $300/week, specialized equipment, homemaker benefits, death benefits, and funeral benefits.
If you have permanent injuries, “no fault” benefits may also pay for costs such as attendant care, specialized aids, and vocational training, depending on your injuries.
A complete list can be found in Part 7 of the Insurance (Vehicle) Act.
You are covered for up to a $150,000 limit in accident benefits.
Underinsured Motorist Protection
If you are seriously injured in an accident, there is the possibility that the at-fault driver does not have enough insurance to cover your injuries. In such cases, your Underinsured Motorist Protection (UMP), can kick in to help cover your ICBC injury claim. Every insured motorist in B.C. has $1 million dollars of such insurance, and some may have purchased excess coverage. Such coverage can also extend to cover members of an owner’s household injured or killed in a motor vehicle accident as a driver or passenger, or as a cyclist or pedestrian, or as a passenger in a bus, taxi, or limousine. Such coverage also includes up to $1 million dollars PER person.
Further, excess Underinsured Motorist Protection is available for up to $2 million per person, for a relatively small annual sum of $25.
Division 2 of the Insurance (Vehicle) Regulations is the relevant legislation in British Columbia pertaining to Underinsured Motorist Protection ICBC claims.
However, there are certain situations where UMP will not apply:
- Insured is an occupant of an unlicensed vehicle, unless there is a reasonable belief that it is licensed
- Insured is a driver or passenger in a vehicle without the consent of the owner, unless there is a reasonable belief that you do have such consent
- Insured is an occupant of an exempt (from insurance) vehicle
- Accident does not occur on a public highway
- Hit and run accident occurs in Yukon, NWT, Nunavut, or USA, and there is no physical contact with the hit and run vehicle
- Accident occurs in a jurisdiction that does not allow you to sue for your injuries
- You sue or settle against someone without ICBC’S written agreement
Hit and run, and uninsured motorist protection
This component of your Basic Autoplan coverage covers you for up to $200,000.00 for your property damage, injuries or death, but not property damage if the hit and run accident occurs elsewhere in Canada, or in the United States. The coverage is available to every resident of British Columbia, even if you do not own or insure a vehicle. If the amount exceeds $200,000.00, then your Underinsured Motorist Protection, also a component of your Basic Autoplan coverage, may kick in to cover the excess amount, up to $1 million dollars.
With respect to a hit and run accident, it must occur on a “highway” in B.C. The legislative definitions of “highway” in Section 1 of the Transportation Act, and Section 1 of the Motor Vehicle Act, are fortunately quite broad:
- all public streets, roads, trails, lanes, bridges, trestles, tunnels, ferry landings and approaches, and any other public way
- every road, street, lane, or right of way designed or intended for or used by the general public for the passage of vehicles
- every private place or passageway to which the public, for the purpose of the parking or servicing of vehicles, has access or is invited, but does not include an industrial road.
It is important to note that it is incumbent upon the claimant to make all “reasonable efforts” to ascertain the identity of the driver and/or owner of the car that they were stuck by. If a claimant does not do this, their ICBC claim will likely be dismissed.
Some provinces in Canada have funds set up to pay for hit and run and uninsured injury claims. Some of these funds cover injury only, and others may also pay for property damage, however subject to a deductible.
However, the Yukon, Northwest and Nunavut territories, and most of the United States do not have funds of such a nature for hit and run and uninsured injury claims. Basic Autoplan covers you if you are injured or killed in a crash on a highway in any of these jurisdictions, however does not cover damage to your car in such jurisdictions.
Inverse liability coverage
This component of your Basic Autoplan coverage covers you in the event that you are in certain parts of Canada or the United States where you are not allowed to claim against an offending motorist, but only for damage to your vehicle. Further, you are only covered for whatever percentage of the fault was not yours. If you were to have collision coverage, as a form of optional insurance, this would cover the cost of repairing your vehicle, even if you were wholly to blame. However, there would likely be a deductible that you would have to pay if you had collision coverage. Sometimes this deductible can be waived.
What will basic autoplan not cover?
There exist certain circumstances in which ICBC will not provide any coverage to you:
- Your vehicle is insured in the wrong rate class. For example, if your policy states that you are only using the vehicle six times a month, yet in actuality, you use the vehicle every single day, then you run the risk of ICBC not covering you for anything.
- Your driver’s licence is not valid because it either expired, or you are currently under a driving suspension.
- Your insurance coverage was not renewed on time.
- You are involved in an accident outside of Canada and the United States.
- You are under the influence of alcohol or drugs at the time of the motor vehicle accident.
- You let someone driver your car who does not have a valid driver’s licence.
- You falsely report how the accident actually occurred.
- You used a vehicle to intentionally cause damage.
- You were involved in a motor vehicle accident while attempting to avoid the police.