U.S. vehicles in B.C. need full auto insurance coverage

Hanah Lopes

People cross the border between the U.S. and Canada at Peace Arch Park in March 18 in Blaine. U.S. drivers with plans to visit British Columbia should check vehicle insurance for coverage. A new law blocks filing against B.C. insurance.

People cross the border between the U.S. and Canada at Peace Arch Park in March 18 in Blaine. U.S. drivers with plans to visit British Columbia should check vehicle insurance for coverage. A new law blocks filing against B.C. insurance.

The Bellingham Herald

As the U.S.-Canada border continues to see a growing number of border crossings into British Columbia, insurance experts are reminding U.S. drivers that if they get into an accident while in B.C., they will no longer be able to make a claim against the at-fault driver’s insurance.

Full auto insurance coverage is being strongly recommended for U.S. drivers after the recent adoption of B.C.’s recent Insurance Vehicle Act.

The May 2021 law could particularly impact drivers in Washington state, which has 13 border crossings with B.C. Some of the most popular crossings to reach Vancouver by car are the five in Whatcom County, near Bellingham.

Since the lifting of COVID travel restrictions in April 2022, those five crossings closest to B.C. have seen about 5,500 to as many as 10,000 people per day crossing so far in November alone.

Crucially, U.S. drivers will be responsible for paying for their own injuries or damages — regardless of who is at fault. Experts says knowing the risks and being prepared before going are important.

“We’ve already begun to see the impact of this change to B.C. liability laws, just as the US-Canadian border has fully reopened and more U.S. drivers are once again visiting places like Victoria and Vancouver,” stated NW Insurance Council President Kenton Brine in a news release. “Most people heading north for a weekend holiday or skiing trip are unaware that without the right coverage, they could be left financially unprotected, with no ability to seek recovery from a B.C. resident’s insurance, even if that person caused the accident.”

There are some limited exceptions to the new law, but the onus will be on U.S. drivers to know their liability risks and insurance status.

The state of Washington provides some guidance on types of insurance options available. The state’s Insurance Commissioner Office recommends doing personal research before going.

“Your auto insurance typically will cover you if you drive into Canada, but check with your insurance agent before you make the trip,” states the website.

These are some types of auto insurance coverage to consider:

Comprehensive covers you if something like a rock or branch hits your car.

Collision covers if you collide with something and have to pay to fix it. Depending on your insurance, this could work in B.C.

Bodily image liability covers you if you injure someone else with your vehicle.

Personal injury protection protects you and passengers in your vehicle.

Towing and roadside assistance coverage provides you with help if you encounter problems like a flat tire or your vehicle is too damaged from a collision to drive.

Rental insurance coverage options can help increase your coverage while driving, even if you have your own insurance.

Profile Image of Genevieve Belmaker

Genevieve Belmaker is an award-winning journalist and author who joined McClatchy as Public Service Journalism Editor in 2022. She’s a graduate of the University of Southern California and studied journalism at New York University.


https://www.thenewstribune.com/news/state/washington/article269224772.html

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