Auto Insurance

B.C. drivers pay nearly $2,000 a year for auto insurance, highest in the country

By: Lisa Coxon on August 15, 2019

B.C. drivers are paying the highest auto insurance premiums in the country, according to the most recent data from the General Insurance Statistical Agency (GISA).

Residents in the Western province, where auto insurance is government-regulated via the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC), are paying an average of almost $2,000 a year for their insurance policies.

“Under ICBC's monopoly, British Columbians will again pay the highest auto insurance prices in Canada, with premiums now averaging $1,832 annually,” Aaron Sutherland, vice president (Pacific) of the Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC), said in a news release.

GISA is a statistical agency run by Canada’s provincial insurance regulators. According to IBC, GISA calculates the average annual premium by taking the total premiums per province (for passenger vehicles only), and dividing it by the total number of personal vehicles in each province.

Ontario holds the second-most expensive spot, with auto insurance premiums now averaging $1,505 annually, followed by Alberta ($1,316) and Saskatchewan ($1,235). Quebec enjoys the cheapest auto insurance premiums, at $717 annually, on average.

For B.C. drivers, though, auto insurance is expected to only get more expensive, thanks to a lack of competition and diversity, according to IBC.

“While many important changes are underway in B.C., none are expected to begin to reduce the price most drivers are paying,” said Sutherland.

That’s sparked renewed calls for a more competitive marketplace.

“With ICBC stating that it will need price increases to raise over $1 billion in the years ahead, now, more than ever, the market must be opened to competition and choice to improve the affordability of auto insurance for drivers,” said Sutherland.

And that’s exactly what B.C. drivers want, especially because on top of high auto insurance premiums, those in cities like Vancouver are facing some of the highest housing and rental costs in the country.

According to Yahoo Finance, recent polls reveal that B.C. drivers desire more choice and competition in the auto insurance sector.

“Competition is a powerful incentive for any company to deliver the best product at the best possible price. Auto insurance is no exception to this rule,” Sutherland said.

“Today's numbers are yet further evidence of the need to open ICBC to competition and give British Columbians the ability to shop around for their auto insurance needs.”