ICBC’s New Income Top-Up Coverage – What You Need to Know
We’ve been talking about ICBC’s new Autoplan model, Enhanced Care, for a few months now. For us, and for you, there is a lot to learn. Last month, we answered some of the most commonly asked general questions about Enhanced Care, and gave a basic overview of the way coverages are changing under this new program.
Now, we want to focus in on one specific coverage that is available for purchase: Income Top-Up.
Included in every British Columbian’s Enhanced Care Accident Benefits is Income Replacement, which provides each person with 90% of their net income, up to $100,000 in gross income, should they be unable to continue working due to an injury sustained in a vehicle accident. This coverage is available for all injured parties, whether they were considered at-fault for the accident or not.
Anyone injured in a motor vehicle accident, including drivers, passengers, cyclists and pedestrians can access Income Replacement coverage if needed, provided they are a B.C. resident, or have an active B.C. Autoplan insurance policy.
Although this already provides significantly more protection than the Wage Loss coverage that is currently available in a pre-Enhanced Care B.C., some high earners may not be satisfactorily covered by the included Income Replacement benefit.
Since the ability to sue at-fault drivers will be removed in most cases, anyone with a net income in excess of $100,000 should consider purchasing higher limits through the Income Top-Up coverage extension, especially if they do not have any other income replacement coverage in place.
What is Income Top-Up?
ICBC’s Income Top-Up is extra coverage for people with high incomes (over $100,000 gross annual income), to ensure they receive adequate benefits if they are unable to work following a crash.
It is designed for people who do not have access to other income replacement plans (which are sometimes provided by employers), and follows the same principles of the included Income Replacement coverage: 90% of your pre-crash income is covered, up to the limit you purchase, regardless of who was at-fault for the accident.
How Much Coverage Is Available?
Income Top-Up is available in $10,000 increments. You can buy anywhere from $10,000 to $100,000 in additional coverage, depending on your needs.
Purchase the limit you need, not the limit you want. If you purchase a $50,000 top-up (giving you coverage for income up to $150,000), but your net annual income is $125,000, your Income Replacement & Top-Up benefits will be calculated off the $125,000 amount, not the $150,000. That means you paid for more coverage than you got.
Do I Need to Bring My Tax Information to Purchase the Top-Up?
No, you do not need to have any tax or salary information with you when you purchase this coverage. The only time you would be required to prove your income would be if you needed to make an Income Top-Up claim following an accident.
Who Can Buy Income Top-Up Coverage?
Any individual with an active ICBC auto insurance policy, and all B.C. residents (even if they don’t have an active ICBC policy) are eligible to purchase Income Top-Up.
Companies and organizations are not eligible for Income Top-Up, nor is anyone who has debt with ICBC.
For jointly owned vehicles, each owner would need to purchase their own Income Top-Up policy, based on their individual net income.
When Can I Buy Income Top-Up Coverage?
You can purchase Income Top-Up coverage at any time.
If you purchase it on or prior to May 1st, 2021, the effective date of coverage will be May 1st, 2021.
If you purchase it after May 1st, 2021, the effective date of coverage will be the date you purchased it.
If you are a high income earner, and think you may require ICBC’s new Income Top-Up coverage, contact our office at 1.888.595.5212, and one of our expert auto insurance agents will gladly assist you in setting up a policy.
For a handy guide from ICBC designed to help you understand Enhanced Care, click here.