Newly introduced ICBC insurance changes are supposed to penalize bad drivers and help those who pose less of a risk behind the wheel, but one young driver is asking why her insurance is going up 32 per cent, despite driving for nearly three years and having a perfect driving record.
Nineteen-year-old Alyssa Smith from Port Alberni drives her mom's 2016 Mitsubishi Lancer to and from her full time and part time jobs. Last year, driving that same car cost her $2,793. This year, the cost is jumping to $3,686. Her Basic and Optional insurance is increasing by 32 percent. When Alyssa first heard what driving would cost her this year, she was stunned.
"How could that even be right?" She added one of her first thoughts was, "Am I going to have get a third job?"
Alyssa said she's been driving for three years, and her driving record shows no accidents or tickets. Her mom, Kathryn Smith, was so surprised she had her broker call ICBC to find out what was happening. Turns out, there was no mistake.
"So now she pays a premium of $340 a month just to drive," she said.
Kathryn added she thinks it’s "almost age discrimination" that kids who may have the fewest dollars to spare are facing such an increase. This all comes after ICBC changed its insurance model.
"Your level of risk is more in line with the premium that you pay," explained ICBC's Joanna Linsangan.
The new insurance model looks at your driver risk factor. Past incidents, and things like age play in. ICBC said younger drivers are 3.5 times more likely to cause a crash than experienced drivers.
"New and inexperienced drivers were heavily subsidized under the old model," added Linsangan.
She said they are still subsidized but to a lesser extent than before.
There’s another change. Under the previous system, a driver with an "L" could earn a safe driving discount, or be penalized for a crash . Not anymore. Another difference that could potentially benefit drivers is the maximum safe driving discount is now 52 per cent.
With one year of experience as an "N" driver, ICBC says Alyssa has already accrued a 9 per cent discount.
Alyssa has already paid up even though she’s not happy the costs have jumped.
"Yeah I don't have a choice, man. I gotta get to and from work twice a day."