The fully comp mine­field

BIKE (UK) - - KNOW HOW - with An­drew Dal­ton Se­nior part­ner at White Dal­ton Solic­i­tors with 20 years of le­gal ex­pe­ri­ence

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 bike’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 bike is still un­der war­ranty should a non-fran­chised dealer get his span­ners to your bike, your

‘If I get knocked off my bike, my fully com­pre­hen­sive in­sur­ers are pay­ing for it’

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 bike 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 bike, my fully comp in­sur­ers are pay­ing for it, and they can sort out the prob­lem af­ter­wards.

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