Car owners to be protected from first crash with occasional, unlisted drivers

May 13 2019, 11:05 pm

The provincial government has introduced several adjustments to ICBC’s upcoming insurance model, which kicks in on September 1, 2019.

The most significant change is that car owners will be “protected” from their first crash if an occasional, unlisted driver is behind the wheel.

ICBC considers an occasional driver as a person who uses a vehicle for fewer than 12 days in a year.

Currently, if a vehicle is involved in an accident with an unlisted driver behind the wheel, the principal owner would deal with the financial consequences.

ICBC’s new model introduces a driver-based system, meaning that if a similar event were to occur, it would be the unlisted driver that sees an increase in their financial premium. The primary vehicle owner, however, would have been hit with a fine.

The provincial government’s changes give the car owner, in essence, a “freebie,” although additional protection would be needed for any additional offences.

Another change is that the driving history of lower-risk drivers will not be used as a factor in insurance premiums if the person isn’t a household member or an employee.

This would have allowed drivers to add low-risk drivers and artificially reduce their insurance premiums. In turn, other drivers would have carried those costs by having to pay for increased rates.

The final adjustment made by the provincial government is an extension period for drivers to repay previous insurance claims.

Currently, if a driver is found at fault for a crash that doesn’t involve injuries or costly vehicle damage, they can repay the claim to ICBC so it doesn’t impact their insurance premium.

This allows for some drivers to pay for the true risk they represent.

Under the new ICBC model, drivers will have a $2,000 limit for repaying claims that occur on or after September 1, 2019.

The BC Government has, however, extended the period in which drivers will be able to repay claims that occurred between March 1, 2017, and August 31, 2019.

This ensures that drivers will have enough time and information to make a decision about whether to repay a claim or not, as well as how it could affect insurance costs.

Based on two orders-in-council that were made by the provincial government on May 10, the changes are expected to be approved by the BC Utilities Commission (BCUC) before May 20, 2019.

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