Policy Changes – Water Crossing Claims

Those of you that follow our blogs regularly would have come across our Club 4X4 Crash Index  that we published in 2017. In that article, we divulged with transparency how our growing portfolio has performed from a claims perspective and outlined where the majority of our losses were coming from. Single vehicle incidents led the way, with a significant representation of water damage resulting from failed water crossings.

The challenge with these sorts of claims is that a water ingress claim often leads to a total loss, while single vehicle incidents mean there is no third party to recover any of the costs from. When you factor in the way we assign a value to your four-by-four – with the generous inclusion of modification and accessories added to your total sum insured, total losses cause much more damage to us than they do for a normal motor insurer. Furthermore, the costs that we can recover from salvage, if we can manage to sell the water damaged four-by–four is generally not much more than a standard model of the same vintage and variant.

Rest assured, we are not whinging. A general insurer may have a few water ingress claims from failed water crossing attempts a month – but as they are not specialised, they only have to pay out the value of the vehicle anyway. No portable valuables are covered, no financial cover for the accessories and that’s if you’re even covered driving where you were! Amongst the lot of the general insurers across the country, the total exposure of real 4×4 touring enthusiasts would be three fifths of the proverbial – in short, they don’t really care and paying out a few a year isn’t going to affect them too much.

But we at Club 4×4 have no other interest but in being the Insurer of choice for the 4X4 Enthusiast. ALL of our customers go off-road rather than a small handful (and we wouldn’t have it any other way!) Basically we are concentrating the risk associated with off-road driving into our portfolio. All good, “that’s what we chose” as we hear you say, right?

The fundamentals of insurance revolve around the concept of community funding. Everyone pays a small proportion of the value of their risk, which goes into a pool which is invested to then pay claims as required. This, combined with a deductible or excess then facilitates the management of a claim, be it the costs of repair or payment of the total value of the risk. Whilst a combination of excess and premium is required, the premium is what holds the most weight and carries the largest contribution towards future costs.

SO WHAT?

Well, we’ve had to make changes. Without some intervention, the book would become unsustainable, which may have led to the need to remove coverage for such events – hardly an ideal scenario for a 4X4 Insurer! So by rejecting the option to remove the coverage, there are only two levers that remain available; premium and excess.

Let me digress for a moment. We have all seen the videos, a new one is posted online seemingly everyday. Usually involving someone who either doesn’t know or doesn’t care about the consequences of unprepared or irresponsible water crossing. We even shared one following our disbelief, and surprisingly had a number of you actually posting comments like “ hope you guys don’t cover this sort of irresponsibility – I don’t want to be paying for that”. That sentiment was EXACTLY why we chose not to go down the path of increasing premiums across the board – although in reality that would’ve been the most reliable and quickest option.

Nope, we felt the most equitable way to handle this situation was to impose a special excess on claims that occur as a result of failed crossings. This way the “penalty” only applies where a claim is made. As we all know, a claim for water ingress or hydrolock is something that can be controlled. Many of the clips we alluded too before boggle the mind. People entering waterways that would be way in excess of the manufacturer fording depth, at times with no snorkel, no water bra, in water that you couldn’t walk through with concrete blocks for shoes! We agreed with you all, that people who choose to put themselves and vehicles at risk in these conditions should be the ones penalised. Those who do the right thing by walking it first, assessing depth and what the base feels like– or who choose to go around the crossing or wait things out should not have to fund those who don’t take the appropriate precuations. After all, the goal is to get to the destination not do the most damage possible right?

From today onwards, all new business policies and all renewals generated will include this new excess. The excess will consist of a $2000 flat amount, with 5% of the total sum insured on top. So if you drive a vehicle that’s insured for $50,0000 and drown it – that will be a flat $2000 + 5% of $50,000 ($2500) – a total of $4500. This will be charged above and beyond any excesses that may already apply to the claim. These will be noted on your Certificate of Insurance and are specific to your policy.

Thank you to all of you who have chosen to support us. Our vision is To Protect the Lifestyle of the 4X4 Enthusiast and you’re the reason why we continue to find ways to keep this product sustainable and available for many years to come.

In the coming weeks and months we will be increasing focus on responsible water crossing practises – in the meantime please read this blog we posted earlier to give you some summary insight on responsible water crossing.

Happy Touring

Kalen Ziflian
General Manager

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Comments 179

  1. Water about flooding not creek crossings. Don’t agree an excess is fair with current policies. If the driver does the right thing , walk it first use the right gear etc this “stupidity clause” should not apply. Instead should be if it’s priven the driver didn’t prepare ( you stipulate conditions) then a reckless driving excess applies…

    1. where I live we have a few water crossing , to date I have towed out of my crossing 5 Toyota tray backs some with snorkels some without all with blown engines, two ford falcons, two Holden’s, one energy Australia L 300 4wd, and I had no trouble driving my defender across to tow them all out.
      So how does an insurance company know if you are doing the right thing in the first place?.
      Toyota state that a snorkel is fitted to get clean cool air to your engine and not for water crossings.
      It cost the Toyota owners $12000.00 plus to get replacement engines fitted, and if I was the insurance company and saw what I saw I would not have covered them for there stupid actions.
      You do not drive across water at speed like that stupid add that ARB are showing at present you can blow an engine in 150mm of water if driven to fast.

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        Author

        Thanks Malcolm,

        You’re right – the standard 79 has a “raised air intake” not a snorkel from the factory.

        Thanks for your comments

        Kalen

    2. CLUB 4X4 TARGET THE POOR
      Mark I agree but what is bad about this is it targets the poorer 4×4 drivers.As an example on renewal this year my paj will be covered for about $9500 so if I happen to have a genuine accident while crossing a river I will loose $2000 + 5% $475 +$650 excess = $3125 = so I will lose 32.9 % value off my 4×4 .
      A person who has a $100000 4×4 will pay $2000 + 5% of =total 5000 + excess =$650
      will only lose 7.65 % the value of the 4×4 . This is crap and it’s not acceptable ?
      HAVE LOST ANOTHER CUSTOMER BYE CLUB 4 X 4 THE RICH

    3. Hi Mark
      having just read this article and your response, , you state its unfair if you do the right things, well Mate if you did the right things first, walked through the crossing, fitted all the right gear, you wouldn`t get stuck.
      There is a limit to what depth of water any vehicle can cross, and like all limits , if you cross the limit then you and you alone have to suffer the consequences. If you don`t understand this concept , ask your local cop about limits and I don`t necessarily mean speed limits. As noted on other posts, use your gopro to show what steps you took in preparing for your crossing.

