ICBC Third Party Liability Coverage: How Much is Enough?

By Paul Mitchell, Q.C.
Categories: Blog, Personal Injury

This article explains how ICBC third party liability works, and discusses the factors to consider in choosing how much coverage to buy.

Third Party Liability Coverage protects you when you’re at fault in a crash, and another motorist makes a claim against you.

If you’re found responsible for a crash, you could be liable for damages, lost income, care expenses and more – for both the other driver, and all of the passengers in your car, and the other car.

Your Basic Autoplan includes only up to $200,000 in Third Party Liability coverage.

This is just not enough coverage.

The costs of a crash are very often much higher – and you would be responsible for the difference. It’s simple: the lower your coverage, the higher your risk. Claims can often exceed $1 million when the injuries are severe, or the injured person has substantial loss of income.

As a personal injury lawyer I have been involved in many multimillion dollar claims. I have seen many cases where liability coverage is not enough to cover the value of all of the claims in the accident. If the amount of the claim exceeds your “third party liability coverage”, you will be personally on the hook for the excess. You could lose your home, your business……everything. If the vehicle involved is a company vehicle, then the company would be on the hook for the excess.

That is why it is imperative that you purchase ICBC Extended Third Party Liability coverage.

You can increase your ICBC third party liability coverage by purchasing optional coverage, up to a limit of $5 million.

How does Extended Third Party Liability coverage help you?

Extending your Third Party Liability protects you from having to pay costs that go above your Basic Autoplan limit.

Extended Third Party Liability means:

  • you’ll be protected against paying for injury and damage costs up to the limit of your coverage
  • the equity in your home or other assets won’t be at risk
  • you get peace of mind, for a relatively small percentage of your overall premium

You can also purchase excess coverage over the ICBC 5 million limit, from a private insurance carrier.

I carry total coverage of 10 million… the maximum optional ICBC coverage of 5 million, plus another policy from a private carrier that covers damages from 5 to 10 million. The private coverage I have from 5 to 10 million is called an “umbrella policy”, as it covers me for not just vehicles, but also boats, and anything I may do that causes harm to another person.

Get details from your insurance broker.

At the very least, I recommend that everyone get the maximum optional ICBC Third Party Liability Coverage of 5 million.

I RECOMMEND THOSE WITH SUBSTANTIAL ASSETS OBTAIN THE MAXIMUM COVERAGE OF $10 MILLION. 5 million through ICBC, and an additional 5 million from a private carrier.

The costs vary depending on your age, vehicle, and driving record, but are surprisingly cheap, given you are protecting all of your assets. It is a small price to pay for peace of mind.

ICBC Quick links
Autoplan Optional coverage booklet
Autoplan insurance brochure (For policies with an effective date before September 11, 2016.)
Autoplan insurance brochure (For policies with an effective date on or after September 11, 2016.)


Paul Mitchell, Q.C. is a BC personal injury lawyer who has extensive experience with severe injury claims, including brain injury claims, spinal injury claims, death claims, ICBC claims, and other catastrophic injury claims. He acts for injured clients all over BC and Alberta, and will not act for ICBC or any other insurance company. For more information on this article, or for a confidential discussion of your personal injury claim, contact Paul Mitchell, Q.C. at 250-869-1115 (direct line), or send him a confidential email at mitchell@pushormitchell.com