When am I not covered – Issue 2

One of the things we get asked all the time at Club meets, shows, on the phone and online is, “What am I not covered for?” Over the next few weeks, we will be compiling a series of short articles to help you understand a bit more about the exclusions in your PDS.

Please be aware, these articles focus on the major issues and should not be viewed as a substitute for appropriately looking through your PDS before deciding to take up coverage with Club 4X4.

This time around we will focus on contribution to, or intentional creation of a loss or claim. What we discuss in this article can be referenced back to page 18 of our PDS. As the heading indicates, this section is geared towards coverage exclusions where the claimant’s activities contributed to the claim or, that their actions indicate that the claim or loss was intentional.

Here are a few of the important points:

1. Doing something illegal

We often call out at club talks and the like that you won’t be covered if you’re doing something illegal whilst driving. Here are some points to clarify that

a) If you or the driver were conducting some sort of criminal act at the time – think the ram raiders who were using Patrols and large fourby’s at one stage to steal ATMs. This clause can extend into any criminal activity being undertaken at the point of the accident or claimable event occurring. Obviously if the vehicle was stolen and the mongrel who took it conducted these acts, you will be covered for the theft and damage caused.

b) If the vehicle was overloaded. In the last issue we spoke about carrying more people than the vehicle is licensed to carry – while this applies to this clause, it’s more about carrying more weight than is legal. Twisted chassis and other damage are a tell-tale sign of this and will be investigated appropriately to ensure your vehicle wasn’t overloaded when the damage occurred.

c) This is an odd one that is found in many PDS, carrying explosive material illegally will land you in hot water – no pun intended.

2. Protecting your vehicle

Surely everyone has heard those horrendous stories of old mate who shows up to buy your truck, then drives off with it. It’s an all too common tale and you need to be vigilant. Never let anyone test drive your vehicle without you in it, because if they don’t come back you’re not covered!

Furthermore, if your vehicle isn’t secured or left in a secure place after it’s been broken into or accidentally damaged, any further damage wont be covered. A great example is if you’ve had an accident and the vehicle can’t be driven – leaving it unlocked or parked somewhere that is of questionable safety will cause you issues.

If you need to have the vehicle towed to a safe location you should do just that! If you are in doubt, give your insurer a call and see what they have to say – I’d imagine in most cases they would recommend removing or towing it away!

3. Outsiders

Here’s a couple that you may not have heard before. If you’ve been recommended by your doctor not to drive based on a medical condition or medical treatments, you probably should heed the advice! If you’re found to have been medically unfit to drive, you may not be covered for the damage to yours or other people’s property.

Another one that doesn’t come up often is if your vehicle was legally confiscated – some examples could be confiscation by law enforcement or a debt collection agency. Basically, any damage caused whilst under re-possession will not be covered by this policy.

4. Vehicle Condition

This one is a big one for all of us, so we’ll chunk this down further:

a) Damaged or un-roadworthy vehicles – This particular clause is referring to driving a car that has been damaged. An example might be that you’ve bent a steering arm tackling a double black diamond track. Driving your rig home in that condition is going to be an issue, as it would have a significant effect on stability, control and ultimately roadworthy and safe condition. Another classic example is where you may have had a stick puncture the radiator – resist the urge to limp it home with top-ups and regular stops. Whilst the original damage to the radiator is a claimable event, a seized engine because you continued to drive it will not be covered as your decision to continue driving would contribute to that.

b) Legal Modifications – This is one that we have outlined in detail in various face to face settings, forums, blog posts and even pod-casts. The clause regarding this piece is actually found in our SPDS, as it was subjected to some adjustment following feedback from the market. We re-iterate that an illegal modification needs to be contributory to an incident for it to be an issue. This is NOT condoning illegal modifications; rather it’s applying a sensibility factor, which we feel is relevant to us as 4X4 enthusiasts. So let’s say you’re running taller tyres and lift, which in combination make your overall height taller than what is legal in the state in which it is registered. If you roll that vehicle, on or off-road, there’s a good chance you will have issues around coverage, as that modification would have contributed to the incident. However, if you were to back into a bollard in a carpark, not so much. The obvious answer is to stay within the legal boundaries OR get your vehicle engineered. This follows the “contributory” nature of this PDS section, but we have had market feedback that it isn’t clear enough. We will be revising this clause soon to make it clearer.

 

So that’s Issue 2, please feel free to ask questions or comment!

 

Click here to read previous issue 

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Comments 17

  1. Mark Holly

    Dear 4×4 team,
    I really wish vehicles that were illegally modified were not covered by your firm.
    These irresponsible people have chosen to do the wrong thing, what does that say about their responsibility levels?
    Clearly, the safe drivers are subsidizing this group of clowns that should not be on the road putting innocent lives at risk.
    Yes, it is that serious, one example would be if oversize tyres are fitted and bigger brakes are not the braking distance increases, that could mean the difference between running a kid down or just stopping in time.