  2. Very impressive guys. You’ve listened, showed full transparency and identified with your customers. As a marketing director, I rarely see this kind of behaviour from organisations. Well played.

  3. I think this approach is perfectly reasonable and affects the idiots who don’t think and don’t plan water crossings.

  4. (1) Does the added excess only apply to claims involving water immersion ? (2) What if all necessary precautions were taken and the vehicle has not made the crossing resulting in water immersion? As a current customer, who is very, very unlikely to be in that situation, I am concerned that Club 4X4 is taking steps to avoid genuine claims by sensible people. However if this policy weeds out the stupid who are costing other customers then I can see the sense in it. I wonder what the policy the other insurers is by way of comparison.

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      James,

      The excess applies to claims where the driver was driving into water for the purposes of crossing. No other water claim will be an issue. If you’re performing a crossing and get stuck, hydrolocked or have water ingress then you will be exposed to this new excess.

      We do not and never will avoid paying claims – let me make that very clear. This change is implemented to deter from irresponsible water crossing technique – there is ALWAYS a way around the crossing or a responsible way to approach it, if you choose to approach it at all. Having water lapping the bottom of your windscreen is not responsible for example. If the right precautions were taken then it would be clear that the water was too deep and it may be clear that there are holes in the bottom which may lead to your vehicle becoming an oversized floaty – leading to likely irreparable damage.

      As you’ve noted – you’re unlikely to be in this situation, presumably because you value your vehicle and are more interested in the destination that testing your door seals.

      For four wheel drivers like you, this change will not have any real affect. The difference is, rather than hurting everyone with a price increase, we are only penalising those who do the wrong thing.

      Kalen

      1. So, 4 x 4 caught in floods, not attempting a ‘crossing’ are not affected? What is deemed ‘a crossing’….that needs defining.

        1. I agree with Liz. I fully understand the purpose of the policy change, as James stated, to remove the loss of expense applied when people perform unnecessary events at a significant risk of failure because “ahh well, Im insured”. however, like James stated, what about those who took all necessary precaution, and an unforseen circumstance, caused ingress, ie if the snorkel that was factory installed, or manufacturer installed leaked, or if a driver crossed a knee deep causeway, and slipped off the edge due to incorrect markings?

          Also, is this the true wording of the policy change?
          “…the driver was driving into water for the purposes of crossing.” I would be curious if the wording would specifically relate to water crossings with intent to cross, in order to protect those whom got stuck on a beach, and suffered flooding.

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            Hi Joel,

            Unfortunately sometimes despite ones best efforts accidents happen. In those cases you will still be required to pay the excess.

            Personally, if i wasn’t 100% certain that i’m driving out the other side i don’t go in. With the correct preparation and walking the crossing 99% of the uncertainty should be removed – it’s how much you put into the 1% unknown that will matter here.

            Regarding your last point – that’s not the official wording – it will be on your Certificate of Insurance at renewal. So if you have a policy running currently, it remains as is until renewal – at renewal the new excess will be implemented.

            Cheers

            Kalen

      2. Like James I am a policy holder unlikely to be in the situation of drowning my car during a water crossing. My preference is always to take the easiest route & to avoid placing our vehicle, plus my wife and I at unnecessary risk. Nevertheless we have Club 4×4 insurance because we travel to remote areas. Generally we ensure the best we can that we are ‘covered’ with sufficient food & water supplies to ensure that if conditions change we can ‘wait’ rather than taking unnecessary risks. HOWEVER it is feasible that emergency situations can arise where ‘time is of the essence’ & a river crossing which may normally be avoided is required. I’m not talking ‘impossible’ crossings’ (In those circumstances the satphone/epirb)would be used to summon assistance) but perhaps those which push my comfort zone. Could such situations be considered on a case by case basis as ‘exceptions to the rule?

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          Hi Ian,

          Thanks for taking the time to respond – some very sensible thoughts there and i thank you for choosing to insure with us.

          My suggestion would be that where you aren’t certain enough about a crossing, then use that EPIRB or sat phone to summon help. You’ve done the sensible thing in carrying these items so i would definitely use them. Anything that doesn’t necessitate emergency assistance from the police or other authorities could be deemed not to be an emergency enough to risk drowning your car.

          I would think that in such an emergency the last thing you’d want to do is become stuck in the middle of a potentially dangerous waterway anyway wouldn’t you?

          Kalen

      3. in these days of electronic wizardry, and the inherent want to brag about Offroad adventures, maybe the GoPro or dash cam footage may assist in determining if the driver fell out of the stupid tree and hit every branch on the way down. but then, who would want to supply such footage to their insurer and prove they are silly.

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        2. Maybe have a clause where part (or all) of the excess can be waived if sufficient evidence (GoPro footage etc) is provided that proves all reasonable precautions were taken? Something along those lines would actually provide an incentive to have recordings of incidents sent through.

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  5. AAMI just won back a customer.

    You guys just keep adding exclusion after exclusion to the point where the cheap policy just isn’t insurance at all.

    I prefer an insurer who responds to a claim, rather than looking for any excuse to deny it.

    1. Post
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      Graham,

      This is not an exclusion – this is an excess. And it only applies where you’ve drowned a car – an event that need never happen if you know your own and your vehicles limits.

      Cheers

      Kalen

  6. You state the premiums would not rise – I’m an insurers wet dream yet my premium rose by $150 this year or 16% – not great!

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      Glen,

      The point about raising premiums was in reference specifically to the issue of losses resulting from vehicles becoming damaged following a water crossing. The way to fix that issue was to exclude it from coverage, increase premiums or impose an excess.

      We choose to impose a special excess rather than penalising everyone.

      Cheers

      Kalen

  7. I’m concerned, feels like I’m not really insured, which is the point of insurance. If we walk a crossing first, check the depth and bottom, use a car bra and take all / every responsible effort and all appears safe to successfully cross the river and something goes wrong you guys will still sting us!? I can understand an idiot clause but this seems like gouging.

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      NotHappyJan,

      Gouging would have been increasing your premium by 10% to cover for something your not likely to ever experience if you do approach the crossing responsibly. This special excess will only come in to play if it does happen.

