If someone were to ask you what your car insurance covers, what would you say? You may state that you have basic insurance and collision, and if you hit someone or someone hits you, the only immediate cost incurred will be your deductible. But what happens when you or the other party are physically injured in that accident? Who is eligible for benefits? When is the right time to make a personal injury claim? You may not know the answer to these questions, and you are not alone.
Car insurance in British Columbia is a subject most people do not discuss. You simply walk into your local insurance broker’s office, and pay what you are told without looking at the fine print. It is usually only when you are involved in a motor vehicle accident that you find out the details of your coverage – and it’s usually more of a stress than a relief.
Often times, insurance coverage details can be confusing and heavily bogged down with technical jargon and complex language. So, let’s break down what the average car insurance plans cover and what benefits are available for you and your vehicle.
Vehicle insurance essentially breaks down into two kinds of coverage: coverage for when you are at fault, and coverage for when you are not at fault.
When you are at fault
Mandatory vehicle insurance in BC provides everyone with basic insurance and some additional benefits in the event of an accident. If you are at fault, this insurance covers the other drivers’ vehicle damages and up to a minimum of $200,000 in at fault or liability insurance. When you are at fault, you are not entitled to be compensated for your injuries, your wage loss or your out of pocket expenses. However, there are some benefits that are available under your ICBC coverage called accident benefits or no fault benefits.
No fault benefits are very basic insurance benefits to assist injured people who have no other insurance coverage. These benefits include rehabilitation benefits, which pay a portion of certain treatment such as physiotherapy, massage therapy or chiropractic treatments, as well as minimal wage loss coverage up to $300 per week.
When you are not at fault
When you are not at fault, your insurance is unaffected as your claim will go against the other parties’ insurance. However, if you do suffer injuries, both the other parties’ coverage and your own insurance coverage can help in your recovery. This means you will deal with ICBC as both your insurance company for no fault benefits and the other driver’s insurance company for such things as injury compensation, wage loss and out-of-pocket expenses if you chose to make a claim against them.
The Bottom Line
Beyond repairing your vehicle, purchasing insurance protects you from any personal responsibility to pay the injured person if you are fault. However, it is important to note that your insurance is NOT paying for compensation for your injuries.
In the event you are not at fault, and are injured due to the fault of another driver, ICBC is the other person’s insurance company, not yours.
If ICBC doesn’t represent you, who will?
You can find yourself in a situation where you have been physically injured in a car accident by another party and are faced with the reality that, even though it’s not your fault, you are unable to work and receive subsequent income. It is at this point that starting a personal injury claim is a viable solution. We recommend that you hire a personal injury lawyer to ensure your claim is properly assessed to make the decision best suited for your needs.
Knowing what to do and having someone guide you through the legal procedures can eliminate your worry and help you get better faster. So, if you’ve been in an accident and are unsure of your rights, give us a call to receive your free consultation and we can get you started in the right direction, no matter where it leads.
About the Author:
Rory Morgan is an Associate Counsel at Hamilton Duncan, and has been practicing law for over 18 years. Rory focuses exclusively on personal injury litigation, representing those injured in motor vehicle and slip and fall accidents, and ensuring they receive fair treatment and compensation from the insurance companies.