British Columbians can now extend expiring driver’s licence over the phone

Signage for ICBC (Insurance Corporation of British Columbia) is shown in Victoria, B.C., on Feb. 6, 2018. Chad Hipolito / The Canadian Press

The Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC) is allowing British Columbians to extend their expiring driver’s licence remotely.

Customers looking to renew their driver’s licence can call ICBC’s Driver Licensing Call Centre and extend their licence over the phone.

Drivers will be mailed an interim paper licence valid for 90 days. Routine renewals, reinstatement of a licence, and the replacement of a lost licence are eligible for the extension.

The public insurer is not allowing expiring BC Services Cards and BC Identification Cards to be renewed over the phone. ICBC is monitoring the situation and will determine whether the 90-day period needs to be extended further.

ICBC cannot renew a licence over the phone because of the requirement for a new driver’s licence photo.

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The public insurer and the Insurance Brokers of British Columbia announced last week that drivers could renew insurance over the phone or email with a broker.

Click to play video: 'Global Exclusive: ICBC exploring online renewals'
Global Exclusive: ICBC exploring online renewals

The measures are all being put in place to allow for physical distancing during the COVID-19 crisis.

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ICBC is also offering customers the option to defer their monthly insurance payments for up to 90 days with no penalty.

This deferral will be available to customers already on monthly Autoplan payments for up to 90 days. ICBC previously allowed for only a single deferral of 30 days.

The public insurer is also moving to offer a handful of services online or through its call centre. Those services include obtaining driving records/abstracts, change of address and paying violation tickets.

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The processing of Enhanced Driver’s Licences and Enhanced Identification Cards has been suspended since it requires face-to-face interaction that does meet physical distancing guidelines.

All driver knowledge tests will be suspended indefinitely for motorcycle and passenger vehicles, unless there is a legal requirement to obtain a licence. The legal requirement would include new residents to the province.

Commercial vehicle knowledge tests will continue, but the use of translator will not be allowed due to physical distancing requirements.

“We ask that customers only attend a driver licensing office if their transaction is urgent and cannot be done by phone or online, and if they are not showing symptoms,” the statement reads.

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