Your ICBC stories: Motorcyclist's premium jumps nearly $2,000
Jim Gurney of West Kelowna has loved motorcycles nearly his entire life.
“I’ve been riding since I was 16 years old, never had an accident, never even dropped the bike,” Gurney said.
And his favourite ride was one he bought new in 2013, a BMW R 1200 GS, an adventure-style bike that took him as far as Arizona, and Skagway, Alaska.
“You could go anywhere where there was pavement, and in some cases, even not.”
So when Gurney and his family moved from Alberta to the Okanagan last summer, he thought he’d switch over the insurance to ICBC, and keep riding. Instead, he got sticker shock.
“My stomach dropped out when I was given the quote for a full year for full coverage. Around $2,200. That’s compared to $350 or so in Alberta.”
And when Gurney asked for the minimum amount of coverage, basic insurance to cover liability, he was told the annual bill would be over $1,200 -- 10 times what he’d been paying through a private insurer in Alberta.
Gurney decided he couldn’t justify the expense and gave the bike up.
CTV News independently asked insurance brokers in both B.C. and Alberta to calculate the premiums for the BMW motorcycle, for one operator with a driver history similar to Gurney. Both brokers included $2 million in liability coverage, as well as collision and comprehensive coverage, each with a $500 deductible.
In Calgary, the quote was $398 a year. In Vancouver, the price jumped to $2,551 a year, including the 40 per cent discount.
“With private insurance providers I paid less in Alberta, and I got extremely good service,” Gurney said. “I don’t really buy into this argument that ICBC provides a higher level of service than anyone else, because that wasn’t my experience.”
CTV News asked ICBC to explain the hugely disparate quotes and a spokesperson outlined three major differences between the provinces they say may account for the difference.
ICBC’s Joanna Linsangan wrote that in B.C., motorcycle season is year round in some parts of the province, and because ICBC deals with claims year round, the associated claim costs are higher.
Linsangan also noted that “diverse terrain and changes in elevation… can make driving more challenging and pose more risk of crashes than in Alberta,” and that B.C. has a larger population and more densely populated areas.
Finally, ICBC outlined differences in insurance coverage, including the example of medical benefits in B.C. which as of April 1 have doubled to $300,000 -- “six times as much as those in Alberta.”
But unlike in Alberta, Gurney says he doesn’t have a choice in coverage. So for the foreseeable future, he will be driving a 2015 Toyota Tacoma instead.
“Given (the high cost of living) in B.C., there’s other things I can spend that money on, rather than insurance,” Gurney said.