What is a principal operator?
The principal operator is the person who will be operating your vehicle the majority of the time during the term of the policy. In most cases, this will be the registered owner of the vehicle.
Why does ICBC need to know?
They set insurance premiums using a number of factors, including the discount level you have earned based on your years of safe driving. Inexperienced drivers and those with at-fault claims aren’t elgibile for the same discount as long-term claims-free customers. By correctly identifying the principal operater each time you renew, we can ensure a more accurate risk-based rating for the policy.
What happens if I don’t declare the correct principal operator?
Many vehicle owners will need to declare a principal operator. You can confirm if your policy requires a principal operator by confirming with us. If you declare the wrong principal operator (ie. parent who doesn’t declare their child who is the principal operator), may be in breach of your insurance. This means that you could be held personally responsible for injuries or property damage if you’re found at fault.
What if my vehicle doesn’t have a principal operator?
If there isn’t a person who operates your vehicle the majority of the time (51% or more) you may have to declare that your vehicle has no principal operator. Your vehicle will then be rated at base rate on the claim-rated scale (no discount or surcharge) because it’s not possible to assess its crash risk.
Please feel free to contact one of our offices if you have any questions at all regarding this. We’ll be happy to help clarify these points with you. Thank-you for reading…
While ICBC recommends the use of snow tires in snowy conditions, and driving without proper winter tires may not be the safest decision, it does not affect a customer’s eligibility to make a claim and it does not void the driver’s insurance (although it could lead to ticketing by law enforcement).
In the event of a claim, the act of not having or using the appropriate equipment doesn’t automatically mean a driver will be deemed at-fault. However, drivers involved in a crash who were not using snow tires or chains when appropriate may be deemed negligent, and could lose their discount and face higher insurance premiums on their next renewal.
Tips on buying snow tires:
– In areas of B.C. that experience substantial snowfall, winter tires are recommended because they deliver much better snow and ice performance because of their tread designs, which provide as much as 50 percent better traction.
– It is important to choose snow tires marked with a pictograph of a snowflake inside a peaked mountain, which indicates that tire has specifically been designed for use in severe snow conditions.
– Do not mix snow tires. Use the same make, size and type on all four tires. Different tread patterns can reduce the stability of your vehicle. Make sure your tires have good tread and are inflated correctly, including your spare tire.
No one gets up in the morning planning to get into a crash. However, on average, 695 people are going to experience a car crash every day in BC.
Accidents have consequences. If an individual damages someone else’s property or injures someone, they have a legal responsibility to make it right.
Which is why we all have to have insurance. But how much insurance is enough?
12 years later, damages set at $1.2m
A teen who suffered significant brain injuries when he was hit by a car in Abbotsford 12 years ago has been awarded $1.2m for the cost of his care for the remainder of his life and for lost potential earnings.
The then-three-year-old was walking in Abbotsford when he was hit by a car driven by a 20-year-old. The toddler was thrown at least six metres from the impact.
The 15-year-old now attends a modified high school program in Toronto where he lives with his family. He requires a support team consisting of an occupational therapist and a speech therapist, and he sees a psychologist as needed.
With these life-long, ongoing expenses, it’s easy to see how damages can add up to over $1m.
Future earnings in the eye of the beholder
The BC Supreme Court awarded a widow $6.4m, $4.2m of which was for the future loss of income of her physician husband, who died in a car crash.
The crash occurred when an employee driving a van owned by a cable company went into hypoglycemic shock and lost consciousness at the wheel. The van veered into oncoming traffic and struck the vehicle in which the doctor was a passenger. He died as a result.
The doctor’s widow was awarded $4.2m for future losses, including pre-retirement family expenses and savings.
The Justice hearing the case was convinced that the physician would have likely expanded his business as a successful laser eye surgeon. There was also a realistic potential for earning business income based on an ownership interest in the laser clinic.
While there was no evidence of a plan to develop and take an ownership interest in any clinics, the Justice wrote, there was evidence that would support a finding of a realistic possibility that the doctor would, at some future time, attempt to capitalize on his reputation and experience — hence the large award.
Cable companies with deep pockets may be financially positioned to cover a multi-million-dollar claim. But are you confident you or your business could do so?
And this could have happened to anyone, driving any kind of vehicle. Would you want to take a chance on being financially devastated as a result of injuring or killing someone with a potential to earn a high income?
Please take the time to discuss this with your family & friends and ultimately speak with us to look at extending your Third Party Liability coverage.