The fully comp minefield

The fully comp minefield

If you hear words like this from your fully comprehensive insurers: ‘it sounds to us like it was a non-fault accident. Do not use your fully comprehensive insurance, it is much better for you to use our approved repairers, do not claim on your insurance and save yourself the policy excess and having an accident on your records,’ alarm bells should ring. Because, while it all sounds lovely and entirely sensible it is, in reality, an absolute minefield…

Your fully comp insurance is a matter of contract. So long as the risk is insured, your insurers have to fix your motorbike’s collision damage and you do not need to prove anything. All you need to do is pay your excess. If you use your fully comp insurance your insurers will have a conversation with the other driver’s Insurers, and if the accident was their fault, they recover your repair costs (outlay is the technical term) and reinstate your no claims bonus (NCB). If it was six of one they will apportion between the insurers and bang goes your NCB, and if it was your fault your insurers pay out and your NCB will be lost.

However, when the other guy’s insurers are paying for you, you have to prove negligence, if it is denied, then you may be off to Court, and if your motorbike is still under warranty should a non-franchised dealer get his spanners to your motorbike, your warranty is invalidated. There is an understandable but nevertheless mythical urban, well, myth, that a non-franchised dealership work does not invalidate your warranty. While that is true for cars, it is not so for motorcycles. So if you do have a spill, and you have a fully comprehensive policy, use it. Get your motorbike repaired and do not be fobbed off chasing the third party, possibly all the way to Court.

If your case ‘splits’ i.e blame is split between you and the other driver, or liability is successfully defended, you become liable for the repair costs. In order for the claims management company to bring a successful claim for the repairs, you have to be personally liable for them. Your insurer and their brokers naturally want to shift this risk to someone else’s insurers, so do not let them off the hook. You have paid for fully comp so use it, and do not accept the illusory advantage of ‘keeping your no claims.’ You have reported a collision. Until it is all sorted out between the insurers you have no NCB.

Finally, many of these claims are held open as ‘unresolved’ allowing both parties insurers to load policies. Improperly, without NCB and making you a less attractive proposition to their competitors. When it is their own money they are recovering, they tend not to play these games. In my view, if I get knocked off my motorbike, my fully comp insurers are paying for it, and they can sort out the problem afterwards.

Andrew Dalton

Bike Magazine October 2018

Posted by Andrew Dalton. Last modified: August 24, 2018 at 10:37 am

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 focused on getting the best possible outcomes for his clients.
Disclaimer: The legal advice and statements contained within this/these articles is correct at the time of printing. If you are seeking legal advice after a motorbike accident please contact us to speak directly with one of our lawyers.


  1. I am going through the same scenario above. My broker is Carol Nash. My non fault accident happened on 08/08/18 and I still have not received my repaired motorcycle back yet. I can only conclude that motorcycle insurance is a legal necessity but a complete joke.

  2. andrew DaltonJanuary 21, 2019

    The problem is John you are on this treadmill. Carole Nash are no different to any other insurers. They all do the same – and once you have initiated the claim against the 3rd party there is a perverse incentive to keep your bike earning the insurer storage and repair fees. It is even worse if you have a bike on hire. It boils down to this. The insurers all compete on premium, so if you have a low premium the insurers have to make up the money elsewhere. The average cost of claims has gone up and it is not because of ambulance chasing lawyers and fake whiplash claims. Injury claims have gone down steadily. It is because even a relatively minor bang with modern vehicles involves a lot more repairs. An LED front cluster in a couple grand and if the airbags go off in a 20mph bang, stick another £1500 on the bill. So insurers twig how to “back load” and generate money off the back of claims. They are not allowed to sell them to solicitors any more so the insurers now own solicitors who operate in this legal (whether or not it is moral is a matter for others to judge) environment. we are one of the very few wholly independent firms with no links or referral arrangements with brokers or insurers. We are rather freer to comment than those who need the insurers to keep piling work into them. We can call it as we see it. What they do is legal and common practice. Whether or not it is a good idea for the consumer is a rather different proposition.

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