ICBC made some big changes to insurance in British Columbia this year. This new Enhanced Care Coverage model significantly shifts the way auto insurance works in the province and most notably implements a lawsuit ban for most auto accidents. The idea of the new system is that it will lead to less litigation as each driver’s policy will cover their claim and this will surely save ICBC a lot of money while providing more affordable auto insurance rates to British Columbians.
Since the plan is packed with a lot of new information we are breaking down the 12 most notable changes and how they will affect your auto insurance:
1. 20% Average Yearly Savings
One of the most enticing aspects of the new ICBC coverage plan is how much it is going to save British Columbians per year. Drivers will save approximately 20% on average (for a $1500 average bill per year) on their ICBC insurance. Find out what your Enhanced Care savings will be through ICBC’s estimator tool.
2. No maximum overall care limit (previously $300k)
In the past, ICBC had a $300,000 maximum care allowance in place — but with the new coverage, there will be no limit to care and recovery benefits. This is applicable whether you were responsible for the auto accident or not.
3. Care needs and financial losses are now paid directly from their own ICBC coverage, rather than through lawsuits and settlements
ICBC previously was spending $1 Billion per year on legal battles alone. Under Enhanced Care, benefits and financial losses are paid out from your own coverage. However, implementing third-party liability coverage is still essential because it protects you if an accident occurs out of province or if you cause non-vehicle damage within BC. This type of coverage will also now be less expensive because it will no longer need to include litigation costs.
4. If you’re unable to work due to an injury, you’ll receive 90 percent of your net income up to a maximum of $100,000 gross annual income
Being unable to work after an injury can create an insurmountable amount of stress for an accident victim. In the previous system before Enhanced Care, you would’ve had to pursue legal action to gain compensation for lost wages. Under the new system, you will receive 90% of your net income (tax-free) whether you were responsible for the crash or not. If you’re able to return to the same kind of work role that you previously had, but you still are able to work, ICBC can provide services to help you find a new job that matches your abilities. If that new role pays less than your job before the crash, ICBC will continue to top up your income replacement to 90% of your pre-collision net income.
5. All British Columbians have access to the same care and recovery benefits, even if you are responsible (at fault) for a crash
Once ICBC determines who was at fault for the accident, that driver will still be held accountable and held to higher premiums. For example, if a driver at fault was drinking and driving then they can be sued in a civil claim for specific damages. Criminal code convictions may also prevent you from receiving some of the new benefits. The Driver Penalty Point and Driver Risk Premium programs, which have consequences for those who repeatedly cause crashes or receive driving violation tickets, continue to apply.
6. Hit and run damage in B.C. will now be covered by optional coverage
Hit and run damage coverage (when an unidentified driver damages your vehicle and leaves the scene of the crash) will now be optional, which means that not all BC drivers are subsidizing those claims — making it fairer for everyone. ICBC’s collision coverage (included in 80% of most personal insurance plans) will include this coverage though, so you will more likely than not have this benefit. Any injuries from a hit and run are already covered by your Enhanced Accident Benefits.
7. Everyone’s own coverage will now take care of their vehicle
Rather than the driver at fault paying for expenses from a crash, these costs will now come from each driver’s insurance policy. This Basic Vehicle Damage coverage will have a limit of $200,000 — an amount considered enough to repair or replace 99% of vehicles.
8. New caregiver benefits
Did you know previously ICBC’s system did not have a plan in place to take care of caregiver expenses if you were in a crash and required this type of assistance? This new added benefit will provide $580 weekly for full-time caregivers, and increases depending on how many people you care for.
9. New grief counselling
Grief counselling, an essential benefit after a fatal accident, is now part of the new coverage with up to $3800 a year available for grieving family members.
10. Death benefits increased
In the difficult case of death from an auto accident, the benefit amounts under the Enhanced Care coverage are increased from the previous system. Your spouse will now receive between $66,000-$500,000 (depending on the deceased’s age and annual income) and up to $9000 for funeral expenses.
11. Personal care assistance increased
For those that require 24/7 care for daily tasks such as bathing, dressing and eating after a car accident, the personal care benefit has increased to up to approximately $5,000 per month.
12. New and expanded benefits, in addition to the overall care and recovery allowance, are available to anyone with a permanent or life-altering injury after a crash.
There are new benefits for those who sustain a life-altering injury after an accident.
- Permanent impairment compensation (new) – This benefit provides financial compensation of approximately $265,000 for those catastrophically injured in a crash. Those with serious, but non-catastrophic, permanent injuries could also be eligible for some compensation under this benefit.
- Personal care assistance (increased) – up to $6,000 per month for the severely injured and $10,000* per month for those requiring 24/7 care.
- Recreational benefit (new) – if the crash led to permanent impairment, this new benefit helps you participate in recreational or leisure activities for which you now need extra support. The maximum amount that can be reimbursed is $4,000 every two years, depending on the severity of the injury.
It’s best to consult directly with your Johnston Meier auto insurance advisor to determine how you can benefit directly from these changes and discounts!
For your convenience, at Johnston Meier Insurance, we are available to assist with your insurance needs over the phone or by email. If you are unable to wear a mask please call one of our locations and we will arrange to assist you with one of these alternate options. Talk to one of our qualified advisors today about all of the coverage options available.