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A new era of car insurance in BC: your coverage under the new model explained

As you’ve probably heard by now, ICBC's new car insurance model will come into effect on May 1st. The new model’s goal is to make car insurance more affordable for British Columbians and provide better care and recovery benefits to anyone injured in a crash. As your trusted experts on car insurance in BC, we’re breaking down in more detail how this will impact your coverage. We know that car insurance can be confusing, so we’re here to help you navigate your options as the changes happen.

The basics: how car insurance works in BC

In BC, car insurance is made up of mandatory coverage (called “basic car insurance ”) and non-mandatory coverage (called “optional car insurance”). Basic car insurance provides a minimum level of protection, but it doesn’t cover everything. Most drivers buy optional car insurance for extra protection, available through ICBC or other insurance companies like BCAA.

So, what’s changing?

ICBC is introducing new Enhanced Care Coverage, Basic Vehicle Damage Coverage and other changes that will impact what is covered under basic car insurance (otherwise known as ICBC Basic Autoplan ) and optional car insurance. Keep reading to learn in more detail what to expect from the new car insurance model. Plus, we’re sharing more information on how we’ve adjusted our BCAA Optional Car Insurance to complement the ICBC changes.

ICBC Basic Autoplan changes explained

First, let’s talk about your basic car insurance and what’s new. Here are the key features of ICBC’s new Enhanced Care Coverage and Basic Vehicle Damage Coverage:

New! Enhanced Care Coverage

Enhanced Care Coverage is designed to provide better care and recovery benefits in the following ways:

  • If you’re injured in a crash, there will be no maximum overall limit to your care and recovery benefits, unlike the $300,000 maximum care allowance today.
  • Income replacement benefits have been increased. If you’re unable to work due to an injury, you’ll receive 90 per cent of your net income in wage loss benefits based on a maximum of up to $100,000 in gross income.
  • All British Columbians will have access to the same care and recovery benefits, even when responsible for a crash.

Learn more about ICBC Basic Autoplan Enhanced Care Coverage.

New! Basic Vehicle Damage Coverage

If your vehicle is damaged in a crash and you are not at fault, ICBC’s new Basic Vehicle Damage Coverage will provide up to $200,000 to repair your vehicle. If you are at-fault or partially at-fault in a crash, your optional car insurance will cover the repairs to your car.

If damage occurs to your vehicle in a hit and run, coverage to repair your vehicle will now be available under optional car insurance and no longer covered under your ICBC Basic Autoplan.

Learn more about ICBC Basic Vehicle Coverage.

driver looking out side window

Optional car insurance will continue to be important to provide complete protection for you and your vehicle. In addition to car repairs for at-fault accidents, it covers things like car break-ins, vehicle damage due to a hit and run, out-of-province accidents and more.

If you have purchased your optional car insurance through BCAA Insurance in the past or are considering it in the future, here is what you need to know about our changes.

How BCAA Optional Car Insurance is responding to the changes

We have adjusted our BCAA Optional Car Insurance to ensure it remains complementary to ICBC Basic Autoplan and doesn’t overlap. We’ve also modified our rates which means most existing customers will pay less for their policy at their next renewal.

Additionally, we’ve added new coverage options, unique coverage benefits and more ways to save.

Adjusted rates explained

Under ICBC’s new car insurance model, if you’re injured in a crash, instead of getting coverage through the at-fault driver’s optional third-party liability, your care needs and financial losses are paid directly from your own ICBC Basic Autoplan. Based on the lower expected liability claims, we are adjusting our rates, meaning most customers will pay less for their BCAA Optional Car Insurance at their next renewal.

Key coverage changes

Here’s a simple break down of what our key coverages will look like before and after May 1st:

Key Coverages (Changes)

Before May 1st

After May 1st

collision icon
Extended Third-Party Liability
Covers you if you’re found to be at-fault for an accident in excess of $200,000 and another driver makes a claim against you to cover their injuries, lost income and more. While the addition of Enhanced Care Coverage will greatly reduce liability claims, it will not eliminate them entirely. Extended Third-Party Liability coverage will protect you if you’re involved in a crash outside of BC or if you cause damage from a single-vehicle crash.
Provides coverage for damage to your vehicle if you’re in a crash, regardless of fault. If you’re at-fault or partially at-fault in a crash, Collision Coverage will cover the costs to repair your vehicle.

If you’re not at fault, the  damage to your vehicle will now be covered under ICBC’s new Basic Vehicle Damage Coverage.

Key Coverage (No Change)

Before May 1st

After May 1st

tree branch falling on car icon
If your vehicle is damaged from something other than a car-to-car collision (ie. windshield damage, a break in or theft) Comprehensive Coverage will cover the costs to repair your vehicle.   This coverage will not change. We will continue to provide the same protection and coverage for non-car-to-car collision damage to your vehicle (ie. windshield damage, a break in or theft).

No matter what happens on the road, BCAA Optional Car Insurance provides a wide range of unique coverage to fit your needs. So, we’ve added new optional coverages, plus more ways to save.

New coverage options

  • Hit and Run Vehicle Damage. Covers damage to your vehicle as a result of a hit and run. This coverage is no longer provided under your ICBC Basic Autoplan. Note: by default, all current BCAA Optional Car Insurance policyholders will have Hit and Run Vehicle Damage coverage until the time of car insurance renewal, at which point it will have to be added to the policy.
  • Extra Income Coverage. If you’re unable to work due to an injury, this coverage provides additional income protection beyond what is covered under ICBC Basic Autoplan.
  • Tire Pothole and Puncture Protection. This coverage will be automatically included in all BCAA Optional Car Insurance policies at no extra charge. It provides coverage if your tire is damaged from a pothole or hazardous road condition.

More ways to save

  • New! BCAA Members now save up to 20% with an introduction of a loyalty discount
  • New! Claims Free Discount – Save 10%

Not a BCAA Member yet? Join today for less than $8 per month to get protection on the road and savings all year long. From engine trouble to running out of gas, a BCAA Membership is the perfect on-the-road companion to your car insurance, ensuring you’re always covered for the unexpected.

We’re here to help

At BCAA, we’re here to help with all your car insurance needs, including ICBC Autoplan and BCAA Optional Car Insurance. So, when it comes time to renew your car insurance, give us a call at 1.888.268.2222 to renew by phone - it’s easy. For more information about the upcoming changes to car insurance, visit