BC Driver’s Abstract: When You Need It & How Much it Costs

By CanadaDrives

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There are various reasons you might need to get a driver’s abstract in BC. Perhaps you’re applying for a new job, or planning to move to another province or country. Maybe you’re setting up to become a member of a car sharing company, applying for car insurance, or planning to join an organization as a volunteer driver.

Whatever the reason, we’ll answer common questions about getting your BC driver’s abstract below—including why you might need one, how to get one, what it costs, and what to expect.

What is a British Columbia driver’s abstract and when would you need one?

A driver’s abstract, or driving record, is a record of your driving history which starts the moment you get your driver’s license and continues keeping a record of your history, tickets and offences throughout your life as a driver. 

A driver’s abstract in BC shows the date you were first licensed, as well as any tickets or offences you’ve accumulated in the past 5 years. It also lists any conditions, restrictions or endorsements on your license—for instance, the requirement to wear corrective lenses.

A snapshot of your last 5 years of driving

The information contained in your BC driver’s abstract serves as a snapshot of your last 5 years of driving. It can be used by employers, insurance companies, volunteer agencies, or the judicial system as a sort of report card on your driving habits, covering a period in time. In turn, this information can be used to assess your risk level as a driver.

You might need a driver’s abstract in BC if you’re applying for a position where driving is a key part of your job, where you’ll use a company car, or when you’ll become part of a ride sharing company. You might also need a driver’s abstract in BC if you’re applying for a driver’s license in another province or country, or any other situation where you might need to prove you’re a safe and responsible driver—perhaps for a new job or volunteer position.

In BC, you may also require a Driver Factor report 

Every driver in BC has a driver factor—basically, a 3-decimal number that indicates your experience and crash history. The Driver Factor report also considers whether you’re a senior or new resident, and the Driver Factor score improves for each year you remain crash-free. When looking at your Driver Factory number, remember that a lower number is more favorable than a higher one.

In certain instances, you may require a Commercial Driving Record, or a National Safety Code (NSC) abstract. This is a record of your driving history, along with any commercial vehicle related convictions in the past years.

Finally, there’s the Insurance and Claims History record, which tracks your insurance coverage history and claims as a driver for up to 20 years.

It’s important to understand the specific BC driving record(s) you need, if any, in addition to your BC Driver’s Abstract.

How to get a driver’s abstract in BC?

To get a driver’s abstract in BC, you’ll be dealing with the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia, or ICBC. At this time of writing, driving record requests are not available in person because of ongoing COVID restrictions. 

Still, you’ve got options.

To get your driver’s abstract in BC, have your driver’s license card ready and head to this webpage. Drivers can also call the ICBC at 1-800-663-3051 to request documents be sent to them (or another organization of their choice).

If you’re an employer looking for a batch of driver’s abstracts for a number of job candidates, if you’re applying for a driver’s abstract on behalf of a minor (providing you’re their legal guardian) or if you need your driver’s abstract to be sent directly to a potential employer, be sure to call ahead for the full details. 

Other BC driver’s abstract questions answered

How much does it cost? Is it free?

Yes! In BC, driver abstracts are considered public records and are available free of charge, according to the ICBC.

How many years is a drivers abstract BC?

The BC driver’s abstract is a record of your basic driving history for the past 5 years.

What does a clean driver’s abstract mean in BC?

Having a clean driver’s abstract is a good idea. This means your driver’s abstract is free of violations, demerit points, and convictions. 

An employer, insurance company or organization can take your clean driver’s abstract as a strong signal that you’re a safe and responsible driver who poses a minimal risk. This may help drivers secure a job they’re applying for, increase the chances of being accepted for a volunteer position, or increase the likelihood of being accepted by a ride sharing company or program.

A clean driver’s abstract can also help you secure lower insurance rates, though each insurance company has different ways of calculating your premiums based on risk.

A clean commercial driving record or NSC abstract also requires that drivers have no commercial vehicle related convictions in the past 5 years.