In­sur­ance shake-up means older ve­hi­cles in­volved in crashes could be forced off the road – here’s how to pro­tect your car

Classic Car Weekly (UK) - - Front Page -

Clas­sic own­ers could be forced to have their cars scrapped when over­hauled in­sur­ance write-off cat­e­gories come into ef­fect.

A clause ex­empt­ing some, but not all his­toric ve­hi­cles has been in­cor­po­rated into the As­so­ci­a­tion of Bri­tish In­sur­ers’ new Code of Prac­tice, but the Fed­er­a­tion of Bri­tish His­toric Ve­hi­cle Clubs is en­cour­ag­ing own­ers to check the de­tails of their poli­cies.

Com­mu­ni­ca­tions di­rec­tor, Geoff Lan­caster, says: ‘Once an en­gi­neer has al­lo­cated a cat­e­gory to a dam­aged ve­hi­cle, the code makes the con­se­quences, which can in­clude scrap­ping, ef­fec­tively au­to­matic.’

In­sur­ance write-off cat­e­gories will change in Oc­to­ber 2017 in a bid to keep dan­ger­ous crash-dam­aged cars off the road.

The Fed­er­a­tion of Bri­tish His­toric Ve­hi­cle Clubs (FBHVC) is urg­ing own­ers of clas­sic ve­hi­cles to make sure that their in­sur­ance pol­icy stip­u­lates that if their ve­hi­cle is dam­aged, the ve­hi­cle will fall out­side the re­mit of the new Code of Prac­tice.

Th­ese new cat­e­gories will re­place ex­ist­ing A,B, C and D classes with A,B, S and N to re­flect the com­plex­ity of ve­hi­cles - which can make it harder for dam­aged cars to be safely re­paired.

The As­so­ci­a­tion of Bri­tish In­sur­ers (ABI), which co-or­di­nates the codes, says that they are chang­ing so there is a greater fo­cus on the con­di­tion of the ve­hi­cle, rather than the re­pair costs. It’s hoped this will put an end to scrap cars be­ing put back on the road.

Geoff Lan­caster, com­mu­ni­ca­tions di­rec­tor of the FBHVC, says: ‘The new write off cat­e­gories form part of a new Code of Prac­tice which has been drafted over a sig­nif­i­cant pe­riod of time.

‘Once an in­spect­ing en­gi­neer has al­lo­cated a cat­e­gory to a dam­aged ve­hi­cle, the code makes the con­se­quences, which can in­clude scrap­ping the ve­hi­cle, ef­fec­tively au­to­matic. ‘The Fed­er­a­tion was un­happy about the im­por­tance placed on the cost of re­pairs in the de­ci­sion of the cat­e­gory to be al­lo­cated and con­sid­ered that for his­toric ve­hi­cles and in­deed other spe­cially cher­ished ve­hi­cles this cri­te­rion would of­ten be in­ap­pro­pri­ate. In th­ese cases the owner might wish to ef­fect re­pair re­gard­less of cost. The par­tic­i­pants in the code ac­cepted this, sub­ject only to con­sid­er­a­tions of safety and health.’ Ac­cord­ingly, the fol­low­ing para­graph ap­pears in the Code of Prac­tice thanks to the FBHVC: ‘It is recog­nised that some his­toric/ clas­sic ve­hi­cles or ve­hi­cles of special in­ter­est may be re­paired ir­re­spec­tive of ex­tent of da­m­age, pro­vid­ing it is safe to do so. In th­ese cases the ve­hi­cle will fall out­side the Code of Prac­tice, which will not ap­ply.’

Hagerty In­ter­na­tional mar­ket­ing di­rec­tor, Mar­cus Atkin­son, says: ‘The key word in this new rul­ing is “some”. It might be that if a car worth £4k costs £6k to re­pair then it’ll be worth it in the eyes of the owner, but if that car is in­sured with a main­stream in­surer it’ll be checked by a main­stream ex­pert, and then you could be in trou­ble.

‘ We have our own net­work of ex­perts and in­sur­ers and could ar­range for parts to be fab­ri­cated if nec­es­sary. We think it’s a move that sup­ports the clas­sic in­dus­try.’

Da­m­age this ex­ten­sive could see a clas­sic be­ing scrapped au­to­mat­i­cally.

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