In what it said are “further steps to reduce financial burden for drivers” during the pandemic, ICBC announced on Thursday that it is waiving the $30 cancellation fee and $18 re-plating fee for those people who choose to cancel their insurance during this time.
The cancellation fee change is subject to the approval of the BC Utilities Commission, and customers will be required to remove the plate from their vehicle while it is not insured and keep the vehicle off the road.
Customers who reinsure on May 30 or thereafter will be able to re-use their plate. Customers reinsuring prior to that date will be issued a new plate at no charge and at that time are expected to surrender their plate. ICBC said it will also allow fleet vehicle customers to suspend their insurance to help them save money during this difficult time.
For drivers with learner licences which expire during the pandemic, no fee will be required for their first knowledge test, once testing resumes.
ICBC also confirmed that customers will be able to use their vehicles for the delivery of food or medical products and services, without changing their insurance (vehicle use) or paying a higher premium. This includes people volunteering to help deliver groceries or other essential supplies to seniors and other people in need.
“We know many British Columbians are facing financial challenges as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said ICBC President and CEO Nicolas Jimenez. “Businesses are also having to adapt to the situation, with many companies changing their business model to offer delivery services so people can access the food and medical products they need while physical distancing.”
As such, Jimenez said ICBC “is responding to these needs and taking action to ease the burden for everyone during this difficult time.”
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Customers are encouraged to call their broker about changing their coverage and lowering their premium to reflect changes in how much they drive and the related risk, which it can be over the phone at no charge.
“These changes will provide some relief to customers during this challenging time, and brokers are there to assist British Columbians in adapting their insurance to meet their changing needs,” said Chuck Byrne of the Insurance Brokers Association of BC.
Changes to cancellation fees, suspension of fleet vehicle insurance and the allowance of deliveries by drivers in non-delivery rate classes are in effect upon interim approval by the BC Utilities Commission. ICBC has submitted an application to the BCUC and an interim decision is expected shortly.
These latest measures by ICBC follow several other recent measures which include:
- Establishing the ability to conduct a number of transactions by phone or email, such as renewing driver’s licences set to expire, and renewing insurance;
- Allowing customers who pay for their insurance on a monthly basis to defer payments for up to 90 days with no penalty.
The announcement comes after BC Premier John Horgan was asked about assistance for people still paying car insurance while spending the majority of their time at home and off the roads.
“We have a longer-term solution for ICBC which Minister [David] Eby has been working on,” he answered. “Not just prior to the pandemic, but throughout it.”
He added that the extraordinary moment that we’re in does not change the fact that ICBC was fundamentally broken when we arrived and we have been trying to fix it ever since.”
And while he admitted that the savings announced today are “modest,” he also called them “appropriate ones in this environment from ICBC.”
For its part, ICBC said that moving forward, it continues to review its operations to support the safety and well-being of its customers and employees, and will make additional changes as necessary.
In the meantime, don’t spend that $48 all in one place.