British Columbia

ICBC rate hike hits B.C. drivers starting today

The cost of basic insurance is increasing 6.4 per cent starting today with hikes to optional insurance coming.

Average driver will pay $130 more per year for insurance once all the increases come into effect

ICBC rate hike will cost the average B.C. driver an additional $130 per year. (CBC)

Starting today, basic car insurance in B.C. will cost drivers 6.4 per cent more.

The ICBC hike is the first of a few, with increases of up to 9.6 per cent to the overall optional rate yet to come into effect.

According to B.C. Attorney General David Eby, the average B.C. driver can expect to pay an additional $130 per year, or 8 per cent more, once all the increases are in place. 

The rate increases were announced in September after ICBC announced its largest financial loss in history — more than half a billion dollars in one year.

Eby said the situation resulted from the previous Liberal government's "mismanagement that goes back years," including a 2010 legislation change which allowed it to take $1.2 billion from ICBC coffers and put it into general revenue. 

Eby said the 6.4 per cent basic rate increase was lower than the 20 per cent rate hike recommended by a July report by Ernst & Young which was commissioned by the former Liberal government.

According to the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, B.C. drivers pay the second highest auto insurance rates in Canada. The CTF has called for the province to end ICBC's car insurance monopoly. 

The current government says it will take immediate measures to fix the crisis at the public insurer, including an operational audit of ICBC, rolling out 24-hour red-light cameras at high-collision intersections, and a pilot program of new technologies to eliminate distracted driving among high-risk groups.

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