ICBC’s Enhanced Care program is set to take effect on May 1, 2021. The program is based on a no fault insurance model. No-fault insurance is a type of automobile insurance coverage that helps pay for your medical care if you’re injured in a motor vehicle accident (MVA) regardless of who was responsible. Enhanced Care is poised to revolutionize coverage, premiums, and most importantly the care you and injured parties receive after an MVA. Here’s what you need to know.
Answers to Your Questions About the ICBC Enhanced Care No-Fault Insurance Program
How Much Will I Save?
Since no-fault insurance helps pay medical bills for covered individuals who are injured in an MVA, regardless of who caused the accident, ICBC states that lawyers and associated legal costs are largely removed from the equation. This will reduce their costs (by more than $1.5 billion/year) with much of the savings being passed on to you – the policyholder. The new legislation is expected to reduce ICBC insurance premiums by an estimated 20 percent which is, on average, approximately $400 in savings per year, per driver. You can learn how much you will save with their online savings estimator. (Have your licence plate number and driver’s licence handy.)
How Will I Receive a Refund?
If your current policy extends past May 1, 2021 you may be wondering if you will be left out of the cost savings this year. The 20 percent (average) discount may make a difference to your household’s bottom line, especially when coming out of a recession. The good news is that many British Columbians will be eligible for a pro-rated refund based on how long your existing policy extends beyond May 1st. Refunds for the majority of eligible customers will be processed from mid-May through to July 2021 and will be sent to you based on how you paid for your insurance. You do not need to apply to receive it.
What Kind of Care Can I Receive?
ICBC is increasing care and treatment benefits for BC residents injured in an MVA. With Enhanced Care, there will be no maximum overall limit to your care and recovery benefits. And, new and extended benefits will provide care for those most seriously injured, for as long as treatment is required. This increases access to care, such as chiropractic treatment, physiotherapy, massage therapy, occupational therapy, counselling, dental care, medication, and medical devices or equipment. Not only will you see a discount on premiums, you will gain access to better care if you need it, for as long as you need it (no cap on timeline).
What About Lost Income If I Can’t Work?
Enhanced Care will provide improved income replacement benefits with a higher maximum income limit. If you’re unable to work due to an injury, you’ll receive 90% of your net income up to a maximum of $100,000 gross annual income – significantly more than the maximum limit today. And these benefits will be available to you for as long as your injuries prevent you from returning to work. They have also indicated new benefits for full-time students, caregivers, those working in the family business or those approaching retirement, who suffer from a loss of income following an MVA.
What is Income Top-Up?
Those who earn more than $100,000 per year can choose to purchase additional coverage to top-up the amount of income replacement provided. You can purchase coverage in $10,000 increments, up to an additional $100,000 above the basic income replacement benefit. The income top-up policy is a good option if you don’t have any other income replacement plan (such as enhanced benefits through your employer) as ICBC will be the second payer of income replacement benefits after other plans you may have. You will not need to show proof of income when you purchase the income top-up product – that will only be required when you submit a claim. Contact Park Insurance today to learn more about this new optional policy.
Please note: Enhanced Care coverage automatically takes effect on May 1, 2021, for all British Columbians. So, if you feel you’ll need additional coverage above the basic income replacement benefit, please contact us today to secure income top-up coverage.
Can I Still Sue if I Get Hurt in a Motor Vehicle Accident?
Autoplan customers who wish to dispute a claim regarding benefit payments or other concerns still have recourse through the following channels:
- Civil Resolution Tribunal (independent of ICBC)
- B.C. Ombudsperson
- Independent ICBC fairness officer (to be appointed by government this year)
There will still be some scenarios where taking legal action against a dangerous driver or negligent party (such as impaired driving) is possible, however the high costs associated with our current litigation-based system will largely be removed.
It is also important to note that “no-fault” does not mean “no responsibility”. When a crash occurs, ICBC will continue to determine who was responsible so it can go on that driver’s record and factor into the premiums they pay. So individuals who cause a crash, will still be held accountable for it through higher premiums.
Sounds Good, But What Do I Do Now?
With big changes approaching, it is a good time to review your coverage. For example, in addition to basic coverage, ICBC provides optional automobile insurance. You may also purchase optional coverage through private insurers. Park Insurance offers access to both options. Examples of what optional coverage can provide includes the following (and more):
- Specified Perils
- Extended Third-Party Legal Liability
- Loss of Use
View more about what may be covered with more comprehensive automobile insurance. More importantly, speak with an independent broker at Park Insurance to discuss how the ICBC Enhanced Care program will impact you. Contact us today.