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Making car insurance better for B.C.

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.

What's changing?

Changes to the renewal process: What to bring to your broker

As of Sept 1, 2019

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: 

  • The driver's licence number and date of birth for each driver you want to list on your policy
  • Of the listed drivers, who is the principal driver
  • If your car is driven less than 5,000 km in a year, a photo of your current odometer reading (a potential discount may apply at your next renewal).

Why do you need to know who drives my car?

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.

What is "the principal driver"?

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.

Why do you want to know how much my car is driven in a year?

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.



The way we set insurance premiums

As of Sept 1, 2019

Driving experience and crash history will play a bigger role in determining premiums. Other factors, like where you live and how you use your car, are also being updated.


Experience and crash history affect what you pay

The first part of your Basic insurance premium looks at driving experience and crash history.

These two factors already affect your premium today, but from September 1, 2019, they will have a greater impact. In general, the more crashes you cause, the more you will pay in insurance. The more years of driving experience you accumulate, the more discounts you’ll earn.

We will also ask that you list who drives your car so they can be noted on your policy. Household members, employees and regular drivers should be listed if they're going to use your car. If a learner will be driving your car, a new additional premium will also apply.

This is the area that will be changing the most for B.C. drivers – find out all the details below or watch our video to learn more.


Why do I need to list other drivers?

Under the current model, at-fault crashes follow the vehicle owner, rather than the driver. For example, if your friend borrows your vehicle and causes a crash, the claim applies to your record, not theirs, even though you didn't cause the crash.

Under the new model, at-fault crashes will follow the driver, not the vehicle owner. So if your friend causes a crash using your vehicle, the claim is counted on their driving record, not yours.

Listing those who drive your car helps to make sure the right person is held accountable for the crash, and the risk involved in insuring your car is more accurately assessed.

Watch our video to find out more about how to list drivers. 


How do the listed drivers impact my premium?

The majority (75%) of your Basic insurance premium will be based on the principal driver (the person who will drive the vehicle the most). Of the other listed drivers, the one with the highest level of risk will make up the remaining 25%.

However, if the listed driver is lower-risk than the principal driver, there will only be a reduction in the premium if that listed driver is a household member or employee. This will help prevent people from adding lower-risk drivers to their policies simply to artificially reduce their premiums. Adding drivers won't necessarily increase your premium. It will depend on various factors, such as each listed driver's experience and crash history.

How exactly will premiums be calculated?

Each insurance policy will start with a base premium. (The base premium for Basic insurance as of April 1, 2019, is $1,063). The premium then increases or decreases depending on each individual’s factors that fall under the driver and vehicle categories.

What if I want to be able to lend my car to anyone?

If you would like the flexibility to be able to lend your car occasionally to a driver not listed on your policy, Unlisted Driver Protection can provide peace of mind. This new protection allows for unanticipated drivers to drive your vehicle occasionally. Occasional use is defined as up to 12 days in a year, per driver. 

Previously it had been announced that this protection would start at $50 per year. Now, this additional protection won't have to be purchased.*

If you don’t have Unlisted Driver Protection, you could face a one-time financial consequence if that driver causes a crash in your car. This will depend on the driving experience and crash history of the unlisted driver. 

Unlisted Driver Protection will not protect you from this financial consequence, though, if any of these people cause a crash in your car, as they should be listed on your policy: 

  • Household members
  • Employees
  • Anyone who has driven any of your vehicles for more than 12 days in the last 12 months 

Anyone who has caused a crash in any of your vehicles in the last five years (from September 1, 2019) and unlicensed drivers are also excluded from this protection.

* If an unlisted driver causes a crash in your car, Unlisted Driver Protection will then cost $50 annually (one fee, not per driver) and will increase if there are more crashes by unlisted drivers. 

What if an unlisted driver causes a crash in my car?

If you don’t have Unlisted Driver Protection or if it doesn’t apply (for example, the unlisted driver is a household member), you may face a one-time financial consequence. 

