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Astronomical ICBC rates mean it’s time for choice

Crippling insurance bills are pushing young drivers out of the market.
(Mitch Hutchinson /

ICBC has changed their rate structure for young people and new drivers. It means some are paying more for their insurance than what the car itself cost to buy. Cranbrook’s Jade Sharp, 19, told media she was stuck with a bill three times what her car cost. For Izabella Bryan, 18, the year’s insurance was $5,300.

Even one driver who had been driving for over 40 years without an at-fault accident saw a 25 per cent jump in his rates.

The move may, in some cases, discourage some from driving altogether. How are drivers supposed to get better if they never have the opportunity to practice? More and more young people are already delaying getting their licenses. Driving used to be a rite of passage – but now between insurance rates and gas prices, it’s quickly becoming a luxury fewer and fewer can afford.

When I first started driving in Ontario, the monthly insurance cost for my little Toyota Echo was under $60. In that province, car insurance is provided privately; consumers have a choice who they insure with. Since each insurance provider calculates the risks and associated rates a little differently, drivers can shop around until they find the option that works best for them.

On Monday, when talking to reporters, Premier John Horgan tried to shrug responsibility.

“I’ll remind British Columbians that we inherited a serious problem at ICBC,” said Horgan.

“Minister Eby has been taking steps to reduce costs for people,” quickly adding, “Certainly there are glaring examples where that’s not the case, and we’re going to keep working on affordability and keep working on trying to get ICBC back to a place where British Columbians can be proud of that Crown corporation, rather than contemptuous.”

Massive change is needed before we can truly be proud of this corporation riddled with debt and often seems to be working against the people it was created to serve.

Personally, I tried ICBC’s online calculator, and it looks like my coverage is staying about the same. But one day, my kids will be driving.

B.C. needs a private insurance system to keep costs reasonable. Otherwise? I sure won’t be footing the bill.

Ada Slivinski is the Founder & Principal of Jam PR, a boutique agency focused on helping small businesses get big exposure. You can reach her at [email protected]