Legal Insights / Personal Injury / Car Accident Coverage: How Much Auto Insurance Do I Really Need?

Car Accident Coverage: How Much Auto Insurance Do I Really Need?

Jan 8 2019
car accident coverage

Every vehicle driven in BC requires auto insurance. For starters, there is the minimum insurance level – Basic Autoplan – that ICBC requires you to have. From there, you can choose from several third-party liability insurance options. These options provide additional security and coverage and – depending on how they are applied – can be costly.

Trying to decide how much third-party liability coverage you should get can be a daunting task. Most often, a decision will be based on three things: price (added coverage means added costs so how much can you afford); purpose (what is the intended use of your vehicle); and personal choice (how much coverage do you feel you really need).

There are four different rate classes in BC

Before you make any decisions, remember that other factors are also used to determine rates and coverage. Even the intended use of your vehicle – called a rate class – will come into play. Rates will vary, depending on your personal circumstances and even the type of vehicle you drive.

  • Pleasure – for driving you do every day, including taking your kids to school, running errands and going on a vacation. If you commute under this plan, that commute is limited to six days per calendar month.
  • Commuting – for driving regularly to school or work. (It also covers some pleasure use.) The amount you pay depends on the length of your commute.
  • Business – for using your vehicle primarily for business purposes. If you are a real estate, for example, you would need your vehicle to meet with potential buyers and sellers. This insurance plus additional insurance is required if you drive passengers for payment, such as a limousine or taxi driver, or if you lend your vehicle to a service such as Lyft or Uber.
  • Delivery – if you use your vehicle for delivery services, you will need to procure insurance in this class. Different rate classes exist and the one you will need depends on how far your delivery route(s) is/are and what you deliver.

Add-on Insurance Options

You can also choose to have additional policies for:

  • Extended third-party liability to ensure that you have sufficient coverage.
  • Extension Underinsured Motorist Protection in the event that the other driver may not have enough coverage.
  • Loss of Use coverage helps you stay on the road after a claim.
  • Collision covers replacement parts and repair regardless of fault.
  • Comprehensive covers non-collision damage.
  • Rental vehicle coverage covers you and a rented vehicle.
  • New vehicle protection covers a new vehicle.

You can even get specialized coverage that provides increased protection for special vehicles and vehicles that are not driven often.

Third Party Legal Liability

If an accident is your fault and you are legally liable for damages caused to another person or persons by that accident, ICBC’s Basic Autoplan covers you only up to $200,000. This amount includes injury, legal costs and property damage. This is the bare minimum and is not recommended.

Because accident costs add up quickly, opting for additional or extended third-party liability coverage is recommended. Lost wages, medical bills and pain and suffering are just a few of the many factors to be considered and the amount offered by Basic Autoplan is often not sufficient to cover those kinds of potential damages.

If you do not purchase insurance to extend the limit of liability, and if you are found to be legally liable for anything over $200,000, you could be personally responsible for paying the difference on your own. If you own a home or have other valuable assets, those assets could be lost if you don’t have sufficient insurance policy limits to pay a judgment or claim.

Contact RDM Lawyers

If you have been involved in an accident that wasn’t your fault and need assistance dealing with ICBC or a third-party insurance provider, or if you have questions about the application of your coverage, we can help with that.

Get in Touch


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