Driving Without License or Insurance in BC

Driving without a license or insurance in BC are offences under the Motor Vehicle Act. At best you would be ticketed and required to pay a fine. At worst you could be personally liable for all the damages arising out of motor vehicle accident.

Driving Without a Valid License

All ICBC insurance policies require that the driver of the insured vehicle be “authorized and qualified by law” to operate that vehicle. Therefore, if you are the owner of the vehicle, you must also be authorized and qualified by law to drive it. Also, you must confirm that anyone who drives your vehicle is qualified by law to drive it.

Authorized and Qualified by Law to Operate a Vehicle

Authorized and Qualified by law means at a minimum that the driver must have a valid license for the vehicle. The license must cover use of the vehicle, and it must not be suspended or expired. You must also drive in accordance to the restrictions of your license. Failure to do so can result in breach even if the restriction had nothing to do with the accident or even if the accident was not your fault.

Given the numerous restrictions on new and learner driver licenses, some of those restrictions (e.g. driving with too many passengers or at a prohibited time of day) may be breached without invalidating your insurance. Nonetheless, breaching those restrictions is still an offence and you can still be ticketed.

Permitting an Unqualified Driver to Operate Your Vehicle

If you own a vehicle, you breach your insurance if you permit someone to drive your vehicle who is not authorized or qualified by law to drive the vehicle. This includes permitting an impaired person to drive your vehicle. While you are not required to rigorously examine every potential driver, you must take reasonable steps to ascertain that a person is both able and qualified to drive your vehicle, including some attempt to verify that the person is not impaired. If there are restrictions on your policy, you must take reasonable steps to ensure that the driver is not in breach of those restrictions.

Driving Without Valid Insurance

If you are injured while driving in breach of your insurance, ICBC can refuse payment under your policy. However, you still have a claim against the other driver, regardless of any breach or even complete lack of insurance.

There are rare situations where an innocent breach of your policy may be forgiven by ICBC, but they have sole discretion in deciding whether to forgive your breach. The only requirement is that their decision must be made in good faith. It is unlikely that ICBC would forgive a breach if you aggravate it, e.g. by providing false information or withholding important information from ICBC.

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