B.C. Attorney General David Eby. (Black Press files)

Safe driver discounts, lending vehicles to young drivers under scrutiny for ICBC

At-fault accident could cost you for 10 years, instead of three

With the Insurance Corporation of B.C. struggling with rising accident rates and injury claim costs, the B.C. government is considering tightening the rules for safe driver discounts.

The province is seeking public input on proposals to make rules stricter for safe driver discounts, suggesting that an at-fault accident should produce higher insurance rates for up to 10 years instead of being forgiven after three years.

“The consistent feedback I’ve received from British Columbians is they think that bad drivers should be paying more, and good drivers should be paying less,” said Attorney General David Eby. “The question is, who is a bad driver and how much more should they pay.”

About 40 per cent of at-fault claims are forgiven each year, because the crashes are caused by drivers who have the maximum safe driver discount. Currently drivers can cause one accident without any impact on their ICBC rate if they have been claim-free for 13 years. The new proposal is to extend that to 20 years.

The province is also proposing to penalize people who lend their vehicle to a higher-risk driver. One out of five B.C. drivers who caused a crash were driving someone else’s vehicle, government statistics show.

The “driver-based model” means registered owners of vehicles crashed by other drivers would not see rate increases, and crashes would follow the at-fault driver on all the vehicles they drive.

Vehicle owners would have to list the drivers allowed to use their vehicle, and pay a fee if an unlisted driver causes a crash. That fee would be higher if the unlisted driver is related to the vehicle owner.

“Currently, insurance follows the vehicle instead of following the driver,” Eby said. “A good example of groups who should be thinking about the impact of drivers using your car … is someone who may have a young, inexperienced driver in their household that they’re lending the family car to.”

Another proposal in the government’s public engagement website is restricting peoples’ ability to pay out of pocket for vehicle damage they caused, to keep an at-fault accident from being on their ICBC record and affecting their insurance rates.

The public engagement and survey on the new ICBC rate structure is open until April 5.

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