Car insurance in both British Columbia (BC) and Ontario is mandatory for all drivers, but the systems, rates, and regulations differ between the two provinces. Here’s a side-by-side comparison:
1. Insurance Providers:
- BC: The basic mandatory coverage is provided exclusively by the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC), a government-run entity. Drivers can purchase optional coverage from ICBC or private insurers.
- Ontario: Insurance is provided exclusively by private insurance companies. This allows for more competition, and drivers can shop around for rates.
2. Pricing Model:
- BC: The province recently transitioned to a more driver-based model, where premiums are based on the driving record of the individual as opposed to the vehicle owner. As of September 2019, 75% of a basic premium is calculated based on the primary driver, with the remaining 25% based on up to four additional drivers.
- Ontario: Premiums are determined by a combination of factors including the driver’s record, the type of vehicle, its intended use, where the driver lives, and the amount of coverage chosen.
3. Average Costs:
- BC: Historically, BC has had some of the highest car insurance rates in Canada. This is due, in part, to the fact that ICBC is the sole provider of basic insurance.
- Ontario: Ontario also has high car insurance rates, often competing with BC for the top spot. The rates depend on where in Ontario you live; for instance, Toronto tends to have higher rates than more rural areas.
- BC: Basic coverage in BC includes third-party liability, underinsured motorist protection, accident benefits, hit-and-run and uninsured automobile coverage, and inverse liability protection. Optional coverage for collision, comprehensive, and specified perils can be purchased additionally.
- Ontario: The standard policy includes third-party liability, uninsured automobile coverage, direct compensation-property damage, and accident benefits. Drivers can also purchase optional coverages, such as comprehensive and collision.
5. No-Fault System:
- BC: BC operates on a modified no-fault system, which means drivers deal with their own insurance company regardless of who is at fault in an accident. However, this doesn’t mean drivers can’t be found at fault and see increased premiums.
- Ontario: Ontario also operates on a no-fault system. Each driver deals with their own insurance provider for claims and injury compensation, irrespective of who caused the accident.
- BC: The standard deductible for basic coverage with ICBC is $750, though it can vary depending on the coverage.
- Ontario: Deductibles in Ontario vary depending on the insurance provider and the coverage chosen. They can range widely, often between $500 and $1000 for collision and comprehensive coverage.
7. Claims Process:
- BC: Since basic coverage is through ICBC, all basic claims are processed by them. Optional coverage claims can be processed either by ICBC or the chosen private insurer.
- Ontario: Claims are processed by the private insurance company with which the policy is held.
8. Rate Increases Following a Claim:
- BC: If you’re responsible for a crash, your insurance rates may go up at renewal. The extent of the increase will depend on the details of the accident and your driving history.
- Ontario: Similar to BC, if you’re found at fault for an accident, your premiums may increase upon renewal. The magnitude of the increase will depend on your driving record, the nature of the claim, and your insurer.
Both provinces have their unique systems, advantages, and challenges. It’s essential to understand the specifics of each system, especially if relocating or buying insurance for the first time.
Car Insurance British Columbia vs Ontario Cost
The cost of auto insurance in British Columbia and Ontario can vary depending on a variety of factors, including the driver’s age, location, driving record, and the make and model of their vehicle. Here are some examples of the average cost of auto insurance in BC and Ontario for a 30-year-old driver with a clean driving record, driving a 2018 Honda Civic:
- Vancouver: $1,825 per year or $152 per month
- Surrey: $1,750 per year or $146 per month
- Burnaby: $1,725 per year or $144 per month
- Richmond: $1,700 per year or $142 per month
- Coquitlam: $1,650 per year or $138 per month
- Victoria: $1,575 per year or $131 per month
- Kelowna: $1,500 per year or $125 per month
- Abbotsford: $1,475 per year or $123 per month
- Kamloops: $1,400 per year or $117 per month
- Nanaimo: $1,375 per year or $115 per month
- Toronto: $2,100 per year or $175 per month
- Ottawa: $1,675 per year or $140 per month
- Mississauga: $1,925 per year or $160 per month
- Brampton: $2,200 per year or $183 per month
- Hamilton: $1,550 per year or $129 per month
- London: $1,600 per year or $133 per month
- Markham: $2,050 per year or $171 per month
- Vaughan: $2,100 per year or $175 per month
- Kitchener: $1,525 per year or $127 per month
- Windsor: $1,500 per year or $125 per month
Profile 1: New Driver, Age 22, Sedan
British Columbia (BC):
- Basic coverage (ICBC): $2,800
- Optional comprehensive & collision (Private insurer): $1,000 Total: $3,800/year
- Basic coverage (Private insurer): $3,200
- Optional comprehensive & collision: $1,100 Total: $4,300/year
Profile 2: Experienced Driver, Age 35, SUV, No Accidents
British Columbia (BC):
- Basic coverage (ICBC): $1,600
- Optional comprehensive & collision (Private insurer): $900 Total: $2,500/year
- Basic coverage (Private insurer): $1,500
- Optional comprehensive & collision: $850 Total: $2,350/year
Profile 3: Senior Driver, Age 65, Compact Car, Recent At-Fault Accident
British Columbia (BC):
- Basic coverage (ICBC): $1,400
- Optional comprehensive & collision (Private insurer): $700 Total: $2,100/year
- Basic coverage (Private insurer): $1,800
- Optional comprehensive & collision: $800 Total: $2,600/year
Profile 4: Family, Ages 40 & 38, Minivan, One Speeding Ticket
British Columbia (BC):
- Basic coverage (ICBC): $1,800
- Optional comprehensive & collision (Private insurer): $1,000 Total: $2,800/year
- Basic coverage (Private insurer): $2,000
- Optional comprehensive & collision: $950 Total: $2,950/year
- Younger Drivers: BC might have higher costs for younger drivers compared to Ontario due to the driver-based model emphasizing driving experience and age.
