The Points System and ICBC
|This information applies to British Columbia, Canada. Last reviewed for legal accuracy by Janet Mackinnon, ICBC in May 2018.|
If you get a ticket for a driving offence, you’ll typically get points on your driver's record. The more points you rack up, the more you’ll pay in insurance premiums.
What you should know
Driving violations lead to driver penalty points
When you receive a ticket for speeding or some other driving offence under the BC Motor Vehicle Act, you typically get points on your driver’s record. You also get points for certain Criminal Code offences like impaired driving, criminal negligence, and failure to remain at the scene of an accident. Driver penalty points are like black marks on your driving record.
How many points you get
The number of points you get depends on the driving violation involved. Many driving violations result in two or three points. All speeding violations are three points. Distracted driving is four points. Driving while prohibited or suspended is 10 points.
You don’t get points for parking tickets and other minor violations of city bylaws.
If you dispute a driving violation
Points are added to your record if you plead guilty to a driving offence or if a court convicts you of the offence. If you pay a traffic ticket, you’re admitting you are guilty.
If you don’t agree with a ticket, you must fight (or dispute) it. You have 30 days from the date of the ticket to dispute it. If you don’t do so, the offence and points are automatically added to your driving record. See our information on traffic tickets for more information on how to fight a traffic ticket.
Driver penalty points can increase your insurance premiums
Everyone who owns a motor vehicle in BC must have basic vehicle insurance from the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC). Each year, ICBC looks at your record of driver penalty points. If you had four or more points in the previous year, ICBC bills you a driver penalty point premium. This is an additional premium beyond the premium you pay to insure any vehicle you own. You are billed even if you don’t own or insure a vehicle.
The amount of the premium
The driver penalty point premium depends on the total number of points you get in a 12-month period, called the assessment period. ICBC reviews your driver’s record for this period, which starts about 17 months before your birthday.
If you have four points, the premium is $252. It’s $331 for five points, $432 for six points, and so on. If you have 50 points or more, you get the maximum driver penalty point premium of $34,560. ICBC’s website lists all the premiums.
How you are billed for the premium
The bill for any driver penalty point premium is sent four weeks before your birthday. ICBC uses the points just once to calculate the premium and bill you. So if you have three or fewer points in an assessment period, you won’t be billed for any premium.
Another driver premium program applies to more serious driving offences
ICBC has a second program, driver risk premiums, that applies to more serious driving offences. Under this program, ICBC reviews your driving record for offences for the previous three years. You will have to pay a driver risk premium if, during the previous three years, you have:
- one or more driving-related Criminal Code convictions (such as impaired driving)
- one or more Motor Vehicle Act convictions worth 10 points or more (such as driving while suspended)
- one or more excessive speeding convictions
- two or more roadside suspensions or prohibitions
The amount of the premium
The amount of the driver risk premium depends on the type and number of convictions you get. For example, the premium for one Criminal Code conviction (such as for impaired driving) is $1,303. The premium for two Criminal Code convictions is $5,414.
How you are billed for the premium
You will be billed only for one driver premium, whichever is highest. Because the assessment period for the driver risk premium is three years, one conviction during this period means you have to pay this premium each year for three years.
What if I can’t (or don’t) pay the premium?
If you don’t pay the bill for a driver premium within 30 days, ICBC will charge you interest. ICBC can also refuse to renew your vehicle insurance until you pay. Also, you won’t be able to renew your driver’s licence if you don’t pay a driver premium bill.
If you give up your driver’s licence to an ICBC driver licensing office for the whole one-year billing period, you won’t have to pay the bill.
Or you can reduce a driver premium bill by giving up your licence for 30 days or more during the billing period. When you want your licence back, go to a driver licensing office and pay the reduced bill, plus any extra licence fees. But this works only if you do not have to take a driver re-examination and don’t have any outstanding prohibitions.
What if I’m not allowed to drive? Do I have to pay the driver premium?
ICBC will reduce a driver premium bill if you’ve been prohibited or legally banned from driving for 60 days or more in the billing period. It usually does this automatically, but you may have to ask it to do so and to prove your situation.
Also, you can apply to ICBC for a refund or reduction if, for at least 30 days in a row during the billing period, any of the following apply:
- you lived in another province and legally held a driver’s licence there
- you were not in Canada or the US
- you were in jail
- you had medical reasons for not driving
Again, you may have to prove your case to ICBC.
Are there premium increases if I cause multiple accidents?
Yes. If you are 50% (or more) at fault for three motor vehicle accidents in three years, you might need to pay a multiple crash premium of $1,000. This is in addition to your regular Autoplan premiums.
For each additional crash within three years, you would pay an extra $500.
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