Car accidents can be costly, but picking up the pieces is easier if you have a valid insurance policy that protects your personal liability and the value of your vehicle. Each government has its own laws for controlling auto insurance; in the United States, individual states handle insurance regulation, while in Canada, a number of public agencies regulate drivers and offer insurance, including special types of insurance such as Territory Z insurance.
In the Canadian province of British Columbia, the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia, or ICBC, administers provincial auto insurance, as well as other driver services such as licenses. The ICBC offers public auto insurance throughout the province, which British Columbia drivers must purchase from private brokers in order to comply with provincial law before they operate a vehicle on public roads.
The ICBC divides the province of British Columbia into 14 territories, each with an alphabetical designation. For example, Territory H refers to the Fraser Valley, while Territory Y refers to Northern Vancouver Island. Territory Z refers to all areas outside the province of British Columbia, including the other Canadian provinces and territories, and the entire United States. Drivers who purchase insurance from the ICBC and plan to drive outside of British Columbia need Territory Z insurance to extend their coverage beyond British Columbia's borders. Those with no travel plans can purchase insurance for the territories in which they live and enjoy coverage throughout the province, but not outside of it.
While the ICBC offers a public option for auto insurance in British Columbia, private insurance companies also sell insurance in the province. This allows drivers to purchase coverage based on their driving habits, vehicle value and ability to pay. Territory Z insurance extends all of the features of a driver's existing auto insurance, including insurance against uninsured drivers and liability protection. However, Territory Z insurance does not include comprehensive or collision coverage, which means drivers are on their own to pay for damage to their vehicles when another driver is not at fault, including damage from fire and theft, unless they buy supplementary insurance.
Territory Z insurance costs slightly more than insurance for other territory designations through the ICBC. However, it is the only way British Columbia residents can legally protect their vehicles while out of province with the same types of coverage they enjoy at home. Drivers who move out of British Columbia permanently are still subject to local laws wherever they drive, which may require registering a vehicle within a specified timeframe of becoming a permanent resident. However, their Territory Z insurance will remain valid until its normal expiration date.