- Experienced Drivers: Costs are relatively closer between the two provinces for experienced drivers without recent claims or traffic violations.
- Accidents/Traffic Violations: Rates increase in both provinces after an at-fault accident or traffic violation. However, the degree of the rate hike varies based on the province and the insurer’s discretion.
- Vehicle Type: The type of vehicle can impact insurance rates. For instance, an SUV might generally incur higher insurance costs than a compact car, considering potential damage severity.
Cheapest Cars To Insure In BC
The cost of car insurance in British Columbia can vary depending on a variety of factors, including the make and model of the vehicle, the driver’s age, location, driving record, and the level of coverage selected. Here are some examples of the cheapest cars to insure in BC, based on 2022 data from online insurance quote providers, along with their average monthly and yearly insurance rates:
- Honda CR-V – $117 per month or $1,400 per year
- Jeep Compass – $118 per month or $1,420 per year
- Toyota RAV4 – $122 per month or $1,465 per year
- Mazda CX-5 – $125 per month or $1,500 per year
- Subaru Crosstrek – $129 per month or $1,550 per year
- Hyundai Kona – $131 per month or $1,575 per year
- Kia Sportage – $132 per month or $1,580 per year
- Nissan Qashqai – $133 per month or $1,595 per year
- Volkswagen Tiguan – $138 per month or $1,655 per year
- Mitsubishi RVR – $139 per month or $1,665 per year
Cheapest Car To Insure In Ontario
The cost of car insurance in Ontario can vary depending on a variety of factors, including the make and model of the vehicle, the driver’s age, location, driving record, and the level of coverage selected. Here are some examples of the cheapest cars to insure in Ontario, based on 2022 data from online insurance quote providers, along with their average monthly and yearly insurance rates:
- Honda Civic – $135 per month or $1,620 per year
- Toyota Corolla – $138 per month or $1,660 per year
- Hyundai Elantra – $142 per month or $1,700 per year
- Mazda3 – $145 per month or $1,740 per year
- Volkswagen Jetta – $147 per month or $1,760 per year
- Kia Forte – $151 per month or $1,810 per year
- Chevrolet Cruze – $152 per month or $1,820 per year
- Ford Focus – $154 per month or $1,850 per year
- Nissan Sentra – $157 per month or $1,890 per year
- Subaru Impreza – $161 per month or $1,930 per year
Car Insurance British Columbia vs Ontario FAQs
1. Who regulates car insurance in BC and Ontario?
BC: The Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC) manages basic auto insurance, while the British Columbia Utilities Commission (BCUC) oversees ICBC’s rates. Optional coverage is regulated by the British Columbia Financial Services Authority (BCFSA).
Ontario: The Financial Services Regulatory Authority of Ontario (FSRAO) oversees car insurance regulation.
2. Can I use my BC insurance in Ontario and vice versa?
Answer: Yes, your insurance is valid across Canada. However, if you’re moving between provinces, you typically have a certain period (often 30-90 days) to update your insurance to the standards of your new province.
3. Which province has higher insurance rates, BC or Ontario?
Answer: Both BC and Ontario historically have high rates, often considered among the highest in Canada. The exact cost depends on specific circumstances, such as the driver’s profile, location, and vehicle type. It’s best to get individual quotes for a precise comparison.
