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Car insurance in BC is changing – here's what you need to know

By now, you've likely heard that more changes to car insurance in BC are coming. This May, ICBC is launching Enhanced Care coverage, which will impact all policyholders in the province. As the trusted experts on car insurance in BC, BCAA Insurance is here to help educate and inform British Columbians leading up to the official changes on May 1.

Under the new model, the costs associated with ICBC's current litigation-based system, like those for lawyers and legal fees, are largely being removed. Those savings will go toward lowering rates and improving benefits, with the aim of making car insurance more affordable in BC. While more information will unfold in the months to come, here's what to know now about how the changes will impact British Columbians:

  • More affordable insurance rates. On average, drivers will save 20%, or about $400, on their full ICBC car insurance annual premiums.
  • More care and coverage after a crash. All British Columbians will have access to better care and recovery benefits if they're hurt in an accident – regardless of who was responsible for the crash.

Read on to learn more details about the new car insurance model, plus what drivers can expect and when.

More affordable insurance rates

Why rates are going down

The main component that's causing the drop in rates is how ICBC manages payments for care benefits. Today's auto insurance system involves high legal costs, which directly impact the insurance rates you pay. However, with Enhanced Care coverage, those costs are largely being removed. Instead, under the new model, ICBC can redirect the money towards improved care and recovery benefits instead of leaving it for the courtroom.

So, you're asking, how much can I save?

Several factors will determine how much you'll save on your annual Enhanced Care premiums. These include your driving experience, accident history, where you live, the vehicle you drive, and whether you purchase optional coverage in addition to basic insurance.

Learn more here.

More care and coverage after a crash

Better recovery benefits for all

If you're injured in a crash, Enhanced Care coverage will pay for necessary treatments like physiotherapy, occupational therapy, chiropractic and massage sessions, as well as dental care, counselling, medical equipment, and more. Today, insurance covers up to $300,000 of care expenses, but that will jump to $7.5 million. Plus, if your injuries are severe or life-changing, ICBC will work with your healthcare provider to ensure you get the care and support you need for as long as you're impacted.

All British Columbians will have access to the same benefits, regardless of who is at fault in the accident, and without the need for legal action.

The changes will simplify the vehicle claims process

Beyond the new care-based coverage, ICBC is also changing how they process vehicle damage claims. All basic insurance policies (otherwise known as your ICBC Basic Autoplan, the mandatory coverage you need for a vehicle in BC) will now include Basic Vehicle Damage Coverage. This change will simplify the claims process whether or not you are at fault in the accident. Here's how it will work:

  • If you're in a crash and not at fault: rather than recovering the cost of repairs from the at-fault driver's insurance policy (like you would in today's system), your own insurance will cover you – and the claim won't impact your premiums.
  • If you're at fault in a crash: like today, if you cause a collision, your optional collision coverage will pay for the repairs to your vehicle and could impact your future insurance premiums. If you don't have collision coverage, you will be responsible for the repairs.

Learn more here.

What drivers can expect, and when to expect it

From now until April 2021

Customers will continue to renew their ICBC insurance as they do now, under the current system.

At BCAA, we can take care of all your car insurance needs by phone, including ICBC Autoplan. If it’s time to renew your car insurance, give us a call at 1.888.268.2222. Learn more about how you can prepare for your car insurance renewal by phone at bcaa.com/icbc.

From May 1, 2021

On May 1, 2021, all British Columbians will automatically move to Enhanced Care coverage.

Pro-rated refunds

ICBC will be providing most customers with a pro-rated refund on the portion of their existing ICBC policy beyond May 1, 2021. For example, if on May 1, 2021 you have three months left on your current ICBC policy, you will receive a refund on the difference between the old rate and the new, lower rate of Enhanced Care coverage for those three months.

Full savings on your next annual policy

When you renew your Enhanced Care coverage policy after May 1, 2021, you will see the full benefit of the savings – an average of $400 or approximately 20% compared to the previous year.

Up next…

We will continue to share more details about the latest changes, so stay tuned. You can get the latest updates by following us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. If you have BCAA Optional Car Insurance, you’ll get more info from us shortly about the exciting changes we’re making to improve the value of your coverage.

We're always here to support you

As always, we're here whenever you need us. If you have any questions about ICBC's upcoming car insurance changes visit us at bcaa.com/icbc.