How ICBC Claims Work
Wondering how ICBC claims work? ICBC collision claims are relevant if you have been involved in a crash with another vehicle, if you’ve experienced a hit-and-run, or if you’ve hit an object that caused damage to your vehicle. In this epic article, we will discuss collision as well as comprehensive claims.
ICBC collision coverage
ICBC Collision coverage is an optional coverage that is available. If you purchased this, then most (or all) of your vehicle’s repair costs are covered when you have a collision. If you’re responsible for a crash and cause damage to someone else’s vehicle, their ICBC Basic insurance will cover the repairs to their vehicle. You can also get collision and comprehensive insurance from alternative sources.
How ICBC Claims Work – Steps in an ICBC Collision Claim
Step 1: You need to report your claim – by phone or online 24/7
Report your collision claim online or by phone. If you’ve been injured in your collision, you will be asked for more details about your injuries when you report your claim. If you have a police file number, make sure to get that ready when you report your claim because you will probably need it.
To help speed up your claim, include:
- The name and address of your preferred or nearest repair facility if the vehicle is not driveable
- Police file number if you have one
What you need to report your ICBC claim:
- License plate numbers of each vehicle involved in the crash
- The driver’s license number of every driver involved in the crash
- Insurance information for any vehicles that are not insured by ICBC
- Details such as the location, the time of the collision, and the direction you were traveling in
For hit-and-run claims
Obviously, you probably won’t have much information for a hit-and-run claim. In those cases, you’ll only need your driver’s license number and your vehicle’s license plate number.
Who can report a claim online:
You can report vehicle damage or emergency roadside expenses online if you are a:
- Registered owner of a personal vehicle
- The registered lessee of a personal vehicle
- The principal driver of a personal vehicle
Who can report a claim by phone:
For all other claims not involving your personal vehicle, you’ll need to call ICBC on the telephone. For example, if you are:
- A passenger in a vehicle
- An owner of a commercial vehicle
- A lessee of a commercial vehicle
- Reporting damage to property
Report your claim contact info
- Report your claim online
- Report your claim call Toll-free: 1-800-910-4222
- Report your claim call in the Lower Mainland: 604-520-8222
If it’s only one piece of glass is damaged and there is no other damage to your vehicle, then you can go directly to an “ICBC Glass Repair Network” facility. You can search to find a local ICBC Glass Repair Network facility with this link.
If you have a larger glass claim, call ICBC:
Making a witness report
You can submit a witness report online 24/7 if you have witnessed:
- A crash
- A hit and run
Step 2: An ICBC claims representative will be assigned to your claim
The purpose of the ICBC claims representative is to gather information; as much information as possible about the crash. This includes things like reviewing the claim details and considering the road rules and laws as per the British Columbia Motor Vehicle Act, which you can read online. The claim representative might also consult with various other resources, such as previous court cases to see what the judge ruled. They might use other investigation tools.
The other job of the ICBC claims representative is to determine responsibility. Of course, this is also known as “fault” or “liability” for the crash. Your claims representative should always keep you updated on your claim.
How ICBC will determine fault/responsibility
To determine responsibility, ICBC will basically collect information. Your claims representative will also gather statements from any witnesses, other drivers, and any potential passengers.
Your ICBC claim representative might also:
- Read police reports (if any)
- Consult with the vehicle estimator who took an assessment of the vehicle damage
- Review the rules of the road as per the British Columbia Motor Vehicle Act
- Review past court decisions for similar crashes
- Witness statements
ICBC will send you a letter that will let you know if you have been found partially responsible, fully responsible, or not at all responsible for the crash. Check out this ICBC page of some common crash examples to see who was found at fault.
How to dispute your ICBC fault assessment
If you disagree with your ICBC fault assessment, the first thing to do is to talk to your claims representative. You can ask questions about exactly how the assessment was determined. If you didn’t receive your fault assessment, again, speak with your representative.
