TOPPING UP: ARE YOU MAXIMIZING YOUR ICBC COVERAGE?May 4 2016
Legal-Ease by Doug Lester
Most of the articles I have written deal with claims against ICBC when the injured person is not at fault and is seeking damages. It is always a good idea to consult a lawyer in such situations. However, what many people don’t know is that even if you are at fault, you are probably entitled to some form of benefits anyway.
Basic ICBC coverage, which has to be purchased by every motorist in BC, includes medical, rehabilitation, death and wage loss benefits. These benefits are called “Part 7 or No-Fault Benefits” because they are available regardless of who was at fault in an accident.
The actual coverage for these benefits is set out in Part 7 of the Regulations to the Insurance (Motor Vehicle) Act. Generally, anyone injured or killed in a motor vehicle accident in BC is entitled to Part 7 benefits, regardless of whether they are at fault or not. It will also cover injuries sustained as a cyclist, a pedestrian or riding in a vehicle owned by someone else.
Part 7 wage benefits are calculated at 75 percent of average weekly earnings, with a maximum of $300 per week under the basic coverage. This means if you earn more than $20,800 per year, the maximum you will receive from ICBC for total temporary disability wage loss is $300 per week.
What very few people know, however, is that you can purchase a supplemental policy from ICBC described as “Income Replacement Policy Including Death Benefits”, also known as APV197. There are four options for coverage ranging in cost from $33 to $84 per year and it increases the amount you may receive weekly by $150 to $400. To maximize the coverage under this policy with the $84 option, you would need to earn at least $48,500 and would then receive the basic $300 plus the supplemental $400 per week.
This policy also increases the amount payable to a spouse or children in the event of a motor vehicle related death of the head of household. Under the basic coverage, ICBC will pay a maximum of $5,000 to the surviving spouse or children of the higher income earner. Depending on the option you select, this policy gives an additional $5,000 to $20,000 to surviving dependents.
While no one likes to think about being disabled or killed in a car crash, the reality is it happens to people in BC every day. Insurance is about peace of mind, and this policy offers a good value if you are self-employed or do not have access to an adequate disability plan, and earn anything over $21,000.
You can purchase the policy at any time, not just when renewing your insurance, and will not have to answer any questions related to your health. We encourage you to speak to your local ICBC insurance broker about whether this policy would be good for you.
If you are injured in an accident, and it’s not your fault, you should always seek legal advice to ensure you get any additional compensation to which you are entitled.
Doug is a partner with RDM Lawyers LLP in Abbotsford. He practices in the areas of personal injury law and labor and employment law. Comments about this article can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.