Care and coverages
Under Enhanced Care, if you’re hurt in a crash, you can have the peace of mind that you’ll get the care and recovery benefits you need, for as long as you need them.
There are also changes to how wage loss and vehicle damage are covered.
How are my benefits improving under Enhanced Care?
With Enhanced Care, there is no maximum overall limit to your care and recovery benefits, unlike the $300,000 maximum care allowance under the previous system. You will be able to access all the care you need, when you need it, for as long as you need it. These benefits are available whether or not you were responsible (at fault) for a crash.
Treatments like physiotherapy, chiropractic care and more will continue to be covered, as well as dental care, counselling, medical equipment and other support and services.
If you need them, you’ll be covered for household support or personal care during your recovery, to higher limits than before. New and extended benefits are available for anyone who has a serious and life-altering injury after a crash.
If you have to miss work because of your injuries, you’ll have access to 90 per cent of your net income in wage loss benefits based on a maximum of up to $100,000 in gross income – a significant increase to the maximum limit under the former system. If you earn more than $100,000 in gross income per year, you have the option to purchase additional coverage to increase your wage loss payments.
If you’re a student or family caregiver, you’ll also have access to new benefits to cover time lost from studies or increased expenses. If you’re receiving income replacement and reach retirement age, a new retirement income benefit is available.
Whether you’re a driver, passenger, pedestrian or cyclist, you're covered if you’re injured in a crash anywhere in Canada or the U.S.
With Enhanced Care, you have among the most generous auto insurance coverage in Canada, exceeding what is available in most other provinces.
Here's an example
Taking care of you after a crash
Ming, 22, was turning at an intersection when he was hit by an oncoming driver. He had to take three months off from work and his university studies to recover from his injuries.
Ming’s Enhanced Care coverage pays for the physiotherapy, dental care, personal care assistance and counselling he needs to help him recover.
He’ll receive 90 per cent of his net income every week so he won’t have to worry about how he’ll pay his bills while off work. And Ming will also receive compensation for the semester at university that he missed, one of the new benefits to help students and others who lose time from their normal activities due to a crash.
Because his Enhanced Care benefits provide what he needs, he won’t have to consider taking legal action to feel he's getting the necessary care or compensation like he would in the previous system – and can focus on his recovery.
What are my benefits under Enhanced Care?
The benefits under Enhanced Care coverage are available to all British Columbians whether you are a driver, passenger, cyclist or pedestrian, regardless of whether you caused the crash or not, because everyone deserves the care they need to get better.
Medical care and rehabilitation (increased) – there is no maximum limit for your medical care and rehabilitation expenses, unlike the previous maximum of $300,000 over your lifetime. That means you’ll get all the care you need, when you need it, for as long as you need it.
This covers things like:
treatments such as physiotherapy, chiropractic care and massage therapy
support and services like occupational therapy, counselling, dental care, medication, and medical devices or equipment
alterations to your vehicle or home such as a ramp, stair lift or bathroom alterations
travel and accommodation expenses when you need to travel out of town for medical or rehabilitation appointments
Having no limit to the overall care and recovery benefits available under Enhanced Care is especially important if you are seriously injured and your care needs are likely to last much longer, and if your injury impacts your daily life.
Income replacement benefits (increased) – if you’re unable to work due to your injury, you’ll receive 90 per cent of your net income in wage loss benefits (based on a maximum gross annual insurable income of up to $100,000). People who earn more than $100,000 in gross annual income will be able to purchase additional optional coverage to top-up their income replacement while they are unable to work.
There are also new benefits to support students, minors, or people who run a family business and cannot study or fulfill their usual family business activities due to injuries from a crash. If you’re receiving income replacement and reach retirement age, a new retirement income benefit will be available.
Caregiver benefits (new) - a new benefit if you’re a family caregiver and your injury prevents you from fulfilling your regular caregiving duties. This weekly benefit starts at $580 for full-time caregivers, and increases depending on how many people you care for.
Personal care assistance (increased) – up to approximately $5,000 per month, with more for severe or life-altering injuries, including those that require 24/7 care. This benefit helps with activities of daily living such as bathing, dressing, eating, meal preparation and house cleaning.
Death benefits (increased) – in the case of a death, the amount your spouse receives will range from $66,000–$500,000 depending on factors such as the deceased’s age and annual income. Benefits available for the deceased’s dependants have also increased significantly. Funding is also available to pay for up to $9,000 for funeral costs.
Grief counselling (new) – this new benefit helps pay up to $3,800 in counselling expenses for your grieving family members in the event of a fatal accident.
What are the additional benefits for the most seriously injured?
New and expanded benefits, in addition to the overall care and recovery allowance, are available to anyone with a permanent or life-altering injury after a crash. Life-altering injuries are those that cause permanent and severe impairment impacting daily life, such as a spinal cord injury that leads to paraplegia.
Permanent impairment compensation (new) - This benefit provides financial compensation of approximately $265,000 for those catastrophically injured in a crash. Those with serious, but non-catastrophic, permanent injuries could also be eligible for some compensation under this benefit.