      Cheers

      Kalen

  8. Excellent solution to the issue. Should make the unwise and uncaring SHOW OFFS stop and actually think about what they are attempting to cross. Nothing works better than hitting them in the hip pocket.

  9. I think this sort of sensible, well thought out and justifiable changes are great. Too often the sensible majority who do training, assess the situation and have a safe adventure, have to pay the price for the idiots who put themselves and their vehicles in danger. If these sort of changes are not put in place we all pay for it.

    1. You’ll still be paying for it. If someone drowns their $50,000 vehicle, they’ll pay a $4500 excess. They’ll still be putting premiums up to cover the rest of $45,500.

      I gave Club4X4 a chance, because they seemed to understand the 4x4ing. Won’t be renewing now, NRMA will cover me if I drown my vehicle crossing a river but my excess will only be $700 not nearly $6,000.

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        Matt,

        How much will NRMA pay you out? If your vehicle is factory standard then going back may make sense. If you’ve modified it, how much more do NRMA give you in the sum insured?

        and will they cover the fridge and contents that perish in your drawers in the back?

        Kalen

  10. Glad to see common sense has prevailed here. There is no way I want to be paying a higher premium on account of those that take no precautions and are simply reckless. You only have to watch a few social media videos like those on “bogged at inskip point” to realise how many clueless idiots are out there. Even if, and it’s a big if, my 4by was somehow stranded by floodwaters and an attempt had to be made to do a crossing and it was failed, the level of cover and inclusions made by a club 4×4 still outweighs paying this increased premium. It might make a few people lose the “she’ll be right” attitude and actually think twice.

  11. A great decision not to penalise everyone !! I agree and accept the reasons why this decision had to be made as I have seen a lot of D***heads out on the tracks that just plough on through everything without even stopping to check ( also the first to ask for a snatch, which annoys me due to THEIR actions )
    I have a very capable 4X4 but I also know it’s and my limitations.
    Your decision is fair and I for one am happy with it!
    Cheers
    David

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  12. What if we are camped near a creek and get caught out and really need to escape with trailers and family in tow. Can and does happen with no real choice to evacuate or to loose everything. Not really premeditated stupidity if it goes bad? Normally very conservative as I can not see any sense damaging a vehicle just for fun.

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      Dave,

      Thanks for that question

      Would you drive into the overflowing creek or out of it? I would presume you can turn around and drive the other way?

      Like i’ve said earlier in the thread – storm damage is covered as per normal and noted in the PDS.

      Kalen

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  13. As a fairly new customer to Club 4×4 (after switching from one of the big insurers) I can see both sides of this policy change and how it affects each party. On one hand I understand that being a specialised insurer that Club 4×4 would be exposed to more water ingress claims than the other motor vehicle insurers would be. On the other hand I can also see how this new excess will deter existing and potential new customers from joining Club 4×4. If when I was getting a quote for my $50K vehicle I was told that a water ingress claim would incur a total of 10% excess ($2000 excess + $2500 fee + $650 basic excess = $5150) I probably would have thought twice about taking out the policy. Would have I still taken out the policy…probably yes as there are many benefits to being with Club 4×4 that the others just don’t provide. However some just wouldn’t see it that way.

    Personally I have traveled through most of Cape York doing many water crossings, all without issues. It comes down to Risk vs Reward when crossing the creeks. The risk of flooding my vehicle was always there, with the reward seeing some amazing places on the other side. At the time I was still insured with the other insurer, which only had a $650 basic excess, so ultimately the risk was low. To put is bluntly, the risk has just significantly gone up with this new excess, which would now make me think twice about getting to that reward on the other side. It will be hard not to let this new excess take the adventure and excitement out of owning my 4×4 and seeing this amazing country of ours.

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      Grant,

      A very good summary of the situation and i hope you don’t stop enjoying your passion. Ultimately when your decision making errs further on the side of risk, you rely on an insurer to cover you. The issue with us is we cover your vehicle for what it’s really worth, not what some book tells us, along with potable valuables, recovery and the rest.

      Pointing the nose into that water is up to the one holding the wheel!

      Cheers for the thoughts

      Kal

  14. While I think this is a good idea that you penalize for a number of “idiots” out there, might I suggest you do the same for the “idiots” who take their vans off road when they shouldn’t ie the gibb river road. When I got my renewal for the camper it had jump excessively, when I rang to ask why the reason was too many claims for damage cars/vans going off road. Why should I be penalized for doing the right thing???? I will say this club 4×4 did reduce the car renewal when asked about it and that’s why I renewed again but i will shop around when it’s due again if the same thing happens.

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  15. Sounds fair to me. I would rather be insured for 95% less $2k than no insurance at all. I also prefer an excess to a premium increase.

  16. Kalen, as someone who would never risk damage to an alternator let alone drowning an engine or a vehicle just to ford a creek I feel it would be better limit the claim amount but reduce the excess. If someone stuffs up in conditions they decide is acceptable risk then maybe they forego some of the coverage. This maybe the cost of accessories and gear they are carrying, cameras camping gear etc. Maybe a fixed claim amount should be introduced in this situation with any repairs or write off paid out of this amount.
    4×4 insurance unlike many other insurance companies covers many more claims for damage the driver has full control over decisions made so some of the risk needs to be taken into account by the driver. If on the other hand a vehicle is stolen and driven into a creek the vehicle owner should not be penalized in this situation.

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      Hi Peter,

      Thanks for the comments. In essence, the excess does reduce the value of cover – but i suspect you’re talking about a much more substantial reduction.

      The feedback on a stolen vehicle is a good one and will be noted.

      Kalen

  17. I think this approach is reasonable and only affects wallies who don’t think and don’t plan water crossing; if by misfortune i do all the correct preparation and i end up, i am happy to wear it; 46 years and not happened yet; I’ll touch the top of my head now.

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  18. First of all I won’t be renewing my policy I already paid twice the premium rac quoted me for your cover second of all I had a mate who was on a gazetted road and had no other way home due to flooding and had this happen to him maybe the clause needs to state only if not on gazetted road as no other insurer would impose an addition excess in this situation

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      Justin,

      Sorry you’ve decided to leave us.

      Our stance on floodwater is pretty clear – if it’s flooded forget it. The risk of life and vehicle is not worth it and there’s plenty of evidence and media out there trying to get people not to enter floodwaters. We do not support it.

      We try not to sue the words “gazetted” and “not gazetted” – these are insurance jargon terms used by vanilla insurers – they’re on the list of banned words in our office.

