Have you been injured in a car accident outside of BC?
If you are injured in a car accident while on vacation, you may still be entitled to compensation:
- If your car accident occurs outside of British Columbia (“out of province”), you can still be entitled to benefits from ICBC pursuant to your insurance policy.
- If you are injured in a car crash outside of Canada, you may still have coverage with ICBC if the accident occurs in the United States, including Alaska and Hawaii.
However, you will not receive ICBC benefits if you are injured in any other country, including Mexico.
If the accident occurs outside BC, litigation can still proceed in BC if both drivers are from BC and insured by ICBC. If you want to proceed in BC, but the other driver does not, you may be able to attend court and obtain an order that the case should be heard in BC. If you are driving a rental vehicle or a vehicle licensed outside of BC, ICBC may still be involved depending on your insurance coverage. ICBC will follow the motor vehicle laws in that jurisdiction for liability and accident benefits.
It is important to talk to a lawyer and make sure you understand all your options and how ICBC can still provide you with compensation.
ICBC Out of Province Claims & Benefits
You can claim no fault benefits (Part 7 benefits) from ICBC for an accident that occurs anywhere in Canada or the United States. You have access to Part 7 benefits no matter where the accident occurs, but you have to claim against other insurance first before obtaining Part 7 benefits from ICBC. Part 7 benefits can provide up to $300,000 to pay for medical and rehabilitation expenses. You can also receive benefits for both wage loss and housekeeping expenses, depending on your situation. A lawyer will be able to ensure that you are receiving all available benefits you are entitled to from ICBC.
Underinsured motorist protection (UMP) applies to accidents that occur in Canada or the US. However, it is not available if the province or state has banned motor vehicle claims. In many states there is minimal third-party liability coverage. If there is not enough insurance coverage to pay your damages, you may be entitled to ICBC benefits under the UMP plan to compensate you for your damages.
You also still have coverage under BC’s Medical Services Plan when you are temporarily outside of B.C., but still in Canada, as long as you have an intention to return to BC and are not relocating to another province or country for an extended period of time. In Canada you will be entitled to basic physician care and emergency care. If you are injured in another country, you will likely require private medical insurance because MSP will only cover costs for services at the rates that would be charged in BC. Medical expenses in the USA and many other countries will usually greatly exceed the amount of money you may receive under MSP.
Protect yourself in the event of a car accident outside of British Columbia
It is recommended that you acquire private coverage if you are traveling to another country. Many people have coverage through extended health benefits or their credit card. Further travel insurance can be purchased for individual trips. Make sure to read and understand the terms of your travel insurance policy and how to make a claim before you travel.