If it looks too good to be true…

If it looks too good to be true…

If you have a crash which looks likely not to be your fault your insurance brokers can, and frequently do, go into a feeding frenzy for money.

The most money a broker makes on an insurance claim is hiring you the replacement bike. Before you take up the offer of a ‘free’ bike know these things…

The bike is not free. You are entering into a binding contract to pay usually between £100 and £120 per day for the use of a serviceable but unexciting motorcycle. The ‘delivery note’ usually has printed on the back of it a binding Consumer Credit Act contract which renders you personally liable to pay for every penny of that hire so tread carefully.

Secondly, you are likely to need to go to court to justify the need for what can be an expensive hire, and thirdly, without you being liable in law for the bike hire the contract is unenforceable against anyone, so all the assurances you get from your broker aren’t worth a thing.

Your finances will become a matter of disclosure, usually the insurer for the other vehicle will demand, and the court will order production of a year’s worth of your bank statements and you will be required to explain your need for a hire vehicle.

If you can jump through all of these hoops your insurance brokers will have a very nice pay day, along with the bike hire company, who your insurance brokers probably own.

There is a terribly perverse issue here ie your insurers are supposed to be sorting out your bike while you are ‘on hire’ with a bike they are taking hundreds of pounds of weekly profit from. In the meantime the bike you chose to ride languishes unrepaired, clocking up hire charges, with ali kinds of difficulties (real or imagined).

The wisdom of the ancients is cui bono? Who benefits? It is not you. You may think you have a free bike, and it looks very attractive on the first phone call. I have seen these cases unravel and desperate men come to me being threatened by their own insurance brokers with bankruptcy over hire bills: the worst hire bill I have seen is £56,000, where the damaged bike was worth less than a grand. So, unsurprisingly, when a bike worth a few thousand pounds appears to attract storage and hire charges multiple times the original bike’s value the insurers for the other driver may have a questions to ask.

This is likely to end up with you giving sworn evidence that you were fully aware you were liable for the charges. As someone who has been offered this deal I know I was told ‘don’t worry mate, you’ll never have to pay’ so these parasites will cheerfully force you to perjure yourself and if you break under cross examination the Judge may decide prison is appropriate. This is high stakes business and the only person who can lose is the honest punter with his, ahem, free bike.

Andrew Dalton

Bike Magazine December 2018

Posted by Andrew Dalton. Last modified: January 3, 2020 at 4:45 pm

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. Brilliant advice Andrew
    I had a similar thing with my van I just put a tiny scratch on the bumper of a newish 4×4 in a supermarket car park and being an honest kind of chap went in and found the owner and offered to pay for the damage myself. the owner agreed to get a quote and give me the opportunity to settle the bill. But subsequently after her insurers had put her in a big 4×4 for 6 weeks while her bumper was being painted the bill was over £3000. she didn’t contact me and I was chased up by the insurance company and accused of not reporting an accident. maybe next time I wont be able to find the owner when I go looking but hopefully there wont be a next time. Is this activity by the insurance a crime of some sort?
    Kind regards

  2. Andrew DaltonMarch 25, 2019

    Unfortunately Vince it is not a crime even though it bloody well should be. This is one of the major factors driving insurance through the roof. As a firm we just do not get involved in this hire scam. My wife had her truck (she has horses and therefore has a giant Isuzu monster truck) bumped in a car park. we asked the other guy’s insurance to replace the vehicle for the 2 days it took the repair to be done at our local Isuzu garage. Even so, my wife has had her insurance loaded for the last 2 years despite the fact that her truck was locked with the handbrake on and she was outside of it watching some chap just make a bit of a pig’s ear of judging a slow corner. We would have been better of with the chap just paying the £600 odd repair bill directly and we avoided the credit hire scam. But insurers are in a death spiral of inflating claims against other insurers through the use of “accident management companies” who cream off these very expensive hire charges. You have learnt an expensive and painful lesson. Trust insurers about as much as you would a rattlesnake and you’ll be about right.

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