B.C. government backs down on higher fees for occasional drivers

B.C. drivers won’t have to pay for more expensive insurance when they let someone else occasionally drive their vehicle, after the government backed away from a proposed change.

But the relief does not apply to families with young drivers.

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Attorney General David Eby said he has directed the Insurance Corp. of B.C. to alter some of the fees it was planning to implement in September when it changes how insurance premiums are calculated for all drivers.

One of the proposals would have seen motorists pay a new $50 annual fee on their basic auto insurance if they were going to let a friend or family member drive their vehicle fewer than 12 times a year, as well as list all the potential future drivers upfront with ICBC.

Many vehicle owner insurance premiums would likely have risen because ICBC would have used the highest-risk occasional driver to calculate 25 per cent of the premium for the vehicle, with the primary owner only accounting for the remaining 75 per cent of the rate.

Those who failed to buy the extra package could have faced financial penalties from ICBC worth thousands of dollars if someone was in a crash while driving their vehicle.

Public feedback to the idea was negative, Eby said on Tuesday.

“It was not popular, for obvious reasons,” he said. “I asked ICBC to have another look at it, and they’ve gotten rid of the charge so drivers won’t be facing that unless they’ve lent out their car and the person they lent the car to has had a collision. If they want to continue lending out the car they will have to buy the coverage.”

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