Are you prepared for the new ICBC insurance changes? Here's what you need to know

Numerous changes coming into effect on Sept. 1

Get ready for some changes when you step into an Autoplan broker to renew your insurance after Sept. 1, 2019. 

There's already the 6.3% increase to ICBC premiums that came into effect on April 1, 2019.

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Driving experience and crash history always played a part in someone's premiums but now, it's going to play an even bigger factor.

Perhaps the largest change? The driver is now responsible for a crash, even if they are driving another person's car, whereas before, the owner of the vehicle was hit with the accident on their premiums. 

You have to list anyone that will be driving your car when you renew your insurance. 

ICBC has introduced a new driver-based model that will "represent (a driver's) risk on the road." 

All drivers listed under one vehicle will have a combined score and will be totalled as a collective risk for that car. 

For this model, 75% of a basic insurance premium is determined by the principal operator while the other 25% is calculated against the driver with the highest level of risk.

There is a new scoring system being introduced as well that will use a 1.000 reference point.

With the change, a lower number than 1.000 means the person is a lower driving risk whereas a higher number would mean higher risk. 

Insurance policies will start with a base premium that will increase or decrease based on the driver factor of the individual with the highest risk.

Your driving record could also hit you on optional coverages. The new model will have frequent or serious driving conviction factored into your premiums for both Collision and Extended Third Party Liability Coverages. 

Another big change comes to paying off a claim. 

If it made financial sense for you, you could pay off the claim to have it erased from your record and not affect your premiums but now, if your claim is over $2,000, you won't be allowed to pay it back.

You do have until Aug. 31, 2020 to decide if you want to repay an older claim (ICBC lists claims between March 1, 2019 and Aug. 31, 2019) even if it has already hit your premium and regardless of the cost of those claims. 

ICBC’s new driver-based rate model will assess premiums based on each driver’s 10-year driving history, and more recent crashes will impact insurance costs more than previously listed claims.

That means crashes follow drivers, not the registered vehicle, according to recent B.C.'s Ombudsperson press release notifying British Columbians that of all the entities the office investigates, it receives more complaints and enquiries from the public regarding ICBC than any other non-government organization.

“There is no question that these are significant changes, and in our experience, whenever we see large-scale changes being applied by public bodies in practice, fairness issues arise,” said Ombudsperson Jay Chalke.

“We recommend that vehicle owners try to solve their problems directly with ICBC and its agents first, but if they still believe they have been treated unfairly, our investigators may be able to look more closely at individual complaints.”

For a full list of changes, you can visit an Autoplan broker or ICBC's website.


- with files from Valerie Leung, Richmond News


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