ICBC is all over the news again, and no one is surprised. Next to a sense of geographic self-righteousness (we all whisper “West Coast Best Coast” to ourselves as we fall asleep, don’t we?), ICBC in the news is the most consistent thing about this province. But it’s different this time: it’s not a report on numbers, nor a proposed rate increase; it’s not a call for privatization. It’s a rate redesign, and it may lower your annual premiums and help protect you if your vehicle is involved in a crash!
So, what’s changed?
The way discounts work, for one.
The Claims Rated Scale (CRS) – this is how your discount was calculated, based on the number of years driving with no at-fault claims – has been replaced with a system called Individual Driver Factor (IDF). The discount is no longer attached to the license plate or the vehicle, but rather to the driver(s), and is based on driving experience and accident history. (To learn more about IDF, and to get your IDF Report, click here.)
The removal of the CRS does not mean you will lose your discount! In fact, under the IDF model, you may receive a larger discount, as ICBC has increased the maximum discount available for long-time, safe drivers. However, cancelling your insurance and setting up a new policy under the IDF system before your scheduled renewal is not recommended, as the savings may not be substantial enough to outweigh the cancellation and new plate fees.
Since the discount is attached to the driver, not the vehicle, if you do not have a BC Driver’s License, you cannot gain driving history, which means no discount will build. If you are a BC resident without a BC Driver’s License, switching over to a BC license will save you, perhaps substantially, over time. For those who have been insuring a vehicle in BC without a BC Driver’s License, you will lose the discount you have been building on that plate.
The other major change is the requirement to list all drivers of the vehicle.
Previously, ICBC asked you to declare a principal operator each year, and whether there were any inexperienced drivers in the household. Now, you will be required to list all employees, household members, and regular drivers of the vehicle. Failure to do so can result in a hefty financial penalty. (ICBC defines a “regular driver” as anyone who drives the vehicle more than 12 times in 12 months.)
You must edit drivers throughout the year if they change. For instance, if your child moves back into your home after finishing university, or your neighbour starts borrowing your car once a week, they will need to be added to your policy.
You will still be asked to declare a principal operator of the vehicle, but you will now be able to change the principal operator at any point during the year.
What questions will you be asked when you come into renew?
In addition to the usual questions regarding use, commute length, address etc., you will now also be asked:
- Who in the household drives the vehicle?
- Do any of your employees drive the vehicle?
- Are there any non-household members (excluding your employees) who drive the vehicle more than 12 times in 12 months?
What information do you need to bring?
If there are any household members, employees, or other regular drivers of the vehicle, bring their name(s), date(s) of birth, and driver’s license number(s), so they can be listed on the policy.
As always, bring your current paperwork or renewal notice, and valid ID, to make the renewal process smooth.
What about that unlisted driver stuff?
Coverage for unlisted drivers was possibly the most contentious part of ICBC’s rate redesign when it was first announced. You may have heard there would be a $50 fee to add Unlisted Driver Protection, in case someone not listed on your policy crashed your vehicle.
After receiving feedback from customers and brokers, ICBC decided to make the Unlisted Driver Protection free – so make sure you add it! – until an unlisted driver has an accident in the vehicle. Should an unlisted driver cause a crash in your vehicle, you will have to pay for the unlisted driver protection in the future.
Unlisted Driver Protection is optional, but advisable. If you do not have it, and an unlisted driver crashes your vehicle, there will be a financial penalty (the amount of the fine is dependent upon the Driver Factor of the person who caused the crash).
This is a big change, and there is a lot to know!
ICBC’s website is full of resources, so you can be prepared when you visit your broker to renew your auto insurance. (For example, there is a clear overview of how drivers, driving experience, and crash history influence premiums here, and information on listing Learner drivers on your policy here.
Morgan Thomas, BA
Administration Coordinator and Personal Insurance Trainer