ICBC will take the cheapest method possible to address the vehicle damage issue even if it has a negative effect on you
Unfortunately, ICBC has the absolute say as to whether your vehicle will be repaired or written off when the vehicle is involved in an accident. When the vehicle suffers significant damage, the owner of the vehicle usually would rather have the vehicle written-off than repaired because often, once your vehicle has been extensively repaired it is not worth as much as if it was not involved in the accident. Also, extensive repairs are seldom perfect, so your vehicle will likely not be back to its pre-accident state following the repairs.
Simply put, ICBC will take the cheapest method possible to address the vehicle damage issue even if it has a negative effect on you. That is why you often see ICBC repairing vehicles for tens of thousands of dollars when they could simply write-off your vehicle for a few thousand dollars more.
ICBC only must repair your vehicle when you have collision coverage and/or where the other party is responsible for the accident. If you are the at-fault party and did not buy collision coverage, ICBC will not repair your vehicle.
When you leave the repair shop, you may have to pay the “collision deductible” if you are at-fault for the accident or ICBC has not determined liability by the time your vehicle is ready for pick up. Reimbursement of the deductible can be a prolonged event if liability is contentious or the other driver is flat out ignoring his/her obligations to report to ICBC. Eventually, if you are not at-fault, you will see a cheque from ICBC in the mail.
If you are partly at fault for the accident, the deductible will depend on the degree of fault. For example, if you are 50% at fault for the accident and the collision deductible is $500, you will have to pay $250 to get your vehicle repaired.