Rumour squashed: Expired insurance decals aren't a problem in Washington State

Apr 1 2023, 9:48 pm

If April 1 can teach us anything, it’s the importance of fact-checking any news you get from social media. In BC, a rumour has been spreading on Facebook that having an old insurance expiration date decal on your license plate could get you into trouble if you drive into Washington State.

But officials confirmed there’s no truth to the rumour.

As of May 1, 2022, drivers in BC don’t need an insurance decal on their licence plates. Social media rumours, however, said that leaving one on your plate could cause problems and run-ins with police.

Chris Loftis from The Washington State Patrol said it checked its records and was not aware of any troopers issuing tickets or fines for displaying expired BC tabs.

“However, we have received a number of inquiries from individual drivers, insurers, and BC based media,” Loftis said, “and the agency isn’t able to speak to what other municipal and county law enforcement agencies have handled traffic contacts with BC-based motorists.

“Traditionally for WSP, if a vehicle gets stopped for not displaying current tabs, the Trooper runs the registration and finding that it is in fact current, would issue no citation. This would likely cause only a slight pause in the motorist’s journey or a brief additional interaction to a stop depending on any other reasons for the contact.”

Troopers who work near the border are aware that BC tabs could show as expired but don’t reflect the accuracy of the registration.

ICBC also said it’s not aware of any incidents and advised drivers to consider taking expired decals off anyway.

“Although this is not a requirement within BC, drivers should consider removing decals if travelling out of province because an expired decal may draw attention from law enforcement in other jurisdictions,” ICBC said.

“ICBC customers should not have concerns travelling to other jurisdictions in Canada as law enforcement is well informed there is no need to display an insurance decal on a BC licence plate.”

Police have access to tools and data that can confirm the validity of a BC customer’s insurance.

“Drivers should always have their valid insurance documents inside their vehicle for presentation at roadside stops and other purposes,” ICBC said.

So, just because you saw it in a Facebook group, doesn’t make it true.

For more information on driving in the US as a BC-based motorist, you can go to the ICBC website.

Sarah AndersonSarah Anderson

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