      Regarding other insurers – yes, you’re correct. No other insurer offers this excess. But what do they actually offer and how does it compare to what you get with us?

      Kalen

  19. I full understand the need for the idiot clause and totally agree with it. But as i read it this is a blanket clause correct ? So no matter what precautions are taken if it goes wrong ( and it can) we will be hit with the excess

    Am i reading this correctly ?

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  20. I am very happy with 4×4 insurance, they are trying to keep the cost to all of us down. If your 4×4 is drowned it is 99% of the time your choice, so why should everyone else pay for it. If you get caught unawares by a flooding situation, even with the extra excess, you are still very well off, compared to those with no cover.

  21. Kalen – your challenge is to keep Club 4×4 insurance affordable for the long term for the 4WD community. Higher and ‘scaled’ excess for these types of events makes a lot of sense – and must assist to meet that challenge – very well thought out approach!
    I don’t intend to ever need to make a claim such as this – but it is reassuring that should an unforeseen situation arise that I need to make such a claim – then I will still have such a high level of cover!
    Brian

  22. Just a question.
    The 4wd is home parked the garage and I am away.
    The town suffers a flood.ie Brisbane Flood…my 4wd is at home..it is up to the bonnet with flood water.
    I have not driven it into flood waters…
    Do I have to pay the new excess?

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    2. very rare that you will do damage to your motor or transmission with out the vehicle operating, in that situation check engine and transmission for water entering these components before trying to drive if any water drain out and replace the oil if petrol remove spark plugs or diesel remove injectors and kick motor over to remove water from top of pistons.

      1. The electrics will then be the problem… water in all the connectors, stratarter, alternator, computers (ECU, BCM, TCM, etc, etc), PCBs, canbus cabling, and so on. I imagine the cost of replacing the multitude of electrical components sometimes will be enough to write off a vehicle. Even if not written off, then eventually the poor electrical connections due to oxidation and development of verdigris will see all the electrical gremlins appear in the vehicle forever into it’s future, becoming a reliability nightmare…

  23. Other companies won’t cover your extras and or cover you in the river because it’s not a gazetted road, or your not covered because willful damage isn’t covered! The idea is if you do, do all the right things you won’t need the insurance! But if something goes wrong it’s there you just pay extra due to the increased risk! They can’t make it apply to only the silly because they will fit a bra and snorkel mid crossing then Lodge the claim!

  24. Ahhhh! Some common sense!
    We don’t get much of that these days because as we all know all to often idiots never take responsibility or are held accountable for their own actions
    It’s always someone else’s fault!!
    Good to see Great Work!

  25. What it boils down to is; the policy is not working so everybody who fails a water crossing pays extra.

    I got the idiot/bogan/richard crainium factor and sure, something has to be done. Just a shame that, as has already been pointed out, those who do the right thing and through no fault of their own and/or reckless behaviour, have to bear the brunt of guilt by water association.

    The very nature of all offroad travel adds risk. Will there be a ____ (fill in the blanks) sequel? Beach travel comes to mind, so i’ll be watching this space.

    Wish there were a better way.

  26. I’m not insured with Club 4×4 but what they have done is fair and reasonable, if you consider that a replacement vehicle can be as much as $100000 200 series or a fitted out 79 series $5000 to $10000 is not significant in the grander scheme of things.
    Iam seriously considering changing my insurer I have to say.

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      Dennis

      It would be great to have you on board when the time comes.

      There is a certain company up north who do amazing conversions on 79’s and 200’s. The end result – an asset that’s worth more than twice the sicker value. They send all of there customers to a certain insurer because theyre the only ones who have the policy to cover them for their true investment!

      Kalen

    2. The flip side to this is insurance for older vehicles. I’m not insured with club4x4, but I did get a quote. For my GQ patrol it worked out that my premium was going to be close to 10% of the sum insured. Would you still get your $100,000 (insert upmarket 4×4 here) if your premium was close to 10 grand?

      Then, to top it all off, the flooding excess for my GQ would represent more like a quarter to one-third the total value of the vehicle, rather than the 5 – 7% of a 100K flagship.

      So in a nutshell, I thought that my old GQ would essentially be subsidising the more expensive fourbies out there.

  27. I 100% understand the problem you have with the cowboys plowing through any creek without necessary precautions. And I applaud your approach! BUT, at the end of the day, we are all still getting stung with the excess rise if our rigs drown through a crossing and every precaution was taken. Yes we can all take steps to avoid the crossing, and accidents happen I know that.
    What about if there was video footage showing the whole situation from checking the water, having the proper recovery gear and prep to the point where disaster struck and something fails? Would there be leniency given then?
    Thankyou for listening to your customers!

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      1. I agree. I have a dash cam and am a cautious driver but there may be a time where despite best efforts you do get stuck. I would like the ability to at least show the evidence of a well prepared crossing before paying a very large excess.

        Will do the comparison with my old insurer at renewal time. Depending on size of premium increase I suspect Club 4×4 will still be better value but the size of the gap will have been greatly reduced if the excess will be applied regardless of preparation.

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      Not sure Terry,

      Would need all of your policy details to answer that question.

      What I can say is that we decided NOT to increase premiums across the board further based on this issue.

      Happy to look at your policy if you want to send in your details to [email protected] and attention the email to me

      Kalen

  28. I’m never pleased to hear about premium or excess increases however I can understand the situation faced but club4x4 due to the original water damage policy. As much as I would prefer for the policy to remain unchanged I support a special excess in lieu of a premium increase. A few of you have asked – what if I have performed all due diligence but find myself stuck in a water crossing which leads to a claim? –
    How is an insurer supposed to know if due diligence was performed? This isn’t possible, the point is that if due diligence was performed you are unlikely to find yourself in a position to make a claim or you did not have the necessary skills to attempt the water crossing. As I said I don’t like creep costs with insurers however this change is certainly better than a premium increase. I would like to state to club4x4 that I believe the special excess could be reduced based on specific factors.e.g. the policy holder’s age, insurance history and no doubt that you would have extensive data from your claims history to assist in the profilling of high risk customers.

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      Nick,

      Very very well put – thanks very much for that.

      And you’re right, there is always opportunity to become more detailed with these policies – once we have a baseline and are confident that this measure will work, we will look at refinements.

