About Vancouver car insurance
There's no doubt about it — Vancouver motorists drive in one of the most gorgeous cities in the world. Breathtaking mountain ranges, stunning ocean views, and a glittering, modern skyline help take the sting out of commuting. But getting around in Vancouver isn't all scenic bliss. Surveys rank the city as Canada's most congested, with gridlock that's worse than in Toronto or Montreal. Part of the problem is that Vancouver lacks a real freeway system: motorists have to drive through the city, rather than around it.
But whether you're a weekend warrior, a daily commuter, or an occasional driver, there's one thing you're always going to need if you want to drive in Vancouver: a good auto insurance plan. In British Columbia, the provincial government administers auto insurance through the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC). Drivers are required by law to purchase a minimum amount of liability insurance through the ICBC, but they can also buy additional coverage if they choose.
By the numbers
Based on ICBC data, Lower Mainland drivers get in quite a few accidents:
The ICBC says auto theft is an ongoing problem in Vancouver:
Driving in Vancouver: facts and myths
- Vancouver has more than 350 above and below ground parking facilities. Just look for parking signs when you're downtown. The three biggest parking companies in Vancouver are Metro Parking, EasyPark, and Vinci Park. Most parkades cost anywhere from $6 to $10 per hour.
- Vancouver has over 6000 parking meters. Meters are generally in effect from 9:00 AM to 10:00 PM, and rates vary from $2 per hour to $8 per hour, depending on what neighbourhood you're parking in.
- Running a red light? Smile for the cameras. Over 140 intersections in the city are equipped with cameras, so there's a good chance you'll get fined if you attempt to run a red light in Vancouver.
- According to the ICBC, there are 1,593,000 auto insurance policies in force in the Lower Mainland. That's up from 1,505,000 in 2009.
- Vancouver has the most dangerous intersections in the entire lower mainland. False. Several Burnaby intersections are unfortunately known as having the most crashes per year in all of BC.
- Auto theft is bad and getting worse in Vancouver. False. Stolen vehicle incidents in Vancouver have fallen sharply since 2009. That year, 8,300 vehicles were stolen, but ICBC statistics show that number has fallen every year since: for reference, there were only 4,700 thefts in 2013.
- Radar detectors are illegal in Vancouver. False. Radar detectors are legal in Vancouver, just as they are in the rest of BC.
- Vancouver is developing a highway ring route to ease traffic congestion. False. Unfortunately, a combination of geography, local politics, and funding issues make ring road construction a non-starter in Vancouver.
Vancouver driving tips
- Avoid the Lions Gate Bridge at rush hour. You haven't seen bad traffic until you've tried to cross the Lions Gate Bridge at 5:00 PM on a weekday. Traffic along West Georgia Street is also awful during rush hour.
- Be extra cautious at the intersection of Knight Street and the Marine Drive/Knight Street Bridge. This intersection is widely viewed as the most dangerous in the entire city. There's multiple lights, a steep incline, and heavy traffic throughout the day.
- Watch for pedestrians crossing the road at East Hastings Street and Main and at Burrard Street and Davie. A recent study found these two intersections were the site of more pedestrian injuries than anywhere else in the city.
- Slow down. Vancouver reduced the speed limit on many residential and downtown streets to 30 km/h. Drivers, watch speed limit signage carefully and reduce your speed where appropriate.