Your tricky le­gal ques­tions an­swered

MCN - - LIFE ON BIKES - Visit or email an­ or call 01446 794169 So­lic­i­tor and author of the MCN Law col­umn for the last ten years

‘If a claim were to be made, in­sur­ers wouldn’t pay out’

QAm I cov­ered if I buy a bike with an il­le­gal ex­haust fit­ted?

Some deal­ers are of­fer­ing new and used bikes fit­ted with ‘per­for­mance’ or ‘race’ ex­hausts that aren’t road-le­gal, let­ting you ride out of the shop like that. When I quizzed a sales­man about in­sur­ance cover he was pretty vague. Now I know you should tell your in­surer, but will any­one ac­tu­ally in­sure you with that set-up on the road? If you do not tell them (and I sus­pect many don’t) and ride any­way, does this to­tally void your in­sur­ance in all cir­cum­stances? Gra­ham Lamb, Manch­ester

ABuy­ers should ask the dealer for writ­ten as­sur­ances if un­sure. And in­sur­ers should ask clear ques­tions about facts they con­sider ma­te­rial when of­fer­ing cover. As the bike is il­le­gal from day one, to get cover agreed the buyer must have failed to tell the in­surer a ma­te­rial fact or de­lib­er­ately mis­led them when asked spe­cific ques­tions.

If a claim were to be made and the in­surer dis­cov­ered the non-road-le­gal ex­haust they would refuse to pay, as they would never have in­sured it had they known it was not roadle­gal. This is dif­fer­ent to a case in which there was a non-ma­te­rial breach (for ex­am­ple, the le­gal af­ter­mar­ket parts in­creased a bike’s mar­ket value over the amount in­sured). There the in­surer could pay out, but charge the in­sured the ad­di­tional pre­mium it would have, if it had been aware of a le­gal mod­i­fi­ca­tion at the out­set. An­drew Camp­bell

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