Motorcycle Blog

I was involved in a no-fault accident in France. The Insurance company transported my six-month-old bike back to the UK, then scrapped it and offered me a settlement figure for it.

However, they refused to offer any amount for modifications, even though their website says “unlimited modifications – let us know and it’s covered.”

I had fitted about £2000-worth of accessories on the bike – panniers, topbox, engine bars, heated grips and an extended screen – as the bike was for touring. The policy I took out was comprehensive and I declared all the accessories but the Insurer has refused to pay out for them.

When I challenged them on this, they said that by “covered” they mean they are covered from a legal perspective only; that is, if I am stopped by the police, I am okay; but they are not covering it on the contract. This seems very strange to me. Am I being spun a line? When I insured the bike, which was brand-new at the time, I included all the accessories in the valuation.

Answer

You are being spun a complete line. This is nonsense of the first order. When you insure a motorcycle you enter a contract of insurance. You tell the insurance company the motorcycle you want insured and any accessories that form part of your policy will also be covered. This Idea that you were “insured for police purposes” Is patent nonsense.

When you fill in your proposal there will be Insured accessories and value. Also, as a consumer you are entitled to rely on clear representations made, which the “unlimited modifications – let us know and it’s covered” clearly Implies. On your proposal form there were questions that you answered about the machine, its value, and what accessories were to be insured. Unless the policy states that “declared accessories are not covered” then your insurers will have to pay out for those accessories.

The moral of the story here is do not trust your Insurers. The Insurers you mention are a well known and very large concern. If I had not heard this story so many times over so many years I would find it almost unbelievable. Sadly, it is utterly credible.

What I suspect has happened here is that you have applied. In good faith, to have your bike insured and declared all of your accessories. Then the brokers failed to declare your accessories, so the underwriter quoted on the basis of a bike without accessories. Now you need the insurance, somebody is trying to cover their tracks. The Insurer you named gets Involved In exactly the same amount of claims wriggling as just about every other Insurer, but they do not come across my radar as actively “bent.” However, what you are being told crosses from the line of reluctance to pay out a claim to actively misleading you from a position of authority.

Someone in your position In England and Wales could take them to the small claims court. I cannot tell you what the position is in your home jurisdiction of Northern Ireland, but your local Citizens Advice Bureau will certainly be able to explain your options.

The second remedy open to you is the Financial Conduct Authority. First of all, you need to put in a formal complaint. In writing, setting out succinctly the nature of your complaint. “I paid for the Insurance and declared a number of expensive accessories on my motorcycle, which your company has declined to pay out on for no good reason” just about sums it up. You then have to go through the company’s internal review process – and if you do not get a satisfactory response within 28 days you should refer the matter on to the Financial Ombudsman Service.

Andrew Dalton

RiDE Magazine May 2017

Andrew Dalton is a highly experienced trial lawyer who delights in taking on difficult and demanding motorcycle cases. He has a tough and relentless litigation style and is utterly focussed on getting the best possible outcomes for his clients.

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