ICBC: Enhanced Care Explained
What follows is a breakdown of the major reforms scheduled to be brought into ICBC's Autoplan product in their May 2021 Enhanced Care coverage model change. Some of the following items are reforms to current conditions and benefits and some are entirely new to BC.
Lower Rates (for Optional coverages)
- Average rate 2020 - $1,900
- Average rate 2021 - $1,500 (average projected savings of 20%/$400)
- On Dec. 15, ICBC applied to the BCUC (BC Utilities Commission) for a 15% reduction in Autoplan’s Basic rates (approved for May 1, 2021 - Enhanced Care is meant to reduce premiums only in excess coverages). ICBC will not be able to apply for another Basic rate decrease until December 2022
Renewals between February 1 – April 30, 2021:
- Partial refund will be applied upon renewal. The remainder of your prorated refund will be issued by July 31, 2021
- Your monthly installments will decrease upon renewal if you are currently on a monthly payment plan. Any refunds issued after May 1, 2021 will simply decrease your monthly installments. If the refund is greater than the total amount owing, a refund cheque will be mailed
- Customers who paid for their policies with credit cards will have their refunds applied directly to those credit cards. If this is unsuccessful, a refund cheque will be mailed
- Customers who paid for their policies with debit cards, cash, or cheques will be mailed refund cheques
- Policies owned by non-indviduals (i.e.: joint owners, corporations, lessee/lessor, etc.) will have their monthly installments reduced if on a payment plan and their refund is less than the amount owing. If non-individual policies are paid by any other method, or if the refund is greater than the outstanding amount, a refund cheque will be mailed. Some lessors may need to endorse the refund cheque before it can be deposited
- A COVID-19 rebate (average $190) will also be issued to eligible customers via mailed rebate cheque beginning mid-March, 2021
Renewals after May 1, 2021 will be under “Enhanced Care” and will see lower rates upon renewal.
Refunds issued after May 1, 2021 may be grouped into one lump-sum. Refunds may not be grouped if the customer has one leased vehicle and one non-leased, for example, for had paid for one policy with one credit card and another policy with a different one.
If you would like refunds directly deposited to you bank account, you must provide your banking information to ICBC (through your broker) before May 1, 2021 - even if you have provided it in the past for another purpose.*
More Coverage (No-Fault Benefits)
The following coverages and increases will apply to all injured insureds regardless of fault:
- Medical Care and Rehabilitation limit will increase from $300,000 to $7.5 million
o Medication and equipment
o Physio, chiro, massage, etc.
o Dental Care
o Alterations to vehicle/home (i.e.: ramps)
- Loss of Income limit will increase from $740/week to $1,200/week (60% increase). Additional coverage may be purchased for high-income injured insureds
- New income replacement benefits – students, minors, retired, or running family business who cannot study, save for retirement, or fulfill family business obligations due to an accident
- New Caregiver Benefits – weekly benefit for family caregivers if injury prevents them from fulfilling these duties
- Personal Care Assistance will increase to $4,800/month (paying for expenses where the insureds require aid in bathing, dressing, eating, cleaning, etc.)
- New Recreational Benefit – up to $4,000/2 years to help injured insureds participate in recreational activities for which they now need assistance
- Death Benefits will increase from $30,000 to $60,000-$500,000
o Funeral expenses up to $7,500
o Funds for deceased’s dependents will also increase
- New Grief Counselling – up to $3,500 for grieving family members
- Additional Benefits for the most seriously injured:
o New Permanent Impairment Compensation – up to $250,000
o Personal Care Assistance increases to $5,700/month for catastrophically injured and $10,000/month for those needing 24-hour care
The above benefits fall under Enhanced Accident Benefits, which is a statutory requirement available to BC residents as well as non-BC residents who currently hold an active Owner's Certificate of Insurance and Vehicle Licence (APV250) with ICBC, and applies to injured drivers, passengers, pedestrians, and cyclists.
