As of May 1, 2021, ICBC’s Enhanced Care coverage comes into effect and this will mean some big changes to BC’s auto insurance system. At Waypoint Insurance, we’re here to help you understand the changes and what they mean for you.
The benefits under Enhanced Care coverage will be available to all British Columbians whether you are a driver, passenger, cyclist or pedestrian, regardless of whether you caused the crash or not, because everyone deserves the care they need to get better.
Medical care and rehabilitation (increased) – there will be no maximum limit for your medical care and rehabilitation expenses, unlike today’s maximum of $300,000 over your lifetime. That means you’ll get all the care you need, when you need it, for as long as you need it.
This covers things like:
- treatments such as physiotherapy, chiropractic care and massage therapy
- support and services like occupational therapy, counselling, dental care, medication, and medical devices or equipment
- alterations to your vehicle or home such as a ramp, stair lift or bathroom alterations
- travel and accommodation expenses when you need to travel out of town for medical or rehabilitation appointments
Having no limit to the overall care and recovery benefits available under Enhanced Care will be especially important if you are seriously injured and your care needs are likely to last much longer, and if your injury impacts your daily life.
Income replacement benefits (increased) – if you’re unable to work due to your injury, you’ll receive 90 per cent of your net income in wage loss benefits (based on a maximum gross annual insurable income of up to $100,000). People who earn more than $100,000 in gross annual income will be able to purchase additional optional coverage to top-up their benefit.
We’re also introducing new benefits to support students, minors, or people who run a family business and cannot study or fulfill their usual family business activities due to injuries from a crash. If you’re receiving income replacement and reach retirement age, a new retirement income benefit will be available.
Caregiver benefits (new) – a new benefit if you’re a family caregiver and your injury prevents you from fulfilling your regular caregiving duties. This weekly benefit starts at $580 for full-time caregivers, and increases depending on how many people you care for.
Personal care assistance (increased) – up to approximately $5,000 per month, with more for severe or life-altering injuries, including those that require 24/7 care. This benefit helps with activities of daily living such as bathing, dressing, eating, meal preparation and house cleaning.
Death benefits (increased) – in the case of a death, the amount your spouse receives significantly increases, from $30,000 today to $66,000–$500,000 depending on factors such as the deceased’s age and annual income. Benefits available for the deceased’s dependants will also increase significantly. Funding is also available to pay for up to $9,000 for funeral costs.
Grief counselling (new) – this new benefit is available to help pay up to $3,800 in counselling expenses for your grieving family members in the event of a fatal accident.
Changes to Income Replacement Benefits
If you’re unable to work due to an injury, you’ll receive 90 per cent of your net income up to a maximum of $100,000 gross annual income – a significant increase to the maximum limit today. And you’ll receive these benefits for as long as your injuries prevent you from returning to work.
High-income earners – Those who earn more than $100,000 per year can choose to purchase additional coverage to top-up the amount of income replacement provided, up to a maximum of $200,000 in gross annual income.
If your lifetime earning capacity is affected
Under the current system, if the injury caused a serious or permanent impairment that limited your future earning potential, you could seek additional compensation through legal action, but only if you were not responsible for the crash. You would be paid out for your future wage loss as part of your settlement, and one-third of the settlement would go to your lawyer.
Under Enhanced Care, you will receive 90 per cent of your net, pre-collision income in tax-free, regular installments, whether or not you were responsible for the crash. Those amounts will increase by the rate of inflation every year, and upon reaching age 65, you’ll be eligible for retirement benefits from ICBC, because Enhanced Care is a system designed to support you over a lifetime.
If you’re able to return to work but your injuries prevent you from going back to the same kind of role, ICBC can provide services to help you find a new job that matches your abilities. If that new role pays less than your job prior to the crash, ICBC will continue to top up your income replacement to 90 per cent of your pre-collision net income.
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