Damaged “newfangled” cars are raising ICBC premiums: Opinion

Damaged “newfangled” cars are raising ICBC premiums: Opinion

Damaged “newfangled” cars are raising ICBC premiums: Opinion An opinion piece argues that today’s cars, with their fancy and pricey tech features, are partly to blame for the immense external pressures pushing on the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia’s (ICBC) skyrocketing premiums.

The piece, which appeared in The Province, notes that the number of exotic sports cars priced at $150,000 or more in Metro Vancouver has almost doubled over the past six years, from 1,300 in 2009 to 2,500 in 2015. These luxury cars can cost the ICBC a fortune to repair or replace, as the numbers show.

ICBC’s vehicle-repair costs jumped from $200 million last year (a 17% annual increase) to an absurd $1.36 billion. The insurer placed the blame for this surge on mounting repair bills, having raised rates by 4.9% in August in response.

It is not just expensive cars that are to blame for the increases, the piece explains. Even moderately-priced cars have becoming increasingly pricey to repair due to the complex technology they are equipped with.

The piece then lists several moderately-priced cars whose fancy features significantly increase their repair costs:
  • 2015 Mazda 6 – Previously, a 2005 model with a broken headlight would cost about $500 to repair. Today, the same damage on the latest version’s technologically-improved headlight would cost around $1,600, the ICBC said.
  • 2016 Ford Mustang – A 2005 Ford Mustang V6 with a broken headlight would cost $250 to repair. To repair the same damage on the latest model would cost around $1,650.
  • 2015 Toyota Camry – The shattered windshield of a 2005 Camry would take about three hours to replace, costing $620. The same windshield replacement for the 2015 model, which now takes five hours, would cost $850 plus an additional $1,400 to replace the built-in crash-avoidance camera—a total of $2,250.
“Drivers love the new technology, safety features and modern conveniences — but they come with a cost,” ICBC chairman Barry Penner told The Province. “There are definite safety enhancements from the new tech. But the collision rate is still up dramatically. It puts upward pressure on insurance premiums to repair these more complicated vehicles.”

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