Pursuing Vehicle Damage Claims without using ICBC
When you are involved in a minor collision with another vehicle, the question of whether to involve ICBC to repair the vehicles will often arise between the parties involved in the accident. Regardless of whether you are the at-fault vehicle or the not at-fault vehicle, the answer is the same. You should involve ICBC.
The first reason to involve ICBC is that it does not cost anything to access ICBC and their systems and rates. Second, if you do not report the accident to ICBC and try to use their systems later you may be unable to pursue ICBC for any recovery, if you are outside the statutory deadlines for the claim. As a result, the first thing you should do is, phone ICBC Dial-a-claim and report the accident.
The next thing you should do is bring your vehicle into ICBC or a certified repair shop for an assessment through ICBC. This is a free service and does not commit you to having the vehicle repaired through ICBC.
You may think that it’s cheaper to go to a private collision repair service and get your vehicle repaired without notifying ICBC. However, unless you know someone at a private collision repair facility who will give you a good deal, chances are that going through ICBC is actually cheaper. This is because ICBC has negotiated rates for labour charges across the Province, based on volume discounts. Therefore, chances are that the hourly rate ICBC gets is going to be lower than the one you can negotiate privately.
Just because you use ICBC and repair the vehicle through ICBC does not mean that your driver’s safe driving discount is affected. Rather, the option remains for someone to pay ICBC back the money that they spent in carrying out the repairs. If you pay ICBC back then this accident is not considered an at-fault accident for anyone and does not affect the safe driving discount of any of the parties involved in the accident.
In summary, contrary to what some people feel, whenever you are involved in an accident involving damage to your vehicle, regardless of whether you are at-fault or not, access ICBC’s system to get the best possible deal for the repairs. Using ICBC does not affect your safe driving discount where you pay ICBC back for the money spent on the repairs.