If you still disagree with the assessment of fault for your collision, you can then request a secondary review. Email email@example.com to ask for this.
After ICBC receives your request, they will review the responsibility assessment made about your claim. Then, they will speak with you to discuss the decision. You should also receive a detailed responsibility assessment in writing for your records.
To be eligible for a secondary review, make sure to submit your request within 90 days of the date of your notification of responsibility/assessment.
File a dispute with the Civil Resolution Tribunal
If you’re still unhappy with the responsibility assessment made by ICBC, you can file a dispute with the British Columbia Civil Resolution Tribunal. You have 90 days from the date of the detailed responsibility assessment to file a dispute.
The Civil Resolution Tribunal (CRT) is available to resolve responsibility assessment disputes when a monetary loss is involved for claims up to $5,000. The CRT is independent of ICBC. It can help to resolve disputes without the need for legal representation.
Dispute your claim in court
If you do not wish to file a dispute with the CRT, you can also dispute your responsibility assessment in small claims court. This works for claims between $5,000-$35,000. Or you can file in the BC Supreme Court for any claim amount.
Supreme Court cases might take a long time; many years to resolve. The court will have the final decision.
Step 3: Get an estimate of the damage
When you make your claim, ICBC will let you know where you can get the estimate done. It will be either at an ICBC Repair Network Facility or an ICBC claim center.
After assessing and examining the damage to your vehicle, the estimator will write up an estimate of the repairs needed. This will include the cost of repairs. Then, repairs are completed according to the estimate.
Getting an estimate at a repair shop
Some repair facilities are accredited by ICBC. These are also known as “ICBC Repair Network facilities.” These shops are able to estimate and repair your vehicle in cases where you don’t necessarily need to take your vehicle directly to ICBC for an assessment.
For some circumstances, you will be required to bring your car to a local ICBC Claim Centre first, before the vehicle can proceed to the repair facility. You can choose the repair facility.
Repairs are guaranteed for as long as you own your vehicle
As long as you use an ICBC-accredited repair shop, the vehicle repairs for the damages caused by the crash are guaranteed for as long as you own your vehicle.
Non-accredited repair shops
If you wish, you can alternatively take your vehicle to a repair shop that has not been accredited by ICBC. In that case, just be sure to ask the facility about repair warranties and/or guarantees. It may or may not offer the same guarantee.
Questions about repairs
After you’ve taken your vehicle to a repair shop for the initial estimate, be sure to contact that shop for any questions you may have about your vehicle. You can continue to keep in contact with ICBC regarding questions about insurance, responsibility, and deductible information.
Payment for vehicle repairs at accredited shops
In most cases, ICBC will pay accredited shops directly for the estimated repair work to your vehicle. When repairs are complete, you might have to pay a deductible to the shop. There’s also a chance you may also have to pay for depreciation. This would apply to possibly some parts and/or labor that are subject to normal wear and tear.
Payment for vehicle repairs at non-accredited shops
If you opt to take your car to a repair shop that isn’t accredited by ICBC, then things are a little different. You’ll need to pay the shop for the repairs directly, and then submit your receipts to ICBC for reimbursement. If you set up direct deposit with ICBC, you may be able to receive reimbursement for your claims more quickly, compared to waiting for snail mail.
If your vehicle is a “write-off“
If it is not economical to repair the vehicle, it may be deemed a write-off. This usually means that the cost of the repairs is more than the vehicle is worth. This is sometimes also called a “total loss.”
In that case, you’ll receive a settlement. ICBC will generally pay an amount based on the vehicle’s value at the time the incident occurred.
To make a write-off decision, the ICBC estimator will:
- Estimate your vehicle’s repair cost, and then
- Calculate the vehicle’s actual cash value at the time of the incident less its value as salvage
Any vehicle will be written off when the cost of repairing it would be more than the “actual cash value (ACV)” of the vehicle.
