British Columbia

ICBC allowing drivers to put off payments for 90 days, renew licences by phone

The auto insurer is making the changes in response to the growing COVID-19 crisis

The auto insurer is making the changes in response to the growing COVID-19 crisis

ICBC says it looks at a customer’s situations on a case by case basis but it is more difficult in cases where there isn’t a verified photo record in our database. (David Horemans/CBC)

ICBC is allowing customers hard-hit by the COVID-19 crisis to delay making payments for up to 90 days with no penalty.

The auto insurer also says drivers needing to renew their licences, change their addresses, or acquire driving records can now do so from home.

According to a release, the 90-day payment deferrals were put in place "to support those facing financial hardship at this time" and are available to customers on Autoplan payment plans. Previously, ICBC only allowed a single deferral of 30 days.

Drivers whose licences are set to expire can renew up to six weeks in advance by contacting ICBC's Driver Licensing Call Centre to temporarily extend their existing license. From there, ICBC will mail customers a paper license that is valid for 90-days.

The changes apply to routine renewals and the replacement of lost licences, but not to expiring BC Services Cards or BC Identification Cards.

ICBC is allowing drivers to delay making payments for up to 90 days with no penalty. They can also renew their licenses, change their addresses, or acquire driving records by phone. (David Horemans/CBC)

"ICBC will monitor the situation and determine whether the 90-day period needs to be extended further," says the release.

British Columbians looking for deferrals can use ICBC's online resource tool or call 1-800-665-6442. Those needing to extend their licences can call ICBC's Driver Licensing Call Centre at 1-800-950-1498.

People looking to obtain driving records, change their addresses or pay violation tickets can do so online at icbc.com, or through the call centre.

ICBC is also immediately putting the processing of Enhanced Driver's Licences (EDL) and Enhanced Identification Cards (EIC) on hold, as they require face-to-face interaction.

On March 17, the insurer cancelled all motorcycle, passenger, and commercial road tests until further notice, which impacted roughly 15,000 drivers.

Knowledge tests will continue for commercial vehicle operators, but not with a translator, as the province's physical distancing requirements can't be met.

"Over the coming weeks, ICBC will be working on finding ways to provide knowledge tests without the need for an in-office visit," says the release.

The measures come amid province-wide orders for people to stay home as much as possible, and to practise physical distancing.

Driver licensing offices remain open but ICBC is asking customers to "only attend a driver licensing office if their transaction is urgent and cannot be done by phone or online, and if they are not showing symptoms."

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