Personal care assistance (increased) - up to $6,000 per month for the severely injured and $10,000* per month for those requiring 24/7 care.
Recreational benefit (new) – if the crash led to a permanent impairment, this new benefit helps you participate in recreational or leisure activities for which you now need extra support. The maximum amount that can be reimbursed is $4,000 every two years, depending on the severity of the injury.
What are the changes to income replacement benefits?
Enhanced Care provides much improved income replacement benefits compared to the former system, with a higher maximum income limit.
If you’re unable to work due to an injury, you’ll receive 90 per cent of your net income up to a maximum of $100,000 gross annual income – a significant increase to the maximum limit previously. And you’ll receive these benefits for as long as your injuries prevent you from returning to work.
Those who earn more than $100,000 per year can choose to purchase additional coverage to top-up the amount of income replacement provided, up to a maximum of $200,000 in gross annual income. Talk to your broker about Income Top-up coverage.
If your lifetime earning capacity is affected
Under the old system, if the injury caused a serious or permanent impairment that limited your future earning potential, you could seek additional compensation through legal action, but only if you were not responsible for the crash. You would be paid out for your future wage loss as part of your settlement, and one-third of the settlement would go to your lawyer.
Under Enhanced Care, you will receive 90 per cent of your net, pre-collision income in tax-free, regular installments, whether or not you were responsible for the crash. Those amounts will increase by the rate of inflation every year, and upon reaching age 65, you'll be eligible for retirement benefits from ICBC, because Enhanced Care is a system designed to support you over a lifetime.
If you’re able to return to work but your injuries prevent you from going back to the same kind of role, ICBC can provide services to help you find a new job that matches your abilities. If that new role pays less than your job prior to the crash, ICBC will continue to top up your income replacement to 90 per cent of your pre-collision net income.
Here's an example
Compensation for lost earning potential
Andy, 25, earns $40,000 per year in his current office administrative job. He was catastrophically injured in a car crash and is unable to work again. The driver that caused the accident has $2 million in liability coverage.
Under the old system, Andy could have sued the at-fault driver and get paid out the full $2 million in coverage the other driver has. However, of that amount, Andy’s lawyer would take about a third as their fee and other legal costs could also be deducted. Andy would have been left with around $1.3 million to cover his future wage loss. This would not be enough to last Andy’s lifetime.
Under Enhanced Care, Andy will get 90 per cent of his net income every year and this amount will be indexed for inflation annually, so his yearly income replacement will continue to increase over time. He’ll also receive a permanent impairment benefit (cash compensation) of about $265,000. When he turns 65, he will be eligible for retirement income benefits from ICBC. In total, Andy’s compensation under Enhanced Care is likely to far exceed his compensation under the old system.
On top of this, Andy will receive all the care and recovery benefits he needs over his lifetime, without having to worry about reaching the previous care maximum of $300,000.
What if you are at fault for the crash?
Under Enhanced Care, all British Columbians have access to the same care and recovery benefits, even if you are responsible (at fault) for a crash. Whether or not you’ve caused a crash, your health is important and you deserve access to all the care you need to get better.
Fault still matters
Just like before, when a crash occurs, ICBC will determine who was responsible so it can go on that driver’s record and factor into the premiums they pay. So if you caused the crash, you will be held accountable for it through higher premiums.
Dangerous drivers will still face serious consequences. For example, if you are convicted of certain Criminal Code offences (such as impaired driving), in addition to the penalties that come with the conviction itself, you could still be sued by the other party in a civil claim for certain damages. Criminal Code convictions may also prevent you from receiving some Enhanced Care benefits. Other consequences for those who repeatedly cause crashes or receive driving violation tickets, under both the Driver Penalty Point and Driver Risk Premium programs, continue to apply.
Everyone gets the care they need
We know that people don’t intend to cause crashes and that accidents happen. So if you have one bad day on the road and cause a crash, Enhanced Care coverage makes sure all those involved get the care they need.
Here's an example
One bad day on the road
Sam, 32, has never been in a crash before. But then he has one bad day on the road, causing a crash while passing a vehicle too quickly. Sam and the two people in the other car, Shareen and Raj, all suffer injuries, and there is damage to both vehicles.
Shareen and Raj have their medical and rehabilitation expenses covered by their Enhanced Care benefits, as well as their wage loss while they’re off work for a month. Shareen and Raj don’t have to wait months for a court decision or settlement to compensate them for lost income, as in the old system when they likely would have chosen to take legal action.
Because Sam is responsible for the crash, it will show on his driving record and his premiums will go up. However, anyone can have a bad day on the road and under Enhanced Care he doesn’t need to worry about being sued for that mistake, or running out of the medical and recovery benefits he needs to deal with his injuries. He'll receive all of the care and treatments he needs to get better, plus wage-loss payments for as long as he can’t work.
What if I have a serious or life-altering injury and need long-term care?
