If you were recently involved in a motor vehicle accident in British Columbia, you might be concerned about how the incident may affect your insurance premiums. You should know that ICBC premiums do not always go up following an accident, it depends on who was at fault. And when insurance premiums do go up after a car accident, the increase will depend on your claim history.
Before we look at how an accident will affect your insurance premium, let’s look at how the ICBC determines your insurance premium to begin with.
Factors that influence ICBC insurance premiums
Several factors are considered by the ICBC to determine your insurance premium. These are:
- Vehicle use
The way you intend to use your vehicle will affect how much you will pay each month for auto insurance. The ICBC has a different rate category for each type of use.
Your address is another factor that is considered. Those who live in high-traffic, urban areas usually pay more than those who live in rural areas with fewer car accidents.
- Optional Coverages
If you want optional coverages as part of your insurance plan, then you will need to pay more for your insurance premium. The more coverages you add on, the higher your premium will be.
- Your deductible
When you purchase optional collision or comprehensive coverage, you must also select a deductible. In the event of an accident, the deductible is the amount that you will pay out of your pocket before the ICBC give you money for the rest of the damage. The lower your deductible is, the more you will pay for your ICBC premium.
The make and model of your vehicle, special features and the cost for repair may result in higher insurance premiums.
- Claim history
If you were at fault in an accident, you may see an increase in your auto insurance premium, even if you were partially at fault. For partial liability, you will only see an increase in your premium if you were found to be more than 25% responsible.
How does an accident affect your insurance rates?
An accident for which you were at fault increases your level on the ICBC’s claim-rated scale. This scale has levels which determine discounts and surcharges. Discounts go as high as 43% and surcharges go up to 205%.
A new driver starts at level 0 on this scale which corresponds with the base auto coverage rate. You will drop one level on the scale every year that you do not have an accident for which you were more than 25% at fault. If you do have an accident for which you share at least a quarter of the blame, you will move up a number of levels determined by your current level.
So, if you are not at fault in any accidents in your first year, you will move from level 0 to level -1. At level -1, you are entitled to a 5% discount. If after your first year, you are at fault in an accident, you will move up 6 levels to level 5. At level 5, you will be charged a 55% surcharge on your premium. If you go a year without an accident, you will move down 1 step to level 4 at which time the surcharge will be reduced to 40%.
If you share at least half the blame in three accidents in a year, you may be required to pay a multi-crash premium of $1000 in addition to your insurance premiums. Any other crash within three years would then carry a penalty of a $500 multi-crash premium.
There is a way to get around paying higher premiums in the event of an accident. If there was no significant damage to the vehicles in the accident, you do not have to make a claim with the ICBC. You can instead agree to pay the money out of pocket. This would only make sense, however, if the amount you will pay for the damage is less than the amount the increase in your premium would be.
How can a car accident lawyer help lower your insurance premium?
Since the ICBC increases your premium when you are found to be more than 25% at fault in an accident and adds additional charges when you’ve been found to be at least 50% responsible for multiple crashes, you may want to hire an ICBC car accident lawyer to help you prove that there were errors made by the ICBC in determining liability for the incidents.
An ICBC car accident lawyer will use eyewitness accounts, police reports and other evidence to show that you were not at fault and should not be subjected to increases in your ICBC premiums. If you were injured in the accident, an ICBC car accident lawyer may even help you to file a personal injury claim so you can be compensated for the pain and suffering you’ve had to endure.
If you are searching for an experienced ICBC car accident lawyer in Surrey, give us a call at Nirwan Law Corporation. At Nirwan Law Corporation, we will provide you with the highest quality legal representation and our legal fees are reasonable and affordable. So, what are you waiting for? Give us a call today to schedule a free legal consultation with our ICBC car accident lawyer. Let us show you how we can help.