ICBC takes further steps to reduce financial burden for drivers during pandemic

April 16, 2020

ICBC, in partnership with the Government of B.C., is making further changes to help ease the financial hardship customers are experiencing during the COVID-19 pandemic.

For customers needing more relief than the 90-day payment deferral, ICBC will be waiving the $30 cancellation fee and $18 re-plating fee for those people who choose to cancel their insurance during this time. The cancellation fee change is subject to the approval of the BC Utilities Commission (BCUC). Customers will be required to remove the plate from their vehicle while it is not insured and the vehicle must be kept off the road.

Customers who reinsure May 31st* or thereafter will be able to re-use their plate. Customers reinsuring prior to that date will be issued a new plate at no charge and at that time are expected to surrender their plate.

ICBC will also allow fleet vehicle customers to suspend their insurance to help them save money during this difficult time.  

People whose learner driver's licences (class 5-8) expire during the pandemic will not have to pay a fee for their first knowledge test after their learner driver's licence expires, once testing resumes.

As part of the changes, ICBC is also confirming that customers will be able to use their vehicles for the delivery of food or medical products and services, without changing their insurance (vehicle use) or paying a higher premium. This includes people volunteering to help deliver groceries or other essential supplies to seniors and other people in need.

"We know many British Columbians are facing financial challenges as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic," said Nicolas Jimenez, president and CEO of ICBC. "Businesses are also having to adapt to the situation, with many companies changing their business model to offer delivery services so people can access the food and medical products they need while physical distancing. ICBC is responding to these needs and taking action to ease the burden for everyone during this difficult time."  

Customers are encouraged to call their broker about changing their coverage and lowering their premium to reflect changes in how much they drive and the related risk – it can be done easily over the phone at no charge. This is available to personal and commercial customers and many have already taken advantage of it. Customers who are interested in cancelling their insurance should also speak to their broker to ensure they have appropriate storage coverage for their vehicle while it remains not in use, for example, to cover potential break-ins or weather damage.

"These changes will provide some relief to customers during this challenging time, and brokers are there to assist British Columbians in adapting their insurance to meet their changing needs," said Chuck Byrne, Insurance Brokers Association of B.C.

Changes to cancellation fees, suspension of fleet vehicle insurance and the allowance of deliveries by drivers in non-delivery rate classes are in effect upon interim approval by the BC Utilities Commission. ICBC has submitted an application to the BCUC and an interim decision is expected shortly.

ICBC has already implemented several other measures to help British Columbians during the pandemic, such as:

  • establishing the ability to conduct a number of transactions by phone or email, such as renewing driver's licences set to expire, and renewing insurance; and

  • allowing customers who pay for their insurance on a monthly basis to defer payments for up to 90 days with no penalty.

ICBC continues to review its operations to support the safety and well-being of its customers and employees, and will make additional changes as necessary.

For additional measures taken during COVID-19:

*Editor's note: We've updated this news release. Customers who reinsure on May 31 or thereafter (not May 30) will be able to re-use their licence plates.

Media contact:

Brent Shearer