This post is part of the series Red Tape and Boneheads. Despite beautiful landscapes, the hospitality of strangers, adventures and great riding, an overland traveler also has the privilege to experience the different forms and varieties of red tape that bureaucrats and boneheads have crafted throughout the world. This is what this series is about. Enjoy and have a laugh (thats usually the only thing you can do about it anyway).
Last week we bought and registered our Shaggin Wagon. First the good news: its pretty easy. You go to a ICBC office, they do everything that needs to be done in order to transfer the ownership, insure and register the car. The ladies were very helpful and fast. That we had German licenses did not matter an iota.
Now here comes the bad news. The insurance comes with a bonus system (like most car insurances). The more years you drive without an accident the less you pay. You can transfer your accident free years from your previous insurance company. They need to write you a letter (in English) and verify that you were insured with them and the amount of accident free years. So far so good.
My German insurance company did that for me, the letter was even in German, French and English. Car insurances in Germany are per se unlimited, there is no end date. They are automatically renewed every year unless you cancel them. This is why my letter had a start date but no end date but says The contract is still in force. But that shouldn’t be a problem since the accident free years are clearly identifiable, right?
WRONG. Apparently ICBC has to have an end date. Period. End of discussion. Since ICBC holds a monopoly for car insurance in BC (welcome to Canadas idea of a free market economy) it really was the end of discussion.
The formality of a missing end date cost us about $200. But you know what? The shaggin wagon wagon is rolling south.