- New Income Top-Up Policy - to expand income replacment benefits for those earning higher incomes than the standard benefits cover
Drivers who cause accidents still face consequences:
- Pay higher premiums
- May be convicted after a crash (i.e.: impaired driving, manslaughter, etc.)
- May still be sued by the injured not-at-fault party if the at-fault driver is convicted of certain Criminal Code offences following the accident or if the claim involves downtime
- Parties which may be seen as contributing to a crash like pub owners or vehicle manufacturers may also still be sued
No-Fault Vehicle Damage
Instead of seeking compensation for vehicle damage under the at-fault party’s Third Party Liability coverage limit (BC legislated minimum $200,000 and up to $5 million available for purchase under ICBC’s current Autoplan), damage will be compensated directly by ICBC under their own policies (Basic Vehicle Damage coverage). Compensation in this form by drivers who are not at-fault will not lead to increased premiums (similar to most comprehensive claims). Basic Vehicle Damage coverage will be added to policies effective May 1, 2021, regardless of effective or expiry dates and has a limit of $200,000.
Does this mean Third Party Liability is disappearing? No, while most accidents will see the new lawsuit ban, there are still circumstances outside it. Third Party Liability will continue to cover the statutory minimum of $200,000, will be much cheaper than it currently is, and will be effective for accidents occuring outside BC, for at-fault drivers convicted of Criminal Code offences, and other areas where a victim's insurance or the lawsuit ban is inapplicable.
If you are at fault for a crash, your optional Collision coverage will continue to pay for damage to your own vehicle. Collision claims typically lead to increases in premium.
Another change related to the lawsuit ban and direct compensation scheme is that Underinsured Motorist Protection will no longer be offered as it will have become obsolete.
Hit-and-run accidents will be covered just as they are now if you purchase Collision coverage – your Collision deductible will be applied. If you do not carry Collision coverage with ICBC or hit-and-run coverage from a private insurer, ICBC will offer a new standalone optional coverage for hit-and-run accidents.
This new hit-and-run coverage does not cover injuries sustained from hit-and-run incidents; bodily injury will be covered under ICBC's new Enhanced Accident Benefits. However, this optional hit-and-run coverage does not apply outside BC or anywhere off a BC "highway" (defined in the BC Transportation Act; includes roads, lanes, streets, highways, etc.). On the other hand, Collision applies to damage on- or off-highway and in or outside BC. You cannot purchase both coverages simultaneously.
Whether you purchase Collision or Hit-and-Run coverage will be optional. It is important to note, however, that starting May 1, 2021, the statutory hit-and-run fund will no longer pay for vehicle property damage (it will continue to compensate victims for bodily injury and non-vehicle property damage). This means if you want your vehicle covered for damage caused by hit-and-run incidents, you must purchase Collision or Hit-and-Run with ICBC, or a similar optional coverage from a private insurer.
Because of this change, ICBC is offering a one-time provision for customers who renewed shortly before May 1, 2021 to cover them for hit-and-run vehicle property damage if they have not purchased either Collision or Hit-and-Run. This provision will end April 30, 2022.
What If I Dispute the Amount of my Claim?
These are some official resources you may use to ensure your compensation is fair. The first of these resources (CRT) will act as the primary outlet for accident victims who believe they are entitled to compensation beyond what ICBC initially declares.
- Civil Resolution Tribunal (CRT)
- BC Fairness Office (new)
- BC Ombudsperson
The information in this post is provided by ICBC and can be found on their website at https://2021.icbc.com/
If you have further enquiries about ICBC's upcoming Enhanced Care coverage model, contact ICBC's customer service line at (604) 661-2800 (Lower Mainland) or 1-(800) 663-3051 (elsewhere), or speak with your insurance broker.
- The Homestead Insurance Team
*Disclaimer: ICBC is collecting your bank details for the purpose of processing any applicable ICBC refunds or payments due to you.