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How do you get car or home insurance when you can't leave the house

By Team InsureBC on March, 23 2020

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Team InsureBC

Team at InsureBC. Writing things about insurance tips and tricks.

With social distancing an absolute must and more and more retailers (temporarily) closing their doors, how does one look after getting some of their essential services conducted? During this COVID-19 pandemic crisis, grocery stores, liquor stores and drive-thru restaurants are seeing significant spikes in traffic, with people stocking up like they never have before.

But what about our other basic, essential services that we've come to rely on such as banking, insurance and other retail operations; many which require face-to-face interaction?

Well, on the insurance side of things, the good news is that you can now buy ICBC Autoplan and Home Insurance policies without visiting an insurance office. So, during this COVID-19 crisis you really don't have an excuse not to carry insurance because your trusty insurance broker can help you remotely - over the phone or even on email. How you may ask?

ICBC Autoplan

During these unprecedented times, ICBC has introduced some new (temporary) rules which allow insurance brokers to conduct certain transactions without any in-person contact with clients. No, this has never been available to brokers before but in this case, desperate times call for unique measures.

To be more specific, insurance brokers are temporarily able to process transactions from a remote location (ie. not their own office), and initiate ICBC business over the phone, issue transactions over email, accept signatures electronically and even take payments via telephone. In short, the days of having to visit a broker, just to have small-talk with the stranger sitting across the table from you, are temporarily on hold. At least, for the next little while.

What ICBC Transactions can be done over the phone?

So what exactly can your brokers now do over the phone when it comes to ICBC Autoplan transactions? Well, they can do a lot, but not everything... at least not yet. But, they can help you with a large percentage of your transactions including:

  • Renewals
  • Policy Changes
  • Cancellations
  • Storage Policies
  • Temporary Operating Permits

Most of the everyday transactions brokers get on a daily basis tend to fall within these 5 categories so this is a huge step in making sure British Columbians can continue driving around with their cars insured.

What ICBC Transactions cannot be done over the phone?

During the first wave of significant ICBC changes, unfortunately new plate policies, transfer of ownership and registration or imports didn't make the cut and still have to be done in-person.

If you are stuck and need plates but cannot make it into the office, your insurance broker can provide a temporary operating permit in the meantime. We do strongly recommend to call one of our offices ahead of time, to ensure they are open for walk-ins, based on an appointment basis.

Given today's ever changing environment, we cannot guarantee any of our offices will be in a position to help but feel free to contact us (link) to find out which locations may be able to assist.

Residential and Commercial Insurance

Not much has changed when it comes to interacting with your broker for the purpose of purchasing, renewing or simply changing parts of your residential (ie. condo, tenant or home) insurance or commercial insurance policy.

As has been the case for years, there's no need to come into an office or meet someone in-person regarding your commercial or residential insurance needs. Any questions and application forms that need to be completed can be done via phone and/or email with a simple electronic signature attached for signing purposes. Given the changing times, we do ask that you exercise a bit of patience with us during the process.

If you're looking for a new renters or condo policy, you can now purchase it online without even having any dialogue with an insurance brokers. InsureBC features a LiveChat function on its website where an agent can help answer your questions.

If you'e looking for a slightly more complex insurance policy for your home or business, you can complete online questionnaire and an insurance specialist will get in touch with you to provide you with a number of quotes.