ICBC write-off agreement
If your vehicle is going to be “written off,” your ICBC claims adjuster will probably ask you to sign a form known as a Write-off Agreement.
This form authorizes ICBC to:
- Tow the vehicle
- Dispose of the vehicle
- Sell the vehicle for salvage (for example, for parts)
The vehicle might be sold before the claim has been settled. But, this won’t affect your settlement amount. Your ICBC adjuster will go through and explain this agreement to you.
Actual cash value (ACV) of a vehicle
The ACV or actual cash value is equal to the current market value. In other words, what your vehicle would have been sold for in your local market just before the damage or incident occurred.
How ICBC will determine a vehicle’s value
To help ICBC determine the ACV, they use Mitchell International. It is a third-party company.
Mitchell International will research the market area. They find comparable vehicles that have either been sold or have been listed for sale. They also review ads from various online sources as well as dealer quotes if that is applicable.
Some of the criteria commonly used to determine a vehicle’s market value include:
- The year of the vehicle
- The Make and Model of the vehicle
- Average mileage
- The condition of the vehicle
- Vehicle features
The deductible on written-off vehicles
If your vehicle is going to be written off, you might still have to pay a deductible. If the claim resulted from a crash, and you were not at fault, the deductible might be waived or reimbursed.
Keeping your vehicle after a write-off
Generally speaking, ICBC won’t allow you to keep your vehicle if it’s written off. If there are some kind of extraordinary circumstances, you may be able to talk about owner retention with a material damage estimator.
The vehicle will then be branded either Dismantle Parts Only (DPO) or Salvage.
Options to dispute your “write-off” settlement
Talk to your ICBC claim representative if you have questions about the whole settlement process.
Requesting the manager’s review
If your claim is covered by your Autoplan Collision insurance, Specified Perils insurance, or Comprehensive insurance and you’re unable to reach an agreement with your ICBC claim representative, you can request a review. This will be done by one of ICBC’s supervisors or managers.
If it still isn’t resolved after that process, it must then be resolved by arbitration. In other words, a form of dispute resolution by a third party, a specially appointed arbitrator. You (or ICBC) can apply to the ADR Institute of BC.
Canceling or transferring your insurance after a write-off
After your vehicle is written off, you will need to cancel your insurance policy. Or you may be able to transfer your insurance policy to a different vehicle. Contact the ICBC Autoplan broker of your choice to discuss the various options.
Step 4: Proceed to get your vehicle fixed
You can get your vehicle fixed at a repair shop that you choose. If you go with an ICBC-accredited facility, the repairs will be guaranteed for as long as you own your vehicle.
Step 5: Pay a deductible (if required)
For most shops, ICBC pays directly for the estimated repair work. When the repairs are finished, you may then have to pay a deductible directly to the shop.
To check the details of existing ICBC claims and add supporting documents, sign in online
If you’ve already reported an ICBC claim, you can sign in online to check some details and you can also upload supporting documents.
If you’re an owner, lessee or principal driver of a personal vehicle, you can sign in with your:
- B.C. license plate number
- B.C. driver’s license details
If you’re a passenger, pedestrian, cyclist, non-BC motorist with vehicle damage or property owner, you can sign in with your:
- ICBC claim number
- B.C. driver’s license
- B.C. Services Card
- B.C. identification card
Once signed in, you can view:
- Assessed responsibility: The amount of responsibility assigned when there has been a collision
- Deductible: The deductible is the monetary amount you have to pay toward the vehicle repairs (before your insurance will cover the rest)
- Your ICBC claim representative’s information: This includes the name and phone number of the claim representative who is assigned to your claim
- The current location of your vehicle if it’s not driveable: Common examples include the tow yard, a repair shop, or an ICBC facility where your vehicle is currently located
- Details about your ICBC insurance coverage at the date of the crash or incident
You can add supporting documents
When you sign in, you can upload documents related to your claim, like:
- Video footage of the incident
- Receipts for expenses
- ICBC documentation that may have been requested by your ICBC claims representative
Note that it might take a few business days for an ICBC claim representative to review your uploaded documents, videos and photos. They’ll be sure to contact you if they have any questions.
