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!
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!