Sometimes care is needed for a lifetime after a crash. Enhanced Care makes sure the most seriously injured people get the care and support they need for as long as they need it.
Your primary care provider (family doctor or nurse practitioner) will be chosen by you, not ICBC. They will direct your care, working with you and your healthcare team, including physiotherapists, chiropractors, occupational therapists and others. ICBC staff will work together with them to help ensure the best possible recovery for you.
If you have life-changing injuries, you won’t have to try to live off of a one-time settlement, like under the old system, or worry about reaching the previous care limit of $300,000. As your needs change over time, ICBC will work with your healthcare provider to ensure you get care and support as you need it.
Here's an example
Benefits for as long as you need them
Andrea, 45, was a passenger in a serious car accident and sustained life-altering injuries. She’s unable to continue her career as a teacher and, to live with her injuries, now requires adaptations to her home and regular personal assistance.
Andrea’s family doctor assesses her needs and directs Andrea’s care, while ICBC’s recovery specialist provides advice on the benefits available and supports her medical team in accessing them. They work together with Andrea’s occupational therapist, physiotherapist, social worker and counsellor to make sure she gets the treatment, care and support she needs.
Under Enhanced Care, Andrea’s personal care benefit covers the care provider who visits her daily. Renovations to her home, such as installing a chair lift, are covered too. Income replacement benefits provide 90 per cent of her net teaching salary, to help pay her bills and living expenses. An avid theatre-goer before the injury, Andrea is still able to go to the theatre with the help of a companion, whose ticket is paid for by the new recreation benefit.
Over time, Andrea will require a new wheelchair, further adaptations to her home, and changes in treatment, care and medication. As her needs change, ICBC will continue to work with Andrea, her doctor and her medical team to ensure she receives the appropriate care and support, for as long as she needs it.
Do I receive these benefits if I’m a cyclist or pedestrian?
Yes. Non-drivers like cyclists and pedestrians don’t need to purchase ICBC insurance to be eligible to receive care and recovery benefits if they are injured in a crash with a vehicle.
Every year, 1,600 cyclists and 2,600 pedestrians are injured in crashes on B.C. roads. Under Enhanced Care, they have access to the same full range of care and recovery benefits as drivers, so they can focus on getting better. That includes income replacement benefits if they’re unable to work, and additional benefits in the event of a serious or life-altering injury.
As long as you’re not responsible for the crash, you can claim the damages caused to your bike from the responsible driver.
What are the changes to vehicle damage coverage?
We have also changed the way vehicle repair costs are paid for when you’re not responsible for a crash.
Here’s how it works: if you’re driving in B.C. and another driver crashes into your vehicle, your own Basic Vehicle Damage coverage covers your repair costs. This will not impact your premiums, because you did not cause the crash.
Under the previous system, these costs would have been paid for by the insurance policy of the other driver, the one responsible for the crash. This change to Basic Vehicle Damage coverage means everyone’s own coverage will take care of their vehicle. All drivers will have a consistent level of vehicle damage protection when they’re not responsible for a crash, and they won’t need to rely on the at-fault driver’s liability coverage. Basic Vehicle Damage will cover you up to a limit of $200,000, which is enough to repair or replace 99 per cent of vehicles in B.C.
The new Basic Vehicle Damage coverage will launch with Enhanced Care in May 2021 and will automatically be included in your basic insurance.
Here's an example
Vehicle repairs paid for by your own coverage
Jamie was driving home from work and rear-ended Stephanie, causing damage to both of their cars.
Stephanie’s vehicle repairs will be paid for by her Basic Vehicle Damage coverage, which was included automatically in her basic insurance as of May 2021. Because she did not cause the crash, her premiums are not affected.
Because Jamie was responsible for the crash, the damage to his vehicle is paid for by his own optional collision coverage, which he purchased from ICBC. If Jamie hadn’t purchased collision coverage from either ICBC or a private insurer, he would have to pay for the repairs. The crash will go on Jamie’s driving record and his premium will likely go up at his next renewal.
Both Jamie and Stephanie suffered minor injuries in the crash, and both will have their care covered by their Enhanced Care benefits.
What about damage from a hit-and-run?
Under Enhanced Care, vehicle damage from a hit and run (when an unidentified driver damages your vehicle and leaves the scene of the crash) in B.C. will now be covered by optional coverage.
Previously, hit and run claims were paid for through basic insurance premiums. By switching vehicle damage coverage for hit and runs to optional coverage, all B.C. drivers aren’t subsidizing those claims. This makes premiums fairer for everyone because only those who want that coverage will purchase it. So if you buy ICBC’s collision coverage, as approximately 80 per cent of personal insurance customers do, you are still protected. Optional collision coverage also protects you from hit and runs outside of B.C.
If you don’t want to purchase collision coverage but still want protection from a hit and run, ICBC will offer a new, optional coverage – at a lower cost than collision – to only cover damage from hit and run incidents in B.C., as of May 2021. Talk to your broker about Hit and Run optional coverage.
Any injuries from a hit and run are already covered by your Enhanced Accident Benefits.