There will be exemptions for extraordinary situations, such as when an unlisted driver uses your vehicle for a medical emergency. Mechanics and valets who may drive your car are covered by their own policy.

Although the Unlisted Driver Protection won’t need to be purchased, once an unlisted driver causes a crash in your car, this protection will cost $50 annually. If there are more crashes by unlisted drivers using your car, the cost of the protection will increase.

Will you be introducing crash forgiveness?

Yes, we know that crashes do happen so we will forgive one crash after 20 years of driving experience, provided you have been crash-free for the last 10.

Can I still repay a claim to protect my premium?

Currently, if you’ve been found responsible (at fault) for a crash that doesn’t involve injuries or costly vehicle damage, you could repay the cost of the claim to ICBC so it won’t affect your insurance premium. However, this allows some drivers to mask the true risk they represent. 

So, starting September 1, claim repayment is only possible if the claim amount is $2,000 or less. 

However, customers have until August 31, 2020, to decide whether to repay a previous claim (claims between March 1, 2017 and August 31, 2019), even if it has already affected their premium and regardless of the cost of the claim. This helps ensure you have enough information and time to make an informed decision about whether to repay a claim or not and how it will affect your future insurance costs.

How will driving experience be recognized?

Generally, drivers with more years of driving experience and no at-fault crashes will see greater discounts. You will be able to receive Basic insurance discounts for up to 40 years of driving experience, up from the current nine years of crash-free driving.

As for inexperienced drivers, currently their Basic insurance premiums are significantly discounted. We will continue to offer them discounted premiums, however, these discounts will be reduced if they cause a crash, and eliminated if they cause a second one within the five-year scan period.

How will you recognize driving experience of new B.C. residents?

New B.C. residents already receive driving experience credit upon starting to drive in B.C. That credit will increase from a maximum of eight years to a maximum of 15. However, their premiums will reflect the additional risk they pose during their first three years driving in B.C.

New residents will no longer be asked to provide previous insurance documentation. However, new residents who get their B.C. driver’s licence after September 1, 2019 will need to prove their driver’s licence history to be eligible for up to 15 years of driving experience credit.

Should I list learner drivers? How does that impact my premium?

Yes, if a learner driver will be using your car, you should list them and a new additional premium will apply. The learner premium recognizes the risk that a learner driver represents and helps cover the costs of crashes caused by learners. The learner premium will range from $130 to $230 per year, depending on where you live. You don't need to pay the premium for each learner – it is one cost to cover all learners using your car.

For learner drivers, time spent in the learner stage will not count towards their driving experience, and crashes caused by learners will not go on their driving record either. We don't want to penalize learners if they were to cause a crash while they are learning to drive.

Are you changing the seniors' or disability discounts?

There are no changes to the current discount for qualifying persons with disabilities.

Seniors will continue to receive a Basic insurance discount and will now benefit from more years of driving experience being considered – up to 40 years from the current nine years of crash-free driving. However, their discount will be reduced if they cause a crash and eliminated if they cause a second crash within the ten-year scan period.

Are you making any changes to the way premiums are set for Optional insurance coverages?

Yes, we are introducing changes to make premiums for Optional coverages align with the changes being made to the Basic rate model to make sure drivers are held more accountable for their driving decisions.

We recently announced that as of September 1, 2019, frequent or serious driving convictions will be factored into your premiums for both Collision and Extended Third Party Liability coverages.

  • Two or more convictions for minor offences (such as failure to stop at a stop sign or speeding) or one serious offence (distracted driving, impaired driving or excessive speeding) within a three-year period, will result in an increase in premiums for these coverages.
  • Convictions resulting from driving violations that occurred on or after from June 10, 2019, will have the potential to impact a customer’s Optional premium starting September 1, 2019. Those premiums will increase with the frequency and seriousness of the convictions. ICBC will ultimately scan back over a three-year period for driving convictions by June 10, 2022.
  • The goal is to benefit lower-risk drivers – those who don’t cause crashes or get driving convictions.
  • For more information, read the news release and factsheet.