4. How are insurance rates determined in each province?
BC: Rates are largely based on the driver’s profile, including age, driving experience, and accident history. The type of vehicle and its use also impact the rate.
Ontario: Insurance companies consider factors like the driver’s age, driving record, location, type of vehicle, its use, and coverage amounts.
5. What happens if I get into an accident in either province?
BC: BC operates on a modified no-fault system. This means, regardless of who’s at fault, you deal with your own insurance company. However, being at fault can still raise your premiums.
Ontario: Ontario also uses a no-fault system. Regardless of fault, each driver claims from their own insurance provider.
6. Is it mandatory to have winter tires in either province for insurance purposes?
BC: While winter tires are not mandatory province-wide, certain routes and highways require vehicles to be equipped with winter tires or carry chains.
Ontario: Winter tires are not mandatory, but some insurance companies offer discounts if you use them.
7. Can I choose my own repair shop after an accident?
BC: Yes, you can choose any ICBC c.a.r. shop accredited facility, but ICBC may recommend certain repair shops.
Ontario: Typically, you can choose your repair shop, but it’s good practice to check with your insurer, as they might have preferred or direct repair facilities.
8. What is the minimum liability coverage required in BC and Ontario?
BC: The minimum third-party liability limit is $200,000.
Ontario: The minimum third-party liability limit is $200,000, though many drivers opt for higher coverage due to potential litigation costs.
9. How do I file a claim in each province?
BC: For basic coverage, you’d file a claim with ICBC either online, by phone, or through an app. For optional coverage, you’d file with your private insurer.
Ontario: File a claim directly with your insurance company, usually by phone or online.
10. What if I don’t agree with my insurer’s decision or assessment?
BC: You can ask for a Claims Assessment Review for certain decisions. If unsatisfied, you can further appeal to the Civil Resolution Tribunal.
Ontario: Start by discussing concerns with your insurance company. If unresolved, you can reach out to the Financial Services Regulatory Authority of Ontario (FSRAO) for mediation or arbitration.
11. Is it easy to switch insurers within the province?
BC: For basic coverage, you don’t have an option as ICBC is the sole provider. For optional coverage, you can shop around and switch private insurers, but ensure you understand any potential fees or implications of canceling your policy mid-term.
Ontario: Yes, you can switch insurance companies. However, it’s essential to ensure there’s no gap in coverage. Also, be aware of potential cancellation fees if switching before your policy term ends.
12. How does a driver’s age affect insurance rates?
BC: Younger and less experienced drivers typically pay higher premiums because they’re considered higher risk. As drivers gain experience and maintain a clean driving record, rates generally decrease.
Ontario: Similar to BC, younger drivers usually face higher rates, which tend to decrease with age and experience, provided the driver maintains a clean record.
13. What are the penalties for driving without insurance?
BC: Driving without valid insurance can result in a fine of at least $598. You might also have your vehicle impounded and face higher insurance premiums when you seek coverage.
Ontario: The penalty for a first-time offense ranges from $5,000 to $25,000. Repeat offenders can face fines from $10,000 to $50,000. Additionally, you might face license suspension and vehicle impoundment.
14. Do both provinces offer discounts for bundling auto insurance with other types of insurance?
BC: While ICBC offers only auto insurance, private insurers offering optional coverages might provide bundling discounts if you also purchase home or other insurance from them.
Ontario: Many private insurers offer discounts if you bundle auto insurance with home, renters, or other types of insurance.
15. Can I get a discount for using winter tires in BC, like in Ontario?
BC: ICBC does not offer a specific discount for using winter tires. However, having winter tires might help in establishing due diligence in the event of a winter-related claim. Private insurers might have different policies, so it’s always good to check.
Ontario: Many insurers offer a winter tire discount, but it’s not mandated by law. It’s advisable to check with your insurer.
16. How do demerit points affect insurance rates?
BC: BC doesn’t use a demerit point system. Instead, it has the Driver Risk Premium and Driver Penalty Point Premium, which can increase your insurance costs if you have traffic convictions.
Ontario: Accumulating demerit points can affect your insurance rates. Generally, the more points you have, the higher the risk you pose, leading to increased premiums.
17. What if my car is an electric vehicle or a hybrid?
BC: ICBC offers a reduced insurance rate for electric vehicles. Also, you may be eligible for rebates or incentives from the provincial government when purchasing an electric or hybrid vehicle.
Ontario: Insurance rates can vary for electric or hybrid vehicles based on the insurer. While there might not be direct discounts, the province has had incentive programs in the past for purchasing green vehicles.