Has ICBC Declared Your Vehicle a ‘Write Off’?

Power Sport News, Vol. 11, No. 2, 2007

By Daryl Brown

Have you ever been in an accident where your motorcycle was extensively damaged and the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC) told you it was a write off or ‘total loss’? This meant your vehicle was not worth repairing and instead, you were entitled to a cheque for the ‘actual cash value’ or market value. The amount you received, however, was less than reasonable given your custom upgrades or recent repairs.

In the process of arriving at a dollar figure, ICBC uses a valuation tool known as, Autosource. This is a computerized program that searches local databases for advertised vehicles of similar make, model, mileage, etc. The adjuster will often calculate an average price from the search and present this amount as the actual cash value. While Autosource is capable of locating similar type vehicles, it is not always capable of noting the unique condition of a particular vehicle, such as if you recently upgraded the chassis, modified the engine or made significant general repairs. In order to negotiate an amount indicative of what you feel your market value is, consider these three options.

The first and simplest option is to gather all receipts noting your upgrades or repairs and any photographs depicting the condition of your vehicle. You should also gather comparable advertisements for vehicles of similar year, make, model and condition. To present your position effectively, visit the vendors to photograph the condition of advertised vehicles. Once you have a comparison portfolio, conference with your adjuster and the manager. Always present your position in a calm and rational manner. If this fails, you can proceed with either the Evaluation or the Arbitration procedures described under Part 9 of the Revised Regulation (1984) Under the Insurance (Motor Vehicle) Act, B.C. Reg. 263/2006. It is important to remember you only have two years from the date of the accident to invoke the Evaluation or Arbitration options.

Under the Evaluation option, you and ICBC retain separate evaluators to negotiate with each other to arrive at a fair figure. To trigger this course of action, you must serve ICBC with written notice by registered mail. You then have 21 days to produce your own evaluator, of which some restrictions apply. You are not permitted to hire yourself, your mechanic, your employee or an employee of ICBC, a family member regardless of where they live or anyone living in your household. The evaluators then have seven days to contact each other and another 21 days to present the agreed amount or provide notice of their inability to reach a decision.

Your third option is to request the British Columbia Arbitration and Mediation Institute appoint an arbitrator. Within seven days, an arbitrator will gather all evidence and set a date in which a binding decision will be rendered. The arbitrator’s fee is split equally between you and ICBC. While any of these options may appear onerous, it is reassuring to know that you need not accept whatever amount you were offered initially.

Note: This site is for information purposes only and is not meant to be construed as legal advice or motorcycle riding instruction. Circumstances concerning proper riding technique are subject to change with conditions and experience. Contact your local riding school for more information. For legal consultation, contact Motorcycle Lawyer, Daryl Brown @ 400-713 Columbia St., New Westminster, BC, 604-526-1821 or 604-612-6848. Content provided by Motorcycle Lawyer.ca is not to be reproduced without authorization. Motorcycle Lawyer.ca is a pending trade mark and any unauthorized use of the name or likeness is prohibited.

Daryl Brown
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