      Kalen

      1. We are in the process of getting club 4×4 insurance and I am impressed by how engaged the 4wd community is in this issue and how responsive club 4×4 is to the comments. I agree it would greatly complicate things to specify methods of avoiding this special excess in the case of failed crossings. I applaud the approach of refining this policy though down the track to take into account evidence and driver history etc. I hope you guys have some skilled underwriters involved, and I expect this is the way of the 4wd insurance future to keep premiums down. A deterrant to idiots is appreciated.

  29. If the intent of the excess was really to discourage irresponsible water crossings, the special excess should only have targeted claims generated by those situations, i.e. when all necessary precautions have not been taken, not all water crossing. Sometimes things go wrong even without negligence, and the extra excess will penalise those situations as well. A further step of club 4×4 towards being less off-road friendly than other mainstream and smaller insurances.

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      Peter,

      Thanks for the comment – how do you propose to determine if the steps have been taken?

      If covering you for your mods appropriately, giving you certainty around where you’re covered, offering off-road recovery and portable valuables cover, discounts with 4×4 product providers, discounts on off-road driver training and access to a free 4×4 magazine subscription is making us less off-road friendly then we don’t know what being friendly might look like 🙂

      All those amazing vanilla insurance providers offering all the above features and benefits are making it very hard for us

      😛

      Kalen

  30. No probs with this. great idea. Thanks for the transparent explanation. However should be renamed ‘ moron water crossing excess’.

  31. A very fair and sensible proposal in principle. The excess is not unreasonable, just enough to make the prudent stop and think an plan. I reserve my final judgement till after reading the fine print on my next renewal.

  32. This is fantastic policy management.
    All I can say is good riddance to those cowboy knob jockies that think this is unfair.
    They are most likely “those owners” that we dont want having policies as they are the ones likely to push their vehicles past their limits doing dumb crap, writing off their vehicles and consequently penalising us responsible drivers in the long run with higher premiums.
    I personally have spent 10’s of thousands of dollars on my 4bie to ensure that it will cope with most situations but sensibility always must prevail when tackling off-road situations.
    Maybe some other insurance companies may cover stupidity, but they wont cover all the additional goodies on your ride either
    Good on you guys and gals. Great Aussie product

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  33. Fair enough I reckon.

    The people complaining need to consider that insurance companies are businesses and businesses need to make a profit to be viable. This means that the premiums need to cover the claim costs and the operating costs and have something left for profit.

    The way club4x4 has adressed this problem is in my opinion the most favourable option for the majority of policy holders.

    In response to Dave’s question regarding needing to escape a camp near a creek, surely it would be safer for you and your family to shelter in the vehicles and wait it out than risk crossing a creek that is beyond your vehicle’s capabilities.

    Whether or not an additional excess applies, if you fail the crossing you and your family would be stuck there with no shelter….

  34. I agree with the increase for those doing the wrong thing but how about those of us who use a water bra, have a snorkel and walk the crossing to confirm depth? I have been on trips where all safety measure where enacted but something unforseeable still happens. Are you going to still enforce this deductible?
    Your prices are already amongst the highest for insurance which should cover those costs. Can you demonstrate where this is actually a need to keep this insurance viable and not just a cash grab?

    1. Post
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      Michael,

      By taking all of the appropriate and prudent steps i think once can be 99% certain about a crossing. If you can really get to this point, you know there are no holes in either wheel rut, you know it’s not past your manufacturer fording depth, you know there are no hindrances to stop your progress under the water line, you know the surface at the bottom is suitable to drive on, you know the water isnt running fast enough to push you off coarse, you have your water blind on and a sealed snorkel that you can depend on and you know your vehicle is serviced and maintained appropriate.

      Outside of this the 1% is a calamity that no one can control. If you cannot put that 1% away in your mind then you do not take the crossing. If you do take the crossing you do so knowing that you run the risk.

      Regarding demonstration of the value of this product – i cannot do that for you i’m afraid. Firstly because i’m not in a position to advise you on your insurance needs and secondly because i may not think the same way as your do. My suggestion is that you take the time to understand the true differences in the product.

      Generally when i am asked about the worth of our product and it comes down to a $ comparison, it either means that the customer doesn’t understand our product (or the competitors product!), or they understand and don’t care enough to ensure their assets are appropriately covered, or really don’t value the benefits and features because they don’t really apply to them (ie they drive a stock vehicle and don’t really go off-road often). None of these scenarios are anything to be ashamed of, but it pays to take the time to understand more about what you’re ultimately paying for

      Kalen

  35. I’m not happy Kalen. Been with Club for 2 years, no claims, and for my next renewal the premium has jumped $20 per month. I rang on a Tuesday and queried it and the girl ( I have her name ) said she would query it with the underwriters as she to thought it was a bit excessive and get back to me later in the day. Apparently she tried to ring me on Thursday but couldn’t leave a message. I had no missed calls. I rang a couple of times on Friday and just sat on hold. In the end I left a message to ring me. I still hadn’t heard anything by Monday afternoon so I rang again. Finally got through and was told the premium is what it is because they have had a lot of claims. So I’ve done everything right and now I have to fork out more per month in my 3rd year because of other peoples misfortune or wrong doing. I said maybe I should think of getting a quote from somewhere else if you can’t do any better than that and was told again they can’t do anything for me. I used to love the show, the magazine (I’m a subscriber) and then the insurance when it came along. This whole insurance thing has left a sour taste in my mouth and makes me wonder what the whole claim process would be like if this is how you try to keep your existing customers. I suppose I’ve got till the 16th now to get some quotes and decide if I’m sticking with you or not. And if I don’t, I guess there’s no point watching Pat’s show with him telling me how good the insurance is or continue subscribing to the magazine. I’ve done nothing but yell to anyone that would listen around the campsite when it came to 4×4 insurance about what you covered and why it was worth what it was. I guess now I just say nothing or tell them why I used to be insured with you. I’m not sure how it works in there, but I have you Kalen, the general manager saying it wouldn’t be fair to increase the premium to those of us doing the right thing, but changing the excess system on water crossings where you are losing out. Fair enough, I’ll go round a water crossing or not at all if I can’t walk it and be positive it’s driveable. But on the other hand, I have a renewal form for a market value car that is another year older and a $240 premium rise for the year and when I queried it with your team I’m told it is what it is because of all the claims. I would really love to hear from you Kalen as I have to decide whether to renew again by 16-3-18. I would really love to know whether you do want to keep me as customer, do I have to pay the increase or should I start looking elsewhere as hinted by your team if I’m not happy to pay for the increase.
    Looking forward to hearing from you,
    Paul Barker
    Ph 0404819386

    1. Post
      Author

      Paul,

      You’ll hear from us soon.

