Private insurance vs public insurance

Private Insurance or Public Insurance?

If you’re buying a car, you will need car insurance! In British Columbia, there are two different auto insurance providers; either public insurance or private insurance. Therefore, it is important to understand the characteristics of both systems. They vary depending on the coverage and services you require.

What’s the Difference?

As a driver, you don’t have the choice whether to buy insurance in Canada. However you do have the choice in adding additional coverage to your basic public insurance. In British Columbia the public insurance provider is ICBC, the insurance corporation of British Columbia. It is owned and run by the government. The private insurance that Baron Insurance sells is called Family Insurance which offers different coverage at different premiums.

Public Insurance:

Basic auto insurance for cars, trucks, motorcycles, and recreational vehicles is only available through public insurance. ICBC holds mandatory Basic Autoplan, which is the minimum amount of coverage a motorist must hold. Therefore, public Insurance includes five main areas of coverage: third party liability, underinsured motorist protection, medical coverage and wage loss, hit and run damages, and inverse liability protection. You can read more about these coverage’s at

Insurance companies generally cost an incredibly large amount of money to start up, and the government doesn’t normally have the funds to start one. However, ICBC is able to provide insurance to the residents of BC because taxpayer’s money helps the government do this. This allows public insurance to offer lower premiums and easy to understand, one-sized fits all policies. However, with this being said, standard coverage means you have limited policy choices.

Private Insurance:

Of course, after you have purchased your basic Autoplan from ICBC you have the option to purchase additional insurance, privately. Basic auto insurance does not automatically cover vehicle replacement and repair costs in all instances. So, if you have a newer vehicle or are on the road a lot, you may want to consider investing in this additional private insurance. While you can get additional coverage from ICBC, it is worth considering Family Insurance, to see if it will cost you less.

Private insurance companies have their own list of benefits:

  • Competitive premiums
  • Lower deductibles
  • Broader coverage
  • 24/7 claim service
  • Emergency roadside assistance
  • Rental vehicle coverage

A drawback associated with private insurance is that there are a lot of different private insurance companies out there. Customers have to shop around in order to find the right coverage for the lowest premium.

What do I go with?

If your car insurance is up for renewal, it is important to understand the benefits of private vs. public insurance. In the end, the amount of additional coverage you want to hold is up to you! Ask your family and friends about their coverage and premiums they pay. Try to be as knowledgeable about your car insurance as possible.

Come in to Baron Insurance and our Auto agents can quote you out with both Family and ICBC coverage to find what’s best for you!

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