80% premium hikes, disappearing discounts: These are your ICBC horror stories

Nov 20 2019, 9:56 am

Last month, Daily Hive put out a call out to our readers to share their experiences with ICBC’s new insurance policy.

And oh boy, did our readers ever respond.

Within days, hundreds and hundreds of responses filtered in from drivers of all ages and backgrounds. Some readers had their licences for less than three years; others had been drivers for more than 40.

We heard stories about ICBC customers getting hit with substantial increases to their premiums under newly-released changes — despite having a crash-free history. Some have had to sell off their vehicles (seriously) or rely more on public transit. There were, however, a few who said they were saving more money under the new system.

The majority of respondents (80%, if you want to be exact) had one common denominator — they were paying more money. Many of them even said that their annual insurance policy cost more than the payments they make for their vehicle.

Here are some of the responses that Daily Hive received: 

Spencer (11 years of driving experience, zero at-fault crashes)

I’m one-third of the way on the discount semi-circle and I need 35 years of safe driving to get a similar discount [to what I had before]. I have over 10 years of safe driving, I drive one day a week to work (and maybe once every other weekend) and my insurance skyrocketed by 20% still.

Since this is the case, I decided to take a year off in protest and parked my car with sitting insurance and I will not transit/Evo everywhere, and my girlfriend and I will share one car.

Jacquie (40 years of driving experience, one at-fault crash)

My prices have gone up significantly. I have two other children with an N and L, and the increase was approximately $1,400. I need my vehicle, so I have to pay the additional cost, but I’ll cut back on other purchases.

I would gladly stage a protest.

Jessica (10 years of driving experience, one at-fault crash) 

I received my 10-year driving “discount” in September and also renewed for the year, and my rates went up by $65/month with no change to my coverage. I’m fortunate to be in a position where I can afford the increase, however, I was looking forward to a discount that I anticipated receiving. If I were still in school this would have had a significant impact on my budget.

Fred (15 years of driving experience, one at-fault crash)

I’ve had a 43% discount for the past few years and the premiums keep getting more and more expensive. How does that even make sense? I can’t go out anymore; car insurance payments have a huge impact on my spending.

Danielle (18 years of driving experience, zero at-fault crashes)

My insurance went up by almost $300 per year. I have never had an at-fault accident, have had my license the day I turned 16, and I’ve only ever had one speeding ticket (seven years ago). I thought the new plan was to benefit safe drivers like me. Instead, it increased!

Brendan (9 years of driving experience, one at-fault crash)

My rate has dropped down from $3,700 to $2,700 (annually). I’ve gained an extra $100 per month in savings and I’m glad it’s cheaper.

Tony (Two years of driving experience, zero at-fault crashes) 

I pay hundreds of dollars more. It’s pretty significant especially for someone who’s never been in an accident and had a clean driving record. I could be saving so much more that I could instead put towards tuition for school.

Harpreet (Five years of driving experience, zero at-fault crashes) 

My premium reduced a lot; I’m saving approximately $1,800 per year. It’s great.

Michelle (18 years of driving experience, zero at-fault crashes) 

My premium went up by $300 despite me having 18 years experience, no claims, no past tickets, no crashes, nothing. The percentage of my income that my car is taking up is increasing more and more, which I have to take into consideration. It’s so expensive to have a car here and yet there’s still no ridesharing allowed.

It feels really deceptive of them the way they rolled it out. They said good drivers will pay less, but I’m paying more with 18 years of experience and a perfect record. I don’t believe that 60% of people are paying less as they claim. I feel really bad for new drivers who are paying over $5,000.

I only hope that before my child hits driving age that BC has private insurers and reasonable policies.

Chris (15 years of driving experience, zero at-fault crashes) 

No accidents, no tickets, perfect driving record during my entire time in British Columbia, no extra drivers on my insurance, and I have a new car with accident avoidance — my monthly payment went from $142 a month to $211.

It’s an $840 increase for the year. That pays for a lot of bills — all my hydro and a couple of months worth of cellphone bills. It’s ridiculous.

Anthony (30 years of driving experience, zero at-fault crashes) 

Despite the fact that I’m accident-free and my vehicle includes automatic braking, my premiums have risen by 13% compared to last year.

On another vehicle, my teen can’t think of ever driving it because the insurance is worth more than the vehicle. It’s disgusting.

Jerome (Eight years of driving experience, zero at-fault crashes) 

I renewed in August right before the new system, but if my insurance skyrockets, I might plan to leave BC altogether.

Alex (12 years of driving experience, zero at-fault crashes)

My annual premium increased by $300. I feel cheated and disrespected as a safe driver with no history of accidents or tickets. Furthermore, I can’t be considered a new driver, given I have 12 years behind the wheel. I thought this change is supposed to reduce the annual cost for drivers like me.

Luana (Eight years of driving experience, zero at-fault crashes) 

My rate has gone up $800 a year because I am a “young driver.” My age is uncontrollable but my driving record is. I’m currently finishing up my degree while working, paying rent, tuition, and fees. This additional $800 a year is an impact on my savings. The system is broken.

Gine (Five years of driving experience, zero at-fault crashes) 

It’s gone up extremely high; I have to sell my vehicle now. I can’t justify paying over $4,000 annually for insurance. If I were to renew it would take a huge portion out of buying a house or apartment in the future.

