Garage fire that wiped out stash of spares sparks a 12-month in­sur­ance strug­gle – what ev­ery clas­sic owner needs to know

Classic Car Weekly (UK) - - Front Page - Mur­ray Scul­lion

Aclub that’s spent a year fight­ing for an in­sur­ance pay­out af­ter one of its mem­bers lost a parts stash in a fire is urg­ing all clas­sic own­ers to doc­u­ment their spares. The A30-A35 Own­ers’ Club says that it has taken months of wran­gling to se­cure a pay­out af­ter the garage full of com­po­nents, worth an es­ti­mated £10,000, was de­stroyed in a fire in May last year. Be­cause the cache of valu­able parts, built up since the 1980s and a valu­able life­line to own­ers run­ning the ‘ baby’ Austin mod­els, was not fully doc­u­mented, the club has strug­gled to re­cover the cost of the de­stroyed parts.

Club sec­re­tary Steve Neathey says: ‘ You just don’t think it’ll hap­pen to you.’

‘It’s cru­cial to keep as many re­ceipts as pos­si­ble for your spare parts’ EMMA AIREY, RH

Aclub com­mi­tee mem­ber who lost a 30-year parts stash in a fire – and then spent a year fight­ing to re­cover its costs – is warn­ing clas­sic fans to doc­u­ment all their car com­po­nents.

More than 300 Austin parts in a cache be­long­ing to the A30-A35 Own­ers’ Club sec­re­tary, Steve Neathey, were oblit­er­ated in the blaze last May, but a lack of doc­u­men­ta­tion meant that it’s taken months of wran­gling to re­cover some – but not all – of the costs.

Steve says: ‘ You just don’t think it’ll hap­pen to you. I was very lucky that I could pho­to­graph the re­mains – if not, I prob­a­bly wouldn’t have got any money back.

‘The prob­lem is that en­thu­si­asts and car clubs have a lot of the spares that have been ac­quired many years ago, of­ten do­nated, with no pur­chase or re­ceipt. ‘I only found out in pass­ing when I spoke to our club con­tact for in­sur­ance com­pany RH, Emma Airey. She men­tioned that spare parts for cars in­sured un­der the pol­icy were cov­ered. I had three cars on the pol­icy so raised a claim for the spares for each of the cars which re­sulted in a very long list of bits and pieces.’

Pan­els, elec­tri­cal spares and tools were all de­stroyed in the garage blaze in Bath, Som­er­set. Only a weld­ing ma­chine sur­vived.

For­tu­nately for Mr Neathey, a com­bi­na­tion of emails from other club of­fi­cials who had vis­ited his garage and photographs of the burnt re­mains re­sulted in a full pay­out from RH.

Emma Airey, ac­count ex­ec­u­tive for RH says: ‘The claim high­lights the fact that it’s cru­cial to keep as many re­ceipts as pos­si­ble for your spare parts. In the ab­sence of re­ceipts, we will still re­quire ev­i­dence in the event of a claim.

‘In this case, Mr Neathey was able to sup­ply pho­tos of the spare parts both be­fore and af­ter the fire. This, ac­com­pa­nied by tes­ti­mo­ni­als from the club’s fel­low com­mit­tee mem­bers as to the own­er­ship of the parts by Mr Neathey, re­sulted in the claim be­ing suc­cess­ful.’

Plenty of clas­sic own­ers have stashes full of spare parts to keep their cars go­ing – but they’re of­ten un­der­in­sured or not fully doc­u­mented.

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