Curious what it might cost to add your spouse, brother, mother or friend to your car insurance policy?
A new online estimation tool that went live this week helps those who are due to renew their insurance make that calculation.
On Sept. 1, the Insurance Corp. of B.C., from which all drivers must purchase their basic vehicle insurance, will move to an insurance model that is based on driver risk, and puts more weight on driving experience and crash history.
The biggest change for those who are renewing their insurance after that date will be listing the people who will drive their car regularly, a move that is meant to ensure that at-fault crashes follow the driver, not the vehicle owner.
“They can actually use the tool to add drivers and get a quote for their policy, and see what impact adding drivers will have on their premium,” said Tyler McGilvery, business process adviser for ICBC.
To get an estimate, the vehicle owner must enter information from their driver’s licence number and a licence plate number on the landing page. The next screen lists their policy, vehicle information and renewal date, and they can go from there to estimate their renewal cost.
The third screen lists their vehicle and insurance information, and the name of the primary driver. This is where they can begin to experiment with adding and removing other regular drivers — such as members of their household or employees — and see how those people will affect their premium.
Most of the basic insurance premium (75 per cent) is based on the principal driver, and of the other listed drivers, the one with the highest level of risk will make up the remaining 25 per cent.
Learner drivers can only be added in person at a broker’s office, and will be covered by a special premium that will range from $130 to $230 a year, depending on where the vehicle owner lives. They will not affect the vehicle owner’s premium or discounts.
Out-of-province drivers will also have to be added at the time of renewal.
“This tool is meant for customers to kind of get a sense of what effect adding drivers might have — it doesn’t cover every possible scenario,” McGilvery said.
To add a driver, the vehicle owner needs to provide that person’s birthdate and driver’s licence number. The tool provides estimates for both basic and optional insurance.
Any information saved in the estimator tool about listed drivers can be seen by a broker and used during renewal.
Rate changes for optional insurance will be similar to those under the basic insurance, where frequent or serious driving convictions will be factored into premiums for collision and extended third-party liability coverage.
Two new discounts — for vehicles with factory-installed autonomous emergency braking and vehicles driven fewer than 5,000 kilometres per year — are not applied in the estimator tool, but all discounts that were on the policy previously are factored into the premium.
Customers also cannot change coverage in the tool, only get estimates based on existing coverage.
The estimation tool can only be used by someone whose insurance expires in 44 days or less. McGilvery said 44 days in advance of expiry is when ICBC gathers all available information and produces a quote.
“Prior to that, there’s not a quote created. Brokers cannot give a policy quote until that quote has been created,” he said.
Anyone hoping to shop around before they are due to renew can use an interactive educational tool that is already online, though it will only provide a rough estimate for basic insurance.
“It’s not tailored to each individual customer, so it’s a more hypothetical approach, where you can choose existing driver profiles, but it’s not actually using your policy and your vehicle information,” McGilvery said.
Renewals must be done at a broker’s office. The new tool can be found at icbc.com/change.
According to ICBC’s records of Aug. 20, those renewing under the new rules have paid an average of $72 less than they did last time they renewed. Out of 14,951 transactions, 6,483 paid more money for insurance, and the average increase was $205. Premiums decreased an average of $287 for 8,406 people. Sixty-two people saw no change.
Overall, ICBC expects that 55 per cent of its full-coverage customers — those who get both basic and optional insurance through ICBC — will pay less, and three-quarters of those people will save $200 or less. For those paying more, most will see an increase of up to $200.
“The model is working the way it was intended — higher risk drivers are paying more for the benefit of lower risk drivers,” said ICBC spokesperson Lindsay Wilkins.
B.C.’s Ombudsperson is reminding drivers that his office can investigate complaints about ICBC if people feel they are treated unfairly.
“Vehicle owners should take a close look at their next insurance policy to ensure the information being considered by ICBC in determining their renewal rate, such as accident history, is accurate,” said Ombudsperson Jay Chalke.
“We recommend that vehicle owners try to solve their problems directly with ICBC and its agents first, but if they still believe they have been treated unfairly, our investigators may be able to look more closely at individual complaints.”
— With a file from the Times Colonist