After a crash

When your vehicle can't be repaired

Last updated: November 2021

What is a "total loss"?

After you make a claim under your Autoplan Collision, Specified Perils or Comprehensive insurance, one of our estimators will carefully consider whether your vehicle is repairable.

To make this decision, we look at:

  • the cost of repairing your vehicle

  • the actual cash value of your vehicle

  • the salvage value of your vehicle.

If it's not economical to repair your vehicle, we consider the vehicle to be a total loss (or "writeoff").


We would declare your vehicle a total loss if the cost to fix it is more than the cost to replace it and recover some of the costs by selling it as salvage.

Here are some examples:

Total loss

Keep in mind that you may have to pay the deductible — the amount you owe for repairs or costs before your insurance kicks in to pay for the rest.

What does it cost to repair my vehicle?

Our estimators are trained to estimate the cost of repairing your vehicle by documenting all visible damage. The estimator will also consider the cost of hidden damage and the cost of a substitute rental vehicle (if authorized).

What is the actual cash value of my vehicle?

The actual cash value is the current market value — what your vehicle would've sold for in the local market just before the damage happened.

To determine the actual cash value, we do a complete inspection of your vehicle. Here's what is considered:

  • year, make and model

  • factory options

  • after-market equipment

  • odometer reading

  • condition of exterior, interior, mechanical and tires.

What is my vehicle's salvage value?

Our estimator will work out the estimated salvage value of your vehicle by looking at its year, make, model, condition and damage, and comparing it to similar ones which we've sold recently at our salvage auctions.

What happens to my vehicle if it's a total loss?

We will ask you to sign a salvage release form which transfers your vehicle from your name(s) to ICBC. This lets us sell the vehicle through a salvage auction.

This process supplies the majority of recycled parts used by the automobile repair industry in our province.

The proceeds from these salvage sales go back into our Autoplan fund to help keep rates low and stable for our customers.

How do I get my settlement?

One of our representatives will contact the vehicle owner(s) to present the actual cash value which has been assessed for the vehicle. A cheque in that amount will be made out to the registered vehicle owner(s) and any lien holder(s) — anyone with a financial interest in the vehicle, such as a bank, lease company or repair shop.

What if I don't agree with the settlement?

The current market value is what your vehicle would have sold for prior to the loss. Find out how we determine a vehicle's value.

If your claim is covered by your Autoplan Collision, Specified Perils or Comprehensive insurance and you're unable to reach an agreement with our representative, you can request a review by one of our supervisors or managers.

If this doesn't resolve the matter, it must be resolved by arbitration. Arbitration is a form of dispute resolution by a third party, specially appointed arbitrator. Either you or ICBC can apply to the ADR Institute of BC (external). Contact your claim representative or estimator for more information.

What is declared value?

Some of you who own specialized vehicles, such as motorcycles or trailers, insure them for amounts that you specify which can be more than market value. To ensure that your coverage is appropriate, it's a good idea to review your vehicle's declared value at least once a year to reflect market value, including applicable taxes and depreciation. Talk to your local Autoplan broker.

How can I determine the value of my vehicle?

Just as we research your vehicle's value, we encourage you to do the same. It's easy. Simply compare your vehicle with similar vehicles in your local classified ads or online.

Replacement Cost coverage for new vehicles

How can I protect my new car investment against a total loss?

Newer vehicles can depreciate quickly. If your car is stolen and unrecovered or a total loss, your insurance pays you based on the current market value of the vehicle. It doesn't cover depreciation or inflation, so your settlement could end up being much less than the cost of a new replacement vehicle.

The good news is you can purchase our Replacement Cost coverage to protect you from losses due to depreciation of your new or newer vehicle. You can also enhance your Replacement Cost coverage by buying our New Vehicle Replacement Plus. Ask your local ICBC Autoplan broker for details. It's well worth finding out before you have to deal with the consequences of a crash involving your new vehicle.

Cancelling your insurance and plates

How do I cancel if I have both my plates and insurance documents?

To cancel your insurance all you have to do is:

  • ensure that you have returned your rental or courtesy car

  • take your insurance policy and licence plates to your local Autoplan broker.

There, you'll be asked to:

  • surrender your plates and your insurance papers, and

  • provide your claim number and the date of loss.

(You also may have to pay a cancellation fee.)

If you qualify for a refund, we will mail you a cheque as soon as your broker has processed the cancellation.

If you owe us money, we will transfer your refund to your account as a debt payment.

If you paid your insurance with a credit card, the refund may be credited to the credit card used to pay for the initial transaction.

If you're paying for your insurance in monthly instalments, any refund will be applied to your payment plan, if any money is due.

What if my vehicle is jointly owned?

In order to cancel your coverage, signatures are required from both owners. That means both owners will have to go to a broker's office.

Does ICBC cancel my policy after a crash or total loss?

We don't automatically cancel your policy (or payment plan) after a crash or a total loss settlement. In order to cancel your insurance (or payment plan), go to an Autoplan broker with your licence plates and insurance papers. However, if you have a rental or substitute vehicle, please remember not to cancel your insurance or transfer your plates until after you've returned the vehicle.

What if I have a leased vehicle?

If your vehicle is leased, please contact your leasing company. The cancellation will have to be signed by an authorized representative.

If you qualify for a refund, we will make the cheque payable to you as well as the leasing company, and mail the refund cheque to the address shown on the registration.

Should I cancel my insurance if I'm looking for another car?

In some cases, it may be more cost-effective to transfer your existing policy to your new vehicle rather than cancelling. You should discuss your insurance needs and options with your local Autoplan broker.

How do I cancel if my plates are lost or stolen?

If your licence plates and insurance papers were stolen or destroyed in the loss, your broker will ask you for:

  • your claim number

  • the date of the loss

  • the police file number, and

  • the date a substitute vehicle was returned, if applicable (rental vehicle or courtesy car).

Lost or stolen licence plates must be reported to the police. However, if your plates are stolen with your vehicle, don't worry. The theft is already a matter of record with the police.

Can my cancellation be backdated?

If you used a substitute vehicle (rental vehicle or courtesy car), your broker will backdate the cancellation to the date you returned the substitute vehicle. If you didn't use a substitute vehicle, your broker can backdate the cancellation to the date of the loss, to a maximum of 45 days.

In order to backdate your cancellation, you must ensure you have returned the B.C. plates to us or your local Autoplan broker. If you carry optional coverage with a private insurer, your broker can backdate to the maximum 45 days as long as you provide a letter from the private insurer confirming:

  • the vehicle was a total loss

  • the date of loss

  • the date the vehicle was recovered, if applicable (for total loss due to theft)

  • the date a substitute vehicle was returned, if applicable

  • a copy of the police report.

Anything else I need to know?

  • Check with your adjuster to see if we can arrange to remove your personal belongings, insurance documents and licence plates from your vehicle.

  • If you've leased a vehicle, contact your leasing company to advise them it's a total loss. We will deal directly with the leasing company on the total loss settlement.

  • You can transfer your current Autoplan Collision, Comprehensive, Specified Perils, RoadStar or Roadside Plus coverage to a substitute vehicle you rent that doesn't weigh more than 5,000 kg GVW.

  • Once a total loss settlement has been presented to you and your rental vehicle has been returned, see your local Autoplan broker to transfer or cancel your insurance coverage.

  • Please note — if you're on our monthly payment plan, withdrawals will continue until you've cancelled your policy.

  • If you require further information, go to

Last updated: November 2021

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Last updated: November 2021