Driverless Cars and Other Tech-Centric Insurance Issues for BC Drivers

by | Safe Driving, Uncategorized

Driverless Cars Insurance Issues

If you live in BC and have watched the news at the onset of November then you’ve heard how everyone is up in arms about an autonomous Tesla that was “summoned” by its driver (loose term) in a Richmond BC mall parking lot. The vehicle was driving down the wrong lane and chased down by security before the owner eventually appeared from the mall. You can view the amusing yet concerning video here. This story leads to questions not only about driverless cars and liability implications, but other ways technology is changing the landscape of automobile insurance in BC. Today, we’re going to take a brief look at three recent tech developments and what BC drivers need to know.

Autonomous Cars and Other Driver-Tech Insurance Issues (and Opportunities?) BC Drivers Need to Know About for 2020

ICBC States Driverless Cars Are Not Allowed 

If you live in BC you may want to hold off on buying that new autonomous vehicle. ICBC has officially stated that driverless technology is not permitted in the province. Given this fact, an owner/operator employing the technology becomes responsible from the moment of autonomous activation, and if the vehicle causes or is involved an in accident the owner’s insurance policy may not provide coverage. At press, there are no formal ICBC regulations in place about the operation or registration of a vehicle with autonomous capabilities. But again, with driverless technology currently forbidden in the province, owners will have to leave the feature alone for the time being.

The recent event will certainly have the province and ICBC look deeper into developing a plan (and perhaps coverage) to cover the contingencies surrounding driverless cars, so stay tuned to our blog for updates.

Uber/Lyft Insurance Availability

As soon as legislation passed to allow ride-hailing in BC old questions about how ICBC would contend with the liability and insurance implications of being an Uber or Lyft driver in the province reared their head. While we await the official arrival of the services, which are expected by December, ICBC has moved forward with a new plan to provide coverage. 

ICBC has made it mandatory for ride-hailing companies operating in BC to secure basic insurance to provide coverage for accident benefits and up to $1,000,000 third party liability. This covers drivers for the entire duration of a ride, from the moment they accept a trip via the app through to the moment they drop-off passengers and complete the ride on the app’s indicator. In addition, ICBC is making available optional coverage (including Collision and Comprehensive insurance) for both ride-hailing companies and drivers. As a driver (as applicable) it is highly recommended that you secure optional coverage. Park Insurance has already detailed everything you need to know about the new updates to ride-hailing insurance. Review the article here if you plan on taking advantage of this new technology.

Telematics Arrival in BC

One tech development is expected to make a positive splash on the roads of British Columbia. ICBC has adopted telematics technology to gather information about BC driver behavior with the intent to correct bad driving habits and reward the good ones. The up and coming year-long project, known as Techpilot, will recruit participants from around the province. A smartphone app-enabled device will be installed in participating user vehicles and will track and collect data regarding driver behavior such as speed, acceleration, braking, distance, and more to provide feedback about how drivers may improve and help make BC roads safer for all. Park Insurance has provided a detailed guide to the ICBC Techpilot program should you be interested in participating, or if you simply want to learn more. 

It’s an exciting yet uncertain time in the world of driver technology. But one thing is for certain – you need to review your current automobile insurance policy to ensure that you’re covered for the known, and perhaps more so – for the unknown. Contact Park Insurance today to schedule a consultation.

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