Emily Nelson had worked hard to get her first car.
The full-time student had saved up and found the perfect 2007 Volkswagen Rabbit: low kilometres, great condition and a price tag of $5,000.
When the 20-year-old took her car to be insured, that excitement immediately turned into astonishment when she found out her ICBC bill was $5,921 for the year.
“She was tearing up,” her mother Tammy Nelson said. “It was just the shock. We just couldn’t believe what the price was.”
Under ICBC’s new rate structure, Emily’s two years with a learner’s permit no longer count towards her experience discount.
Despite getting a slightly cheaper rate by limiting Emily’s commute to work and school under 15 kilometres a day, the annual premium still costs more than the car.
On top of paying for college tuition, the new car and gas, Nelson said the added financial pressure of ICBC’s high rates on her daughter is crushing.
“She’s basically working to pay for that bill alone,” Nelson said.
WATCH: (Sept. 24) New drivers getting sticker shock under ICBC rate structure
The outrage over the cost of insurance for new drivers is rising. Many parents are asking how their children are supposed to gain experience if they can’t afford to be on the road.
ICBC President Nicolas Jimenez claimed private auto insurance in other provinces can be as high as $10,000 to $12,000 for new drivers.
But when Global News took Emily’s information and requested a quote for the same basic and comprehensive insurance coverage in Calgary, the price dropped to $3,651.
Jimenez did acknowledge that ICBC rates could be lower for all customers, and said that’s something they are working towards.
For now, he’s insisting a third of B.C. drivers will actually pay less with the rates changes.
“Typically they’re going to be drivers with a lot of driving experience and they’re going to have a really good crash history,” he explained.
Nelson said she has a clean driving record spanning more than 20 years. Despite that experience, her ICBC rates still increased by a couple hundred dollars under the new structure.
“I think, yes, we’ve been lied to,” she said.
Attorney General David Eby, the minister in responsible for ICBC, said he acknowledges high rates for new drivers are a burden.
“What we’re doing with the insurance system is rebalancing, and that rebalancing means that some people are paying a little bit more,” Eby said.
Nelson said everyone seems to be paying more, but new drivers are facing ridiculously unaffordable rates.
Eby wouldn’t say when the rebalancing at ICBC would lead to a dip in rates for those drivers.
“All British Columbians are paying too much for insurance right now, and our government is committed to get those rates down,” he said.