B.C.'s auto insurance provider ICBC has received $500,000 worth of damage claims for vehicle damage and loss stemming from the province's worst wildfire season in recorded history.

ICBC says it has received 124 wildfire-related claims so far, with many of them related to damage caused by extreme heat or smoke. Other vehicles were declared total losses.

Wildfire Ashcroft Burnt Vehilce

A burned out car near Ashcroft, B.C. (Tina Lovgreen/CBC)

The B.C. Wildfire Service says it has responded to 1,068 fires across the province since April 1, 2017, which have burned an estimated 1,021,982 hectares. The cost of fire suppression alone has cost the province $361.5 million to date.

New policy changes

ICBC says in recognition of the unprecedented situation, it's making some small changes to its policy for customers on evacuation alert. This includes:

  • Affected customers will be allowed to purchase ICBC's comprehensive coverage if their policy expired recently (for example, during the evacuation alert). Cases will be examined on a case-by-case basis.
  • Affected customers will be allowed to purchase ICBC's optional fire insurance for new vehicles purchased from an automobile dealer in a more simplified process.

Mark Blucher, ICBC's president and CEO, stated in a release that the company is trying to be as responsive as possible to customers caught in the wildfire.

"We have insurance and claims experts who are focused on responding to our customers' needs and supporting our brokers under these trying circumstances," he said.

Fire claims can be made online or through ICBC's customer service centre at 1-800-663-3051.