    I find it very concerning you are prepared to insure drivers that chose to make their vehicles unsafe, and illegal.
    Mark Holly

    1. simon

      What is safe? That which is determined by law? In which country? In which state?
      You seem to equate someone as a ‘safe’ driver as long as they comply with state law.
      When my vehicle is compliant in one state (i.e SA) and then non-compliant in another state (i.e. WA), do I suddenly become an unsafe driver when I drive across the border?

      Laws change. Laws are often wrong. The law is often written for the lowest common denominator (for the irresponsible, who don’t take responsibility for themselves and others). Don’t assume everyone who has an illegal mod is automatically irresponsible and unsafe.

      1. Mark Holly

        Hi Simon,
        you are pretty defensive there mate! I could guess you have gone a little hard on mods without getting them engineered.
        It’s pretty simple mate, it’s either roadworthy and legal, OR it’s unroadworthy AND illegal.
        If someone intentionally makes illegal mods to a vehicle for selfish reasons so they can get up a track while at the same time placing other road users at risk, then that creature doesn’t deserve the privilege to be on the roads.

        There are lots of over the top mods you can do to a vehicle, and I am in no way saying you can’t, but they have to be done by an engineer certified by your state roads/vehicle authority.
        Far too many people take it upon themselves to call something safe, when in fact they have no bloody idea how dangerous they just made their vehicle.
        Mark Holly

  2. michael sherman

    the way i see it, is as long as your vehicle is legal in the state it is registered in, then it is legal in all states.

    why would anyone want to make “illegal” mods for in the fist place.!!

    especially in something important like tyres and not bothering to make sure the brakes are improved , is just plain stupid.!!

    i do not know if England stills does this or not, but when i was living there you had to have a Road worthy check every year before it could be registered for the next year, this could stamp out the stupid people from making “illegal” mods to their vehicles.

    i am on the roads 8 – 10 hours a day/night, and you would be surprised as to the state of some of the vehicle on the road, lights not working, or not even switched on.!! hooning/racing erratic driving. etc…

    1. Chris

      Yes Michael the UK does have annual roadworthies, once the vehicle has reached three years old. It keeps the dangerous vehicles of the road and you don’t see one out of 3 cars with headlamps not working at night like you do down here!

  3. Mathew Powell

    Obviously Toyota has not fixed the issues of the narrower wheel track in the rear axel so I’m pretty sure you would have seen this before and wondering if you have any insight on the following for me.
    As my car was an absolute pig to drive on the sand and quite scary at times.
    Are offset rims illegal? I currently run -50 in the rear and 0 in the front.
    Will they make my insurance void if something was to go wrong.?
    Thanks

    1. Post
      Author
      Kalen

      Hi Mathew,

      Yes, hard to believe that even with the latest update Toyota didn’t take the opportunity to fix that issue.

      Legalities can vary by state, so your best bet is to engage with your local road authority to find out what the rules are around increasing track on the vehicle.

      Our stance regarding modifications is that they need to have contributed to an accident in order to have been an issue.

      Hope that helps!

  4. Phil

    Thank you for these articles. This is the first insurance company that I’ve come across that actually goes out of its way to offer simple and sensible information. Much appreciated.

    1. Post
      Author
  5. stan turner

    Iam buying a van with a gvm of 2600kg but if i only loaded the van to 2499kgs as my prado towing capacity is only 2500kg will I still be legal and cover by my insurance TIA

    1. Post
      Author
      Kalen

      Hi Stan,

      No you wont simply because the van is rated to carry the higher amount. Also take note of your ball weight – make sure that is also compliant.

      Cheers

      1. Alan Johnston

        If that is the case, if I have a trailer rated to carry 3.5t and is empty, does that mean I cannot tow the trailer if the vehicle is rated at 3t. even if the empty trailer only weighs 1t.

    2. John Staker

      Stan, I have a caravan which seemed too light by the rating plate so I emptied it & put it over a weighbridge. The result was that the caravan was almost 500 kg heavier than the rating plate stated. The second thing is that if equalizer bars are fitted for leveling the car/caravan, some chassis cannot take the stresses placed on them when the car & caravan go into a steep dip such as a gutter. This is because the the equalizer bars are trying to level the car & caravan when in fact the back of the car is in the dip & the front of the caravan is also down in the dip.
      It is always better to be cautious when buying a caravan. It doesn’t take much to increase the weight with an extra kg for every litre of water in the tanks & 9kg for each gas bottle.

  6. Warren Price.

    Going by what I have read above, if the vehicle is NOT roadworthy,
    a claim may be refused.

    If a clearance light was not working, then the vehicle does not comply with
    the road traffic act and, indeed can be issued with a defect notice.

    On this basis, it would appear that a claim could be refused.
    This is a very elastic area.

    1. Post
      Author
      Kalen

      Hi Warren,

      We have taken a fair bit of feedback in this space. It would seem the intent isn’t mirrored clearly enough in the wordings – we thought it was, but if the market doesn’t then we have an issue! We will be noting this for when we make our next PDS review.

      Kalen

  7. Pingback: When am I not covered – Issue 3 - CLUB 4X4

  8. Pingback: Claims Explained: What you NEED to know - Issue 2 - CLUB 4X4

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