      To be fair, please call a spade a spade, on risk we have a 2009 Patrol and on top of the market value you have almost $30,000 of modifications covered. Your comment above makes us sound like we’ve gone up that amount for a market value which is not the case.

      I’ve instructed my team to give you a call ASAP.

      Kalen

    2. I was insured for 2 years with club 4×4 I had a claim for an animal strike resulting in the replacement of my bullbar. This was noted as a no fault incident. The renewal letter arrived with an increase in premium of over $200, I queried this and the kind lady referred my case to the underwriter who wasn’t moved. I was unhappy with that response and sought quotes elsewhere, which I received from Suncorp, it doesn’t cover my accessories and add ons but it is $350 cheaper. Unfortunately I had just insured my camper trailer with Club 4×4 and am stuck with it for 12months not the outcome I would have preferred. Bad luck Club 4×4 you’ve lost a loyal customer.

      1. Post
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        Keith,

        Not at fault claims are one of our underwriting criteria, that’s why we ask for details on all claims when you do a quote.

        Lodging a not-at-fault claim will affect your premium.

        Cheers

        Kalen

  36. Ps. you have a typo in your blog. (extra 0)

    that’s insured for $50,0000 and drown it – that will be a flat $2000 +

    should be that’s insured for $50,000 and drown it – that will be a flat $2000 +

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  37. I understand Club 4X4’s desire to placate policy holder reactions to its policy changes, but the introduction of a distinction between ‘idiot drivers’ and ‘those who take the appropriate precautions’ is quite disingenuous. At the end of the day, the only point that matters is this one – “Unfortunately sometimes despite ones best efforts accidents happen. In those cases you will still be required to pay the excess.” So skip the ‘why pay for idiots’ – it’s irrelevant. Anyone and everyone who makes a claim for water ingress or hydrolock will need to pay an excess. Full stop. That’s the message – why not keep it simple and on point. For the population of idiots – enjoy the excess, you deserve it. For those that are careful and suffer that ‘1% event’ (your statement above Kalen), just be aware of the new excess when making your insurance provider comparisons.

  38. “Personally, if i wasn’t 100% certain that i’m driving out the other side i don’t go in.” Really? Kalen – with a 100% certainty criteria you either don’t get out much, or you can skip the need for insurance.

    1. Post
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      haha!

      You’re right, at the moment i don’t get our enough.

      I value the vehicle (despite it being owned by the business) and usually have two kids and a wife in it with me.

      So yes, really, i don’t go in if i know i’m not coming out the other side.

      Would rather go around and show my kids and myself something beautiful – i’ve done my time putting motorised items to the test – many years ago.

      Kalen

      1. An admiral point Kalen. One question. Do you drive every day on the same road? You expect to be insured and yet you have no guarantee that you will drive off the road you drove onto. Always that 1%. I suspect that most of your customers will now delete Cape York from their bucket list.

        1. Russel I think Kalen is saying as he has a company car none of the premium increases or excess affect him if anything where to happen.

          What I consider when I purchased my policy was how much value I was getting compared to other insurers …. Now all those extras seem to be dissapering and the different in the premium between you and another insurer would be better in my account and any claims I have had I’m sure I’ve paid 20x more in premiums than I’ve ever claimed

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            Justin,

            Not a single thing is disappearing. not one single benefit or feature – the irony is that it could have – we fought not to allow that but its lost on some readers of the article.

            What we are doing here is holding accountability for decision making – that seems to be making some people uncomfortable. Going into a crossing is of course a decision we all make.

            Like i’ve said before, we could have removed water coverage, we could’ve raised premiums for everyone, or we could make certain claimants pay more depending on the claim type.

            Kalen

  39. Update…I have been contacted by Graham (I hope that’s how you spell it mate) at Club4X4. He listened to my story and we’ve had a good chat about everything and I’m pleased to say that all is good and I will be continuing on as a happy Club4X4 customer. Thanks again mate. Happy travels.

    1. Post
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      No worries Paul – sorry it took so long to sort your issue out – glad you go onto me here and happy to have you as a customer.

      i’ll pass on the feedback to Graeme

      Kal

  40. Does this excess apply only to a write off?
    I have had one water crossing that involved water ingress into my auto transmission. The vehicle had a snorkel, water blind and was able to drive out till the water affected the transmission. Three other vehicles had crossed previously. Would this situation incur the extra excess?

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  41. I like this decision. Allows people to make sensible decisions and to discourage rash or thoughtless actions ‘because I’m covered – who cares if I don’t make it out the other end’. We’ve taken water crossings with all the appropriate care, waited until the water went to a level at which it was a sensible process, etc and appreciate not having to pay for other’s poor decisions; personally I can’t see many reasons that force anyone to be going in rushing water. Thank you for taking a smart business decision. We’ll stick with you because, in the end, we’re still covered if the worst happens.

  42. I have been unable to find the exact change laid down anywhere on the site. I would like to read the exact wording . I have looked in the PDS and for a supplementary PDS statement but have not found one relating to water crossings. Maybe I have missed some link on this page. Could you please point me in the right direction.

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      Hi Don,

      The changes are not in our wordings – they will be noted on your Certificate Of Insurance when you take out a new policy, OR at renewal.

      Anyone who is currently a policyholder doesn’t get exposed to this new excess until they get to their renewal point.

      Kalen

      1. Hi Kalen,

        I realize that this change will not affect me until renewal time but to be able to make comment and ask questions relevant to this change having the wording and meanings of that wording would be of benefit. Knowing what constitutes a water crossing ( its definition )and other definitions would make it easier for people to comment.

        Don

        1. Post
          Author

          Don,

          Anytime you drive into water, regardless of the source or type you will be exposed to this excess.

          Cheers

          Kalen

  43. So now you have mitigated risk and passed on the cost to those whom take risks you no doubt have increased or will increase your book size.. therefore I look forward to you passing on the savings and reducing my base premiums. I mean if the excess goes up base cost comes down right? Right!

  44. Hi Kalen and the Club 4×4 team.

    I think this is a positive step in terms of “user pays” and the rationale is well understood.

