Repairing your Vehicle versus Writing it Off

Unfortunately, ICBC has the absolute say as to whether or not your vehicle will be repaired or written off when the vehicle is involved in an accident. For obvious reasons, you would rather have your vehicle written-off because often times, once your vehicle has been extensively repaired it is not worth as much as if it was not involved in the accident. Also, extensive repairs are seldom perfect so your vehicle will not be back to its pre-accident state.

The reason the ICBC has the decision-making power is set out under Section 117 of the Regulations of the Insurance (Vehicle) Act:

Limit of liability

  • 117 (1) … the liability of (ICBC) for payment of … loss or damage … is limited to the amount by which
  • (a) The cost of repairing or replacing the vehicle…
  • (b) The declared value of the vehicle and its equipment, where appropriate, or
  • (c) The actual cash value of the vehicle and its equipment,
  • Whichever is least.

Simply put, the Regulations allow ICBC to take the cheapest method possible even if it has a negative effect on you. That is why you often see ICBC repairing vehicles for tens of thousands of dollars when they could simply write-off your vehicle for a few hundred/thousand dollars more.