B.C. Minister Todd Stone

Angry Exotic’s Owners in B.C.

No doubt that anyone familiar with the streets of Downtown Vancouver has witnessed the daily parade of exotic sports cars over-revving their way through gridlock, often while sporting the magnetic “N” denoting a driver new to the wheel.

When these vehicles are involved in a collision, the cost to repair the Italian stallions is way out of proportion to the price the owners pay to insure them with British Columbia’s provincial insurer, I.C.B.C. It’s for this reason that B.C.’s minister of transportation Todd Stone recently announced that those owners will face an immediate doubling of their annual insurance premiums, which will be soon followed by an outright refusal by I.C.B.C. to insure any exotic with a value in excess of $150,000.

The cost for parts to repair the fender, grille, headlight and intercooler on a 2015 Bentley Flying Spur W12 was cited as an example of the problem at Minister Stone’s hastily-called press conference, where the parts list was pegged at approximately $38,000. The basic insurance for the Bentley and that of a typical sedan are both in the range of $1000.00 despite the massive differential at the body shop.

As one might expect, Stone’s statement hit the owners of exotics, and the dealers who sell them, like a runaway train. It throws in doubt the future ability to insure an exotic for the streets of B.C. Private insurance companies have not yet confirmed that they’ll take the plunge with vehicles valued in excess of $150,000; and if they do leap into the deep end, who knows what they will charge for full coverage, including third-party liability?

Particularly irate over Stone’s announcement are dealerships specializing in cars for the one-percenters. The general manager at Ferrari-Maserati of Vancouver, Mark Edmonds, said many in the luxury-vehicle industry felt “side-swiped” by the news and are trying to make sense of what it means for their clients.

According to Minster Stone, that could be as many as 3,000 clients. That’s roughly how many vehicles I.C.B.C. insured this year valued at more than $150,000 each, and it represents a 30% increase over last year. Just how this First-World crisis will shake-out over the coming months is anyone’s guess, but there’s little doubt that owing high-end wheels in beautiful B.C. just got a lot pricier and far more complex, not unlike repairing them.

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