    One of my reasons for insuring with Club 4×4 was the premium, which was substantially less than what I was paying, but more importantly having a company that understood the needs of the 4×4 community and one that “listens” to its customers rises above all else.

    The last thing I would want is for Club 4×4’s underwriter to change the cover it provides your company or increases its cost to you because as you have indicated, there is an overweighting of “drowning” claims. The 4×4 community needs a company that understands the needs of 4×4 enthusiasts and takes the time to listen, as evidenced here.

    I read with interest some of the commentary about people taking all due care, but still “drowning” the vehicle. Yes accidents happen, but everything has consequences, besides who would adjudicate that all care was taken?

    Surely that would require at least some form of formal evidence of a specialist course having been taken, plus ongoing currency…

    Kalen, stick with it, you and the team are on the right track, at least in my opinion.

    Cheers, Baz (The Landy)

    1. Post
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  45. I was very close to sign up with you guys, however, since I am a marketing specialist and I know how to sell a price increase to current and future customers, – I will not.
    Without stating the obvious, everyone knows that insurance companies are just another business, they primary goal being profit making. It is also true that by doing just that, they may also help customers.
    There is a fine balancing act, and most of the time it is the perception of what a business is doing, rather than what actually happens that is important to consumers.

  46. Apologies if someone has already asked this – seems like a pretty interesting topic with lots of questions. What happens if my car is parked and there is heavy rain and is submerged. Happens all the time around Brisbane in the wet season when people park their car head off to work – will they come back to their car and find a huge excess?

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      G’day Chris,

      Damage based on storms is still covered as pr normal and maintained the standard excesses noted on your policy.

      No change to that

      Kalen

  47. This is completely disingenuous. You already have general exclusions for willful recklessness on the part of driver or passenger. This is a cash grab disguised as risk management.

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      Terri,

      Not sure i’m following you.

      If we chose to enact these clauses you mentioned, we wouldn’t have to pay out at all – wouldn’t that be the ultimate cash grab? We are continuing to repair or pay out the vehicle but with a higher excess…

      Lucky we aren’t in the business of finding reasons to deny claims.

      Kalen

  48. I say well done, it’s about time that the dumb people started stepping up instead of the rest of society stepping down. If this sort of thing was done in every day life we would have a much cheaper way of living.

  49. Hi Kalen;
    Does the above restrictions to water crossing mean that as long as we do a sensible water walk first, we would be still covered?
    Thanks

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      Nick,

      I encourage you to have a good read of the article again. We are not removing or putting conditions on the coverage whatsoever. You are still covered for water damage as a result of a water crossing. What we are changing is implementing a new excess for this damage.

      Cheers

      Kalen

  50. G,day what about getting bogged on the beach ,like Fraser , and the tide coming in flooding the truck.
    have I still got to pay
    Cheers

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  51. I can appreciate the concerns raised by responsible customers, but as a member of a 4WD club who stringently practice “tread lightly”, I am consistently gob-smacked by the stupidity of other 4wder’s. Last weekend down at Yeagarup in WA, my friends and I recovered some idiot who was close to roll over after going off the side of an easy sand track, and the ranger’s we spoke to later in the weekend had had to use a tractor to get another idiot out of a water crossing that had been attempted at night. Like it or not, a lot of the 4wder’s that Club4x4 do insure do not have the necessary skills and experience to be driving off pavement. This policy change is the kind of approach that will lean me towards Club 4×4 as my nest insurer, not away from them. Preparation IS EVERYTHING. Did one water crossing at a river mouth on the weekend. After walking it, picked a different line to the two trenches that the wheel tracks were leading into and 5 vehicles got through without fuss. This is such a simple thing to do that I fully support the “excess” that Club4x4 wants to impose on unprepared idiots.

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      G’day Sean,

      We’d love to parter with your club and given your financial members a discount. Your “Tread lightly” practise and responsible touring activities are the reason why we do this.

      If your club is interested please send in an email to [email protected] and attention it to Kalen

      Cheers

      Kal

  52. Well done! I feel this is a fair way to go about the issue and will insure people think more before diving in with an oh well I’m covered attitude.
    Also your not adding an reasonable increase to policy renewals to those who would always take the safe option.

  53. Hi Kalen

    I think this is a great idea and the right and sensible approach.

    Now I know this next sentence is going to get a few feathers ruffled.

    But I think you could also do the same thing where a 4X4 has rolled in an off road track situation where the vehicle has been written off because of the excess damage. food for thought 🙂

    I like my off roading
    and have done my share of water crossings but always assessing the situation first, and Premiums are hight enough making the user pay with the extra excess is a very sensible approach.

    Chris

  54. How is water crossing defined? Does entering a deeper than expected surface water/puddle on a defined track/road count?

  55. User pays, I think this is a great idea. I have had a water crossing incident many years ago on the Balfour Track, My 32″ tyres found 35″ holes, fortunately no damage.
    I wish this sort of thinking could be utilised in other areas, The Majority having to fork out or clean up after the “Darwin Awards” minority.

  56. G’day Kalen,
    You mention the Manufacturers Recommended Wading Depth, this would actually be quite a shallow crossing for most vehicles. I think most 4×4 owners with the correct after market kit would regularly drive through crossings that were above this limit . I was under the impression that the purpose of installing a Snorkel, Breather Kits, Water Bra etc. was to increase the allowable/achievable wading depth. In fact I recall Pat’s 4×4 crossing a river that was well above the recommended wading depth for his vehicle at the time! I hope he had good cover!!!

    From what I can gather if anyone attempts a crossing above this depth, good luck with the claim!!!

    1. Post
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      Nige,

      You’re correct, but a lot of people think throwing on a snorkel and breathers means you’re right to drive through. The reality is a lot of snorkels around snorkels. They’re not sealed and are simply raised air intakes. Who installed it and did they make sure it was sealed?

      Our terms and conditions are not changing – this is important to understand. We are not denying claims or removing coverage, we are simply imposing an additional excess. This means the responsibility is in the hands of the driver.

      Given we may insure a car for 2 or 3 times its market value, we feel this is completely reasonable.

      Cheers

      Kal

  57. I do understand what your saying but with this new policy not one of your members will be able to do the telegraph track again. After being up the cape 3 times over the years not once have i seen Nolans brook at a level that you would deem safe to cross. Give it another couple of years and club 4×4 will be just like every other insurance, Bitumen only cover

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      Brenton,

      Thanks for the comment

      We are not in a position to judge whether the water is too deep or not, only the driver is – hence why they wear the responsibility of driving the vehicle. To me it sounds like you’ve done Nolan’s a couple of times – obviously you’re doing it the right way, so continue doing so.

