VANCOUVER (CBC) - B.C. drivers will be required to pay an extra $25 on their car insurance beginning May 1, if their family members other than the registered owner also drive the vehicle.
The Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC) said it's introducing the new fee because 22 per cent of its claims involve drivers who are not the registered owner or principal operator.
"If you have one vehicle in the household that a number of people share, even one other person who shares, if that person has less experience than you or a worse driving record, then yes, there will be an additional $25 premium," ICBC spokesman Doug McClelland said Tuesday.
ICBC calls the new surcharge the "other operator premium," which is a flat fee regardless of the number of drivers sharing the vehicle in the household.
Opposition New Democrats MLA Harry Lali calls the new fee a "cash grab."
"It's unnecessary. It's basically ICBC using ... the government using ICBC as a cash cow to get money out of the pockets of people," Lali said Tuesday.
ICBC estimates that the new premium will affect between 10 to 20 per cent of the three million insured drivers in B.C.
The new fee will add about $7 million to $14 million in new revenue for ICBC, which the Crown corporation said will help safe drivers.
"This, like all changes we make in the rates we set, they're meant to be revenue neutral," McClelland said. "Any additional revenue we bring in for this will be directly translated into savings for customers who are not affected."
But Lali disagreed.
"No matter how ICBC or the Liberals try to package this as being revenue neutral, it is nothing but a shameless tax grab - that's all it is."