Car insurance in B.C. is facing a serious problem with crashes, injury claims, legal costs and repair costs at an all-time high. We're making changes to get the insurance system back on track - and better for B.C.
From September 2019, we're moving to a more driver-based insurance model, and you'll be asked to list who drives your car. There are a few things you need to prepare and think about before you visit your broker to renew.
From September 1, 2019, when you purchase or renew your insurance you will need:
You'll be asked to list anyone who drives your car such as household members, employees, learners and others who use your car. If one of the listed drivers causes a crash in your car, the at-fault driver will be held accountable for the crash.
You can add or remove drivers any time and it doesn’t cost anything. Adding drivers won’t necessarily change your premium – it will depend on many factors including the driving experience and crash history of all the listed drivers.
You'll be asked to declare the principal driver – the person who drives the car the most. The majority of the premium (75%) will be based on the principal driver.
A new discount is available for vehicles that are driven less than 5,000 km in a year.
If you think you may qualify for this discount, your broker can record your odometer reading. At your next policy renewal, if the mileage is less than 5,000 km, a 10 per cent discount will apply to your insurance.
One of our top priorities is to make sure customers get the care and support they need when they've been injured in a crash. Starting April 1, 2019, we've improved ICBC Accident Benefits and taken steps to reduce legal costs to ensure customers can focus on what matters most – their recovery.
ICBC Accident Benefits, included in your Basic insurance, are there to support you if you get injured in a crash. Your benefits cover medical care, treatment and rehabilitation expenses, and wage loss if you're unable to work.
The benefits are available for all British Columbians injured in a crash, whether or not you caused it.
Watch our video on how ICBC and health professionals are shifting the focus to care and treatment.
There's now more money available for your medical care and treatment, doubling from $150,000 to $300,000 as of January 2018.
As of April 1, 2019:
As of April 1, 2019, treatments covered by ICBC for new and existing claims will include: acupuncture, chiropractic care, counselling, kinesiology, massage therapy, occupational therapy, physiotherapy and visits to your doctor. ICBC also now covers more per treatment.
Other benefits also increased, for new claims as of April 1, to help support you while you recover from a crash:
To allow more money for recovery and treatment, a limit (of up to $5,500) on pain and suffering payouts for minor injuries is in effect as of April 1, 2019. This limit:
This limit only applies to your compensation for pain and suffering - the term for the discomfort, inconvenience and emotional distress of being in a crash – when you’ve had a minor injury (such as a sprain or strain). It’s just one part of your claim and is totally separate from your benefits for recovery.
B.C's minor injury definition includes sprains, strains, general aches and pains, cuts, bruises, road rash, minor whiplash, temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ, or pain in your jaw joint and muscles), mild concussions, and short term mental health conditions.
These injuries are considered treatable in a relatively short period of time, with no lasting impact on your quality of life. Each injury will be assessed based on your personal circumstances and health history.
A medical professional – not ICBC – will diagnose your injury and this will be used to assess whether it is minor or not, based on the minor injury definition found in the regulations.
If an injury impacts your life for more than 12 months - for example, you're still not able to go to work or school, you have to significantly modify your work hours or duties, or you're unable to care for yourself - it will no longer be considered minor and the limit on pain and suffering will not apply. For concussions or mental health conditions, if there is significant impairment beyond 16 weeks, the limit on pain and suffering will not apply.
If you have concerns about your injury claim, there is a new, independent dispute resolution option (for crashes that occurred on or after April 1, 2019). The Civil Resolution Tribunal (CRT) will make decisions on matters such as benefit entitlements and who is responsible for the crash, where there is disagreement between the customer and ICBC.
The CRT is completely independent from ICBC and provides accessible, fast and cost-efficient dispute resolution services without the need for legal representation. This dispute resolution process helps to reduce legal costs and reliance on the courts.
The Civil Resolution Tribunal (CRT) can make decisions on:
Yes, you can still hire a lawyer. Decisions made by the CRT can also be reviewed by the Supreme Court of B.C.
Today, approximately half of all ICBC's injury claims have legal representation. Claims with legal representation cost more, take longer to process and need more expert reports, medical resources and services. Often, up to a third of the settlement isn't even going to the injured person, but towards legal costs and lawyer fees. By reducing legal costs, we'll be able to invest in care for injured customers.
There are more crashes on B.C. roads than ever before, leading to more and more claims every year. We're working to create a safe driving culture and help prevent crashes from happening in the first place.
We made changes to Driver Risk Premiums so that distracted driving is designated a high-risk driving behaviour.
Drivers with two convictions for using an electronic device while driving in a three-year period will face as much as $2,400 in fines and premiums, over and above any vehicle insurance premiums. And this amount will go up by a further 20 per cent in November 2019.
We're continuing our research into telematics to determine whether using this technology can improve road safety and driving behaviour for inexperienced drivers in B.C. We're involving drivers with less than five years of driving experience in a pilot to test a new tool that can monitor driving behaviour.
We continue to work with the Ministry of Transportation to improve road infrastructure, regulation and signage in all communities across B.C.
Intersection safety cameras and red light cameras across the province are now active 24 hours a day, seven days a week. We're also working to upgrade the existing cameras to identify and ticket speeding drivers at key intersections.
The number of crashes in our province are increasing every year, and with that, the number of vehicle damage claims. We're working with the vehicle repair industry in B.C. to make sure customers get the highest standard of repairs at the best price.
There are approximately 500 ICBC-accredited collision repair shops and 500 glass repair shops across the province. Our payments to these suppliers to cover repairs for customers have grown dramatically over the years and some policies are outdated.
We're working with industry and their associations to modernize our supplier programs to ensure that customers continue to receive high standards of vehicle repairs at the best market value.
Modernizing our programs will ensure they reflect advances within the industry and recognize shops that invest in technician training, certification programs, advanced repair equipment and customer service.