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How expensive are BC's car insurance rates compared to other provinces'?

VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) – When it comes to car insurance, are you paying more than people elsewhere in Canada?

As of 2013, BC has the second highest rates — only behind Ontario.

Steve Kee with the Insurance Bureau of Canada says the average premium in BC was $1,163 per policy last year.

He tells us with ICBC being the only insurance provider in the province, that could have an impact on rates. “The private market provides choice, provides opportunities for you to look at different rates and perhaps bundle some of that.”

ICBC is seeking a total 5.5 per cent increase to basic insurance rates.

Earlier this week, it announced it was looking to raise rates to cover what it says is escalating costs due to increased accidents caused by distracted drivers.

Kee says there is an inherent benefit to having more than one insurer to choose from.

“Many people believe that government-run monopolies lead to cheaper prices. It is not always the case. I believe competition is good for the market place. People may find that they are able to get better rates; maybe they bundle some of their insurance with their home and their auto policies to get discounts in that.”

Key tells us Ontario has the highest rates in Canada and PEI has the lowest. He notes in Ontario, Alberta and Atlantic Canada, insurance companies report data per vehicle. Here are the average premiums as of last month:

Ontario: $1,456
Alberta: $1,140
New Brunswick: $759
Newfoundland: $1,066
Nova Scotia: $763
Prince Edward Island: $752

BC, Manitoba and Saskatchewan remain the only provinces in the country with government monopolies on auto insurance.