Will you have to pay more for insurance after a crash?
If you’re more than 25% at fault for a crash, you will probably have to pay more for insurance the next time you renew or purchase insurance. The only exception is if you have a long, claim-free record.
Collisions may also impact premiums where you are a listed driver. The costs for any optional ICBC insurance you have (collision, comprehensive) might go up. Generally speaking, the more crashes you are responsible for, the more you will have to pay in insurance.
Comprehensive coverage claims
Comprehensive insurance coverage is to cover non-collision damages that can happen in a variety of different ways. This is an optional insurance, and can also be bought from private companies other than ICBC. Check out our article on ICBC vs. private insurance.
A few examples of the types of events that comprehensive insurance can cover are vehicle break-ins, a chipped windshield, and trees falling onto your car. Comprehensive coverage helps offset the costs of these kinds of damages. Submitting a comprehensive insurance claim won’t affect your insurance premiums.
What does comprehensive cover?
ICBC Comprehensive insurance covers loss or damage to your vehicle from the following:
- Falling or flying objects like rocks or gravel hitting your windshield
- Hitting a domestic animal (dog, for example)
- Hitting a wild animal (deer, elk, moose, caribou, etc.)
- Rising water
Glass and windshield comprehensive claims
If your windshield has been damaged or chipped, such as from a flying rock on the highway, ICBC can help in processing a windshield repair or glass replacement claim. These are covered under comprehensive insurance.
ICBC-approved glass repair program facilities
If you take your vehicle to an ICBC-approved glass repair program facility, the facility:
- Will be able to initiate and process your glass/windshield claim
- Repair the windshield if they are able
- Replace the windshield if it can not be repaired
- Invoice ICBC directly for the cost of the repairs
- Collect the deductible and any applicable taxes from you (if applicable)
- Ensure that the claim form is signed
- Provide a limited glass replacement warranty
If you take your vehicle to a non-ICBC accredited supplier, you will have to:
- Report the claim to ICBC directly and get a glass claim number
- Pay the facility in full for the repairs
- Take photos of the damage and the glass replacement
- Submit the photos, and the repair invoice, including parts and services from the facility’s supplier to ICBC via firstname.lastname@example.org for reimbursement consideration
You can learn more about the differences between the ICBC-approved and non-approved facilities in the Glass Claims Information Sheet.
Can your windshield be repaired?
As a few general guidelines, comprehensive coverage includes free windshield repairs when:
- The damage is smaller than a loonie
- The repair leaves no residual damage greater than ¼ inch in the driver’s line of vision
- The damage isn’t a long crack
- There isn’t pre-existing damage (like a long crack) that doesn’t qualify for repair
- Windshields must be in accordance with the BC Motor Vehicle Act
- Check with your glass repair facility to find out if the damage is safe and appropriate to repair, or if it needs to be replaced altogether
Payments and deductibles for ICBC glass claims
If you go with one of the many ICBC-approved Glass Repair Program facilities, the shop will be able to invoice ICBC directly. You generally will not have to pay a deductible for your windshield repair… unless you need a replacement for a damaged windshield that can’t be repaired.
The deductible is the amount you have to pay. You can check with your comprehensive coverage on your vehicle’s insurance policy to find out what your deductible will be.
Examples of how comprehensive coverage can help
- If someone broke into your car and stole your stereo and broke the locks on your car door(s), comprehensive coverage would replace the stereo and repair the other damage the thief caused
- If you were driving home and a deer ran in front of your car and you crashed into it, comprehensive insurance would cover the repairs
- If your windshield was chipped by a flying rock while you were driving, the chip repair will be covered by ICBC comprehensive coverage and you wouldn’t have to pay a deductible