Vehicle Write-Off

If you have been involved in a motor vehicle accident, and your car has sustained serious damage, there exists the possibility that it will cost ICBC more to fix your car than what your car is actually worth. In these circumstances, your vehicle will be a “write off”, and ICBC will offer you a sum of money for your car.

[Note] It is important to note that if you do not have collision coverage on your car, and the accident is your fault, then ICBC will not pay you the actual market value of your car.

Here is how ICBC determines whether or not your car will be classified as a write-off:

  1. the estimator will determine how much it will cost to repair your vehicle
  2. the estimator will then determine how much it will cost to replace the vehicle, less its salvage value

If the cost of number 1 is greater than the cost of number 2, then the vehicle will be deemed to be a write-off.

Do not simply accept their first offer, as the estimators you deal with sometimes have more money to give. What the ICBC estimator will be relying on is what is called an Autosource Valuation Report. This is a report produced by a third party that ICBC retains the services of. The report is quite detailed, and will include a comparison of your vehicle to other similar vehicles with the same year, make, model, features, etc… The report also makes adjustments for mileage, condition of the tires, condition of the exterior, etc…

If you are presented with an offer for the market value of your vehicle, then you should ask the estimator to provide you with a copy of the Autosource Valuation Report. You should also do some research on such sites as Craigslist, Kijiji, Auto Trader, etc… to see if you can find “comparable” ads to your own car. You should deduct about 8 – 10% of the asking price to get a better guage on the actual market value of the car in question, as the seller would likely not realize the full asking price.

If you can find a few of these ads, with their average being a higher market value than what ICBC is offering you, then you may be able to persuade them to offer you more money for the write off value of your vehicle. If you are not satisfied with the amount being offered by the estimator, then you can ask to speak to the claims manager.

There is a common misconception that if you cannot agree with ICBC on a write off value for your car, then you would take ICBC to court in an attempt to receive a higher amount. The actual course of action is that you must, pursuant to Section 176 and 177 of the Insurance (Vehicle) Regulations, proceed to an arbitration hearing, pursuant to the Commercial Arbitration Act. There would be a cost associated with hiring an independent arbitrator, and the matter would eventually come before an arbitrator, with written and oral submissions.