Battle of the ICBC Coverages: RoadStar vs. Roadside Plus

There’s more to car insurance than the basic collision, comprehensive, and liability coverages that come to mind when we are asked to think about Autoplan. ICBC has a number of coverage options that offer additional protection to everyone who purchases them.

The two most popular, and most commonly confused, coverage packages with ICBC have similar-sounding names, and similar-sounding coverages: RoadStar and Roadside Plus. If you are not an ICBC auto insurance expert, telling the difference between the two can be difficult. To help make it easier to know which coverage package is best for you, we have pitted RoadStar and Roadside Plus against each other in our first ever Battle of the ICBC Coverages.

First up… RoadStar!

ICBC’s RoadStar package is the less expensive option, but still full of lots of great coverages:

  1. Loss of Use
  2. Rental vehicle
  3. Vehicle travel protection
  4. Lock re-keying

LOSS OF USE:
If you can’t drive your vehicle after an accident – or if your car is stolen, vandalized, or damaged by another covered peril (if a tree fell on it, for example) – the costs of alternate transportation are covered provided that your policy has Collision coverage. If your ICBC insurance does not include Collision coverage, you would not have access to Loss of Use benefits following a crash.

Loss of Use coverage is available whether you taxi, use public transit, or rent a vehicle – whichever works best for you. However, if you rent a vehicle, some limitations apply: if the damaged vehicle you normally drive is a Smart car, you do not get to rent a Ford Super Duty – you get a vehicle similar in size to what you had.

Loss of Use coverage is available while your vehicle is being repaired, and ends as soon as the repairs are complete. If your vehicle can’t be repaired, loss of use kicks in right away, and ends once a settlement offer is made.  If your vehicle is stolen, Loss of Use coverage is available 72 hours after you file a police report, and continues until the vehicle is found and repaired, or once ICBC offers a settlement, whichever happens first.

Coverage for rental vehicle or transit expenses is limited to $100 per day, $500 total, for all vehicle types except motorhomes, which have $1,000 coverage with no daily limit.

RENTAL VEHICLE COVERAGE:
Whether you are renting a vehicle while on vacation, using a courtesy car, or utilizing your Loss of Use coverage while your vehicle is being repaired, you have coverage through the RoadStar package for the vehicles you rent.

All the big, important coverages you know and love are included:

  • Third Party Liability – $1,000,000 per occurrence
  • Collision (with a $300 deductible)
  • Comprehensive (with a $200 windshield deductible, and a $300 deductible for everything else)
  • Underinsured Motorist Protection – $1,000,000 per person

Plus some extras:

  • Loss of Use – if the rental vehicle is damaged and cannot be driven, you have coverage for a replacement ($25 per day, up to a maximum of $250)
  • Lost income coverage for the rental company if the vehicle cannot be driven due to a collision or comprehensive claim.

Coverage is available anywhere in Canada and the USA, but nowhere else (not even Mexico), and only applies to vehicles rented from established rental companies.

Rental Vehicle Coverage is provided for up to 30 days, and for most rental vehicles, but there are some exclusions. For instance, if the daily rate to rent the vehicle is more than $125 in Canada ($100 in the USA), coverage will not apply. For a full list of vehicles that are not covered by this package, talk to your car insurance broker, or click here.

VEHICLE TRAVEL PROTECTION:
Do you love road trips? Do you often drive between cities for business? Visit out-of-town family a few times a year? Then this one is for you!

If you’re on a trip – business or pleasure – and your vehicle is stolen or damaged in a crash, Vehicle Travel Protection covers some of the extra expenses that arise because of it:

  • Towing bills – up to $100
  • Costs to bring the damaged vehicle home – up to $750
  • Costs to bring you and your travelling companion(s) home if you can’t drive – $1,500-$3,000 depending on the number of travellers in your party
  • Alternate transportation costs (like renting a replacement vehicle) – up to $500
  • Accommodation and additional daily expenses (e.g. meals) – $500-$1,000 depending on the number of travellers in your party

And sometimes, if you are not found at-fault for the accident that damaged your vehicle, ICBC will even reimburse your deductible.

Note: The trip must be 30 days or shorter for coverage to apply.

LOCK RE-KEYING:
Lock Re-Keying coverage provided through the RoadStar package reimburses up to $500 for costs to replace stolen keys, and re-key your locks.

You do have to pay a deductible for this coverage, but the full $500 coverage applies for expenses above your deductible. (E.g. If you have a $300 Comprehensive coverage deductible, you will have $500 coverage for costs that exceed $300.)

To access Lock Re-Keying coverage:

  • Report the theft to police within 48 hours; and
  • Have your police report number available when you call in to report the claim.

ELIGIBILITY:
To be eligible for the RoadStar coverage package, you:

  1. Must have comprehensive coverage on your vehicle; and
  2. Must be a private passenger vehicle (including motorhomes) or light commercial vehicle.

(Company-owned vehicles are eligible if the employee is an “Assigned corporate driver.”)

How does this all compare to Roadside Plus, you ask?

Roadside Plus covers everything that RoadStar covers, but at higher limits:

  • The daily limit of coverage for Loss of Use is the same, but the maximum amount of coverage is higher with Roadside Plus, at $750
  • The limit of coverage for Third Party Liability on rental vehicles is $2,000,000 with Roadside Plus – double that of RoadStar
  • Roadside Plus offers twice the limit of coverage ($1,000) for Lock Re-Keying expenses as well
  • Travel and accommodation expenses are also twice as much with Roadside Plus

And it also covers some things RoadStar does not:

  • Emergency Roadside Expense – when you have to call for help after locking your keys in your car, getting a flat tire, breaking down, or to jump a dead battery, you have $50 coverage, two times per year. Parts and supplies are not covered, but there is coverage to transport the vehicle, or get it running again (e.g. the costs of the labour to change a tire is covered, but the cost of the tire itself is not).
  • Theft Deductible Waiver – if someone steals your vehicle (or tries to and causes damage), your deductible will be waived. (Normally, your comprehensive deductible would apply.)
  • Family Worldwide Transportation – this provides coverage for the travel and living expenses of your immediate family members to join you at a hospital, if you sustain life-threatening injuries in a crash.
  • Destination Assistance if you have a trip planned, but are unable to use your vehicle due to a collision (or if it is stolen), you have $100 coverage to help make other arrangements.

For many people, the choice between RoadStar and Roadside Plus comes down to whether they need coverage for emergency roadside assistance, but there are lots of bonuses that come with Roadside Plus.

With ICBC’s recent change to their rating system, there is no longer a flat premium for RoadStar and Roadside Plus; instead, the premiums are different for everyone, based on driving experience and claims history.

Parting Tips:

  • If you are travelling with your spouse, and taking turns driving, add them to the rental vehicle contract as a “permitted driver” to ensure they have access to all these coverages.
  • Bring a copy of your ICBC papers when you rent a car, to prove you have coverage.
  • Keep all your receipts – this is how you will be reimbursed.
  • Talk to your ICBC Autoplan broker. They know the ins and outs of these coverages, and can help you determine which package is best for you!

For more information on all your favourite car insurance coverages, visit ICBC’s Products and Coverage webpage.

Morgan Thomas, BA (Dtn.)
Administration Coordinator & Personal Insurance Trainer