What's a driver factor?

Every driver in B.C. will have a driver factor – a 3 decimal number that represents your driving experience and crash history. The driver factor will also take into consideration whether you're a senior or a new resident. The driver factor baseline is 1.000 with a lower number being more favourable. As you gain driving experience, and for each year that you remain crash-free, your driver factor will improve.


Where you live and how you use your car

The next part that determines your Basic insurance premium looks at where you live (in insurance terms, this is your territory) and how you use your car (your rate class).

Today, both territory and rate class help to determine your premiums. However, we’re updating our data to recognize the changes in communities and vehicle use across B.C.

How will the territory and rate class changes affect my premium?

Some customers will see this portion of their premium from territory and rate class either increase or decrease – it all depends on their individual situation. Where you live is only one factor used to calculate your Basic premium. So even if there is an increase to your territory or rate class, you could still see an overall decrease based on the other factors such as driver experience and crash history.

New discounts

We are also introducing two new vehicle-related discounts:

  • Vehicles with original, manufacturer-installed autonomous emergency braking will be recognized with a 10 per cent discount.
  • Vehicles that are driven less than 5,000 km in a year will be eligible for a 10 per cent discount.

How do I get the low-kilometre discount?

If you think you qualify for the low-kilometre discount, bring a current odometer reading to your broker when you next renew your insurance. More information is available on the Discounts and savings page.

What is autonomous emergency braking?

Autonomous emergency braking (AEB) is a safety feature that uses technology to anticipate when a vehicle is about to have a front-end collision and automatically engages the brakes without the driver’s action. 

If you’re not sure whether your vehicle has AEB, check with your dealership or look in your ownership manual.


Our interactive tool will walk you through the new insurance model and show you how adding drivers impacts premiums

Try it now

A greater focus on care

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.

You're covered for more care

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.


What's changed?

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:

  • More types of treatments are covered, including acupuncture, chiropractic care, kinesiology and more.
  • More money is available for individual treatments - so you shouldn't be out of pocket.
  • Other benefits to help while you recover, such as wage loss, homemaking benefits and many more have increased substantially for crashes that occurred on or after April 1.

What do my benefits include now? How have they increased?

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:

  • Wage loss payments while injured and unable to work more than doubled, up from a maximum of $300 per week to a maximum of $740 per week - a 147 per cent increase.
  • You also have up to $1,000 in coverage for alternative or emerging treatments even when not directly recommended by a health care provider.
  • Homemaking benefits to assist with household tasks, such as cooking and cleaning, increased from $145 per week to $280 per week – a 93 per cent increase.
  • Funeral benefits increased from $2,500 to $7,500 – a 200 per cent increase.
  • Death benefits, which include payments to surviving family members, increased from approximately $18,000 to $30,000 – a 67 per cent increase.

Find out how to get medical treatment after an injury.

A limit on pain and suffering payouts for minor injuries

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:

  • does not apply to major and catastrophic injuries
  • is separate from the money available for any medical treatment or benefits for recovery.

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.

What is considered a minor injury?

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.

Who determines if the injury is minor or not?

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.

What if my injury is having a significant impact on my day-to-day life?

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.

A new process to resolve disputes

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.

What kind of disputes is the CRT involved in?

The Civil Resolution Tribunal (CRT) can make decisions on:

  • The classification of an injury as minor
  • The entitlement to receive accident benefits claimed
  • Who is responsible for the crash
  • Settlement amounts for all injury claims below $50,000.

Can I still hire a lawyer?

Yes, you can still hire a lawyer. Decisions made by the CRT can also be reviewed by the Supreme Court of B.C.

Why do we need to reduce legal costs?

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.



Safer roads to reduce crashes

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.

Higher penalties for distracted driving

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.

Testing new technology for inexperienced drivers

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.

Read more about the pilot.

Making roads and intersections safer

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.


Vehicle repair costs

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.

Why do we need changes to repair costs?

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.

Working with industry to modernize supplier programs

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.