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Free windshield repairs for those with optional coverage, says ICBC

Last Updated Feb 8, 2017 at 12:23 pm PDT

(Courtesy ICBC)

ICBC hopes to save millions by offering free windshield repairs to some drivers

More than two million drivers will soon be able to take advantage of a new ICBC offer

VICTORIA (NEWS 1130) – Yet more proof there is a provincial election just around the corner. ICBC is about to give drivers a bit of a break on their car insurance, but don’t expect to save a lot of money.

Starting this spring, Transportation Minister Todd Stone says you won’t have to pay your deductible if the windshield on your vehicle gets damaged by a rock or other debris. The offer is only available to those with optional coverage.

The province claims the move is being made following public feedback. It also says the offer will help save the public insurer some money at a time when claims are costing millions of dollars. ICBC estimates it will be able to cut costs by roughly $8 million a year. “Windshield repairs cost significantly less than replacements, which will help ICBC reduce its material damage costs while improving service for more than 2.5 million customers across the province,” says Stone.

Currently, ICBC replaces a damaged windshield rather than offer to repair it because repaired windshields often need to be replaced a short time later.

“Moving toward windshield repair rather than full replacement – when possible – is something that will hugely benefit residents in my community and more rural parts of BC,” explains Minister of State for Rural Economic Development Donna Barnett. “Not only will it make dealing with a chipped windshield more convenient, but it will contribute toward lowering the pressures on insurance rates, which is a win-win.”

Last year, ICBC dealt with nearly 110,000 windshield replacement claims which is “a 17 per cent increase in frequency and a 28 per cent increase in average replacement costs compared to 2010.” The average cost of a windshield replacement in 2016 was about $820, whereas fixing a windshield chip costs less than $70.

It’s estimated 8,000 fewer windshields will be in BC landfills each year due to this initiative.

NDP attacks move

Not everyone is happy with the move. Before 2001, drivers could have their windshield repaired at no cost, argues NDP ICBC critic Adrian Dix.

“This was the policy of ICBC before the Liberals decided to stick it to ICBC customers for 15 years,” explains Dix. “This was the policy of ICBC until November 2001 when the Liberals changed it. They’re reinstating what the policy was under the NDP, but what they’re admitting today, to be clear, is that the policy was not only bad for drivers, not only drivers in the interior, but bad for ICBC itself. And they’ve been doing it for 15 years.”

He says the BC Liberals should be “embarrassed” by their move to scrap the policy in 2001, and says this announcement is an admission they made the wrong decision then.