I hardly drive at all. I bus to work because I work near Brentwood Mall and it’s a mess. I don’t drink and drive, obviously, and I don’t drive downtown. I mostly drive to the grocery store so it’s strictly for pleasure.

Tiffany (Six years of driving experience, zero at-fault crashes) 

My premium has gone up 80% from $1,900 to $3,400 on a 16-year-old Honda CRV. Luckily, I’m still able to pay my monthly insurance without stretching my budget, but it’s too much considering the car is only worth double what I’m paying each year. I can’t imagine what the cost will be when I have to get a new car.

Courtney (Seven years of driving experience, zero at-fault crashes) 

ICBC’s policy has increased my yearly rate by over $1,000. It makes it impossible to try and put any money away for savings, to continue paying off my car at the rate that I previously was, and has made me second guess going back to school — purely for financial reasons.

It’s unfair for young drivers like myself who have never had a single ticket or been in an accident of any kind and has given breaks to those who are new to the province or have had previous accidents.

King (13 years of driving experiences, zero at-fault crashes) 

My annual rate increased by $700. The old policy was better — ICBC increases rates for anyone who isn’t over the age of 40. This reduces young drivers and, in effect, people will have less driving experience when they can actually afford insurance when they hit their mid-30s.

Katherine (Three years of driving experience, zero at-fault crashes)

My premiums went up an extra $1,000 per year. The money has to come out of somewhere in my budget, usually divided between food and savings.

I like the idea that people who have a bad track record pay more, however, I do not agree with them going after newer drivers who have a clean record. The police should solely be based on your accidents and driving record. This city is expensive enough as it is and like most people, I need my car to get back and forth.

Mitchell (12 years of driving experience, zero at-fault crashes) 

Being a driver of 12 years with no incidents or tickets, my annual rate went up over $500 from last year. Coming from Ontario, with private insurance, this is farce compared to other provinces. It’s a joke. Insurance needs to be held to a better standard.

Josh (Three years of driving experience, zero at-fault crashes) 

I’ve had no accidents during the three years that I’ve had a license and I was receiving a 15% discount before the new system came out. When the new system came out, my rate increased by more than $1,000.

I’m a full-time undergraduate student, who doesn’t have much income, and drives to and from school — if I chose to take the bus I’d be commuting for three hours.

Keith (15 years of driving experience, zero at-fault crashes) 

My premiums have gone up by 50% despite having a perfect driving record — not even a parking ticket. I was trying to save for a down payment on a condo; this makes it even harder than it already was.

I was told by my broker in August to put off renewing until the new rules took place as it was assumed that someone like me would pay less. I know others with a much poorer driving record saving money, so the formula they are using is flawed.

Monique (Nine years of driving experience, zero at-fault crashes)

I had no idea the sticker shock I was in for. The gentleman assisting me first confirmed that I’d like to keep all of my specs the same, then goes “Wow! It’s really gone up a lot.”

“Last year my insurance was approximately $2,150 annually and this year, it was going up to $3,163. I’ve had zero accidents and can’t imagine what caused such a huge jump. I friend who works in insurance called ICBC on my behalf and told me that the rate increase was basically because I’m a “young driver” again and L years are no longer being counted.

My monthly payments are now $270 and I absolutely have to change the way I spend in order to afford this change. I just don’t understand! I’m truly livid about it. It’s highway robbery, literally.

Joanne (33 years of driving experience, zero at-fault crashes)

My insurance went up $480 annually due to the fact that I have a new driver also using the vehicle. It’s a 2006 minivan with 300,000 km, so the insurance is literally more than the van is worth. We need some competition for this rip off.

Lia (12 years of driving experience, zero at-fault crashes)

I’m a full-time nursing student — not only do I have tuition and books and studying, but I also work to make rent and keep my apartment. I’ve had zero accidents and zero claims against insurance for over 10 years but my premiums have gone up for the last four to five years. As a mature student going back to school, this was supposed to be one area that I could save on being a safe driver.

Brittany (13 years of driving experience, zero at-fault crashes)

My annual premium has gone up about $400. I was shocked to have my rates increase so much despite nothing changing — same car, same address, no claims. As someone driving safely for 13 years, I don’t understand how my rates could increase so much and with this new model, I don’t know how any new drivers will be able to drive at all!

Karyn (Four years of driving experience, zero at-fault crashes)

They charged me approximately $4,000 more annually than what I had to pay last year. I’m a college student and having to pay this amount of money is absurd — it’s basically more than college courses. The entire ICBC monopoly is ridiculous.

Alena (Nine years of driving experience, zero at-fault crashes) 

Before the major jump, I was already on a pretty tight budget paying $1,250 monthly in rent, $200 on groceries, and $220 a month on gas. After paying for those costs as well as for my phone, then hearing my insurance would go up, there’s just no getting ahead.

Every year ICBC acts like you’ll be getting a better discount, a reward for safe driving, but instead, it’s the opposite and your rates are hiked. It’s disheartening.

Got an insurance story you want to share? Fill out our online form below or email us at [email protected] to have your say.

Editor’s note: Some responses have been edited for clarity