Ask an Expert: ICBC’s Enhanced Care

As you have probably heard on the news, ICBC is changing things up this spring, and embracing a new insurance model called Enhanced Care.

Basically, with Enhanced Care ICBC is looking to move away from a model centred around litigation and toward a model centered on providing care to British Columbians involved in vehicular accidents. A key tenet of this move is a lawsuit ban that applies to most accidents.

This is a significant change to the way car insurance works in BC. Understandably, people have a lot of questions about what this will look like for them and for the other drivers on the road.

To answer the questions people are asking, we sat down with our senior ICBC Team Lead, Megan Carter, who shared what she knows about Enhanced Care and how it will impact customers like you.

Why is ICBC moving to this new model?

People in B.C. pay some of the highest auto insurance premiums in Canada. At the same time, ICBC’s current business model has become unmaintainable as they spend upwards of $1 billion per year on legal costs alone. By moving from an adversarial approach of suing an at fault driver to a model where each driver’s own policy covers their claim, the costs associated with litigation will be dramatically lower.

Enhanced Care is a whole new way of doing auto insurance in B.C., one that lowers the price of the insurance for drivers, but more importantly also provides everyone with the access to significantly better care and recovery benefits if they’re injured in a crash, regardless of fault.

What are the main benefits ICBC’s new Enhanced Care model? 

  • More affordable rates
  • Significantly enhanced care for anyone injured in a crash, regardless of fault
  • Removal of legal costs

When is the shift to Enhanced Care happening?

Effective May 1, 2021 for renewals and new policies.

How will the average driver be impacted by this change to Enhanced Care? 

The average driver will notice a reduction of approximately 20% on their insurance premiums, with rates remaining steady in 2021 and beyond.

For an estimate of what you will save, click here.

Will drivers who are at fault for more accidents still pay more premium?

Being at-fault in an accident will still impact your Individual Driver Factor. Even though your own policy will only cover you, and not your damage to others, your premium will increase if you are found at-fault for accidents.

Making a claim through your policy for an accident for which you were not responsible will not impact your premium.

When will the lawsuit ban not apply?

You will still be able to sue others in the following cases:

  • If the driver of the at-fault vehicle is convicted of impaired driving (or another specified Criminal Code offense)
  • If you are involved in an accident outside of B.C., in a jurisdiction where local laws permit you to take legal action against responsible parties
  • If there is non-vehicular damage (e.g. damage to a fence if a car crashes into your yard)

What are the basic things everyone should know about Enhanced Care? 

  • Hit and Run will no longer be covered under the Basic Insurance, it will be covered under your collision coverage, if you carry collision.
    • Hit and Run will also be available to purchase separately, if you do not want collision.
  • Coverage changes once you leave B.C. so if you are planning a trip, you should contact your Autoplan broker to be sure you have adequate coverage.
  • Third party liability will still be required for instances where the lawsuit ban applies and where Enhanced Accident Benefits will not cover damage, such as non-vehicular damage, like damage to the contents of a vehicle.
  • Coverage is included for lost wages if you have to miss work due to accident injuries, but there is a limit, so ICBC is introducing a new coverage called Income Top Up for those British Columbians that gross $100,000 salary or more a year.

Do I still need to purchase Third Party Liability?

Yes. As we note above, the lawsuit ban does not mean that every B.C. driver is immune to lawsuits, so we highly recommend that you continue to carry third party liability coverage, especially if you ever drive outside of B.C.

Note: Third party liability insurance will not cover you if you are found at-fault for an accident that occurred while you were impaired and are sued for damages as a result. (Insurance excludes coverage for illegal activities.)

What happens if I am involved in an accident with a driver from another jurisdiction (outside of BC)?

You will have access to Enhanced Accident Benefits for injuries sustained.

If you are at fault for the accident, your collision coverage will cover damage to your vehicle. If you are not at fault for the accident, inverse liability will cover the damage to your vehicle.

What is the limit for care and recovery benefits under Enhanced Care?

There is no limit. Everyone will be able to access the care they need – whether it’s physiotherapy, dental care, medication, and more – with no cap on expenses.

Will this impact my Off Road Vehicle insurance policy?

As the ORV is a non standard vehicle it is not subject to the lawsuit ban, and neither Basic Vehicle Damage Coverage nor Enhanced Accident Benefits apply to these policies. To protect yourself for off-highway use you will need to purchase an Off Highway Pleasure Use Policy (APV119) or Off Highway Third Party Liability Coverage.

What do I need to do differently when I renew my Autoplan insurance this year?

There is nothing you need to do differently: you can renew by phone, online, in person by appointment, or by walking in to our office. Come with your ID and your notice to renew, and the agent will walk you through everything from there. (Click here to find details on how to renew through Megson FitzPatrick.)

Be prepared for a longer conversation with your Autoplan agent when you call/come in to renew your policy as there will lots to talk about!

How will refunds work for customers who will not see the savings from Enhanced Care until much later than May 1st?

For anyone who has an active policy on May 1st, 2021, ICBC will proactively re-rate their policy under the new Enhanced Care system and send out refunds accordingly.

The refunds will come via a refund on your credit card, lowered monthly payments, cheque or by direct deposit if you have signed up for that.

For more information on ICBC’s new Enhanced Care model, click here.