      Anyone who is not sure ill make a conscious decision to get to camp an hour late and go around… Better to get the camp anyway isn’t it?

      We are all about 4×4 touring not about testing your 4×4!

      Kalen

  58. Hi , my second year insured with club 4 x 4 , had 4 x 4 since 17 now 53
    Had my share of sensible water crossings never looked like drowning a 4 x 4 , in the unlikely event of a stupid decision I would be happy to receive 90 plus k from my 100 k cruiser build, I think you guys are looking after the normal people,
    I wish you would apply same principles to young people my 21 yr old son new bt 50 basically knocked back by club 4 x 4 premium near 3 k per year, never had a claim,
    Not all P platers are idiots give them the same premiums as us but hit the with a high excess 5 k for example,
    Most Platers are good kids so it not fair to put them all in same basket 🤔
    Paul

  59. Anyone with a modern vehicle who does a water crossing so deep that the motor ingests water, must realise that the repair costs will be very high.
    I am surprised Club 4×4 will even think about covering such event in the first place! That excess sounds pretty reasonable considering the potential cost of such claim.

  60. So…. let me get this right. We’re being levied an additional excess for “irresponsible water crossing”. Can you please provide the legal definition of an “irresponsible water crossing”? I can certainly appreciate not wanting to pay for the irresponsible actions of other, but maybe you need to have additional excess categories. Maybe one for :
    – “rollovers as a result of selecting an irresponsible line on a decent”, or maybe an excess for
    – “loss of control on a decent due to brake fade from riding the brakes”, or even yet another excess for
    – “I have no idea what I’m doing, so I’m gunna send it!”

    Accidents happen. Not may people will intentionally drown their vehicle and the additional excess will certainly lead me to reassess my relationship with Club 4×4 when my 2 renewals are due. There’s no way that I’ll be executing a policy with around a $7K additional excess.

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      Hi Bernie

      That’s fine – our policy is not for everyone and i encourage you to shop around every single year.

      The excess is for damage sustained by water during a water crossings. You’re right, not many people will drown a car on purpose, but a lot of people (as evidenced by the videos shared everywhere) will undertake a water crossing without appropriately preparing for it (see the completely stock Pajero sport we shared on our facebook page during the last week).

      We either put in place an excess for those people or we charge everyone extra.

      Cheers

      Kalen

  61. Kalen your imposing several different excess is what makes it so confusing if your going to impose an additional excess make it a $$ amount or % not standard excess plus this plus that should be a maximum of 2 excess imposed

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      Hey Justin,

      Fair call, but all of your excesses will be noted on your Certificate Of Insurance (COI) which we must supply with every policy we sell. It will be very clear to you.

      Interestingly, we see COI’s from other insurers all the time – i couldn’t believe the number excess that were in place for a caravan policy from one of the big guys!

      Kalen

  62. Ye, walk the crossing ? We dont all live in Sydney.
    Did you forget about your Far North policy holders when you give your spills about water crossings?

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      Hey Darren

      If you’re talking about crocs in the water which i assume you are, would you risk going in without knowing how deep it is?

      Kal

      1. Yes, I will make a decision based on what the approach and departure banks of the river look like and the speed of the water……otherwise I would end up like this fellow about a year ago, this snippet is taken from the ABC online news.

        (A man has been found dead after a suspected crocodile attack at the notorious Cahill’s Crossing in the Northern Territory, where he tried to walk across the East Alligator River in actions police have described as “foolish”. Cahill’s Crossing is not a footbridge, and at the time of the attack a recommendation on the NT Government’s road report website said only high-clearance four-wheel drive vehicles should cross.
        “Cahill’s Crossing is notorious for crocodiles and to walk across it to me is just foolishness,” NT Police Duty Superintendent Bob Harrison said.)

        There are many water crossings up here like the one mentioned and many have no depth markers , so you can only go on what you can observe from a distance, as walking the crossing (as you guys always say is necessary) is just ridiculous.

  63. Kalen

    What type of (not a cash grab) joke is this?

    What about putting a excess up for at fault / did not give way / speeding / distracted / sun strike / slippery surface crashed rolled my car / similar claims?

    I’m not yet a customer but this latest email on top of the never ending pursuit of gaining insurance from Club 4×4, what next???

    Only pay out if its stolen and you have private security firm 24/7 watching the car????

    1. Post
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      Mike,

      This is not a joke nor a cash grab. A cash grab would be an increase in premium for everyone across the board to cover for these incidents.

      Kalen

  64. So your saying all precausions taken… i know a painter up in lockhart river i work with, he drowned his car on the bitumen PDR in a 3m wide creek, no rain around. Archer river was down, roads wer open. Driving at the speed limit of 100kms p/hr, around a bend, before aqua planing and going off the bridge.

    So in this circumstance, i dont think it is deemed as a stupid tree accident, it is deemed as a complete accident, and shouldnt have to pay the extra excess.

    He is insured with different insurance company and got full payout, because it was a complete accident, and not his fault at all.

    Just curious, as i drive the pdr quite regularly for work.

    What would you guys do? Still have him pay the extra excess?

    1. Post
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      Chris,

      In that case it is a complete accident. if you come around a bend at 100km/h and come across water on the road and aquaplane, firstly i hope everyone gets out OK, secondly thats an incident.

      That’s not really a crossing is it? it’s unannounced water on the road…

      The difference between your mates scenario and a club 4×4 customer is that its likely all of his modification value is part of the sum insured so his payout could be substantially bigger.

      Kalen

  65. Hi

    I do agree with having the excess for water crossings as it does have extra risk involved and you guys take that on board and as you stated above the likely hood you as a specialist 4×4 insurer are going to get such claims would be substantially higher hence y you have to try and put a stop to it or remedy the problem, I find it somewhat funny that ppl on here complaining about it that may never have to pay which is a win win for every1 but also treaten to go else where, well i hate to inform you but good luck to finding another insurer that will cover your vehicle in its entirity (assuming it’s on the policy) and state in black and white what is and isn’t covered when it comes to thing like water crossings, at least you have come out and told every1 why, how and when up front, I now I feel very happy with my policy knowing i have clarity and certainty of coverage, to all the haters I say good luck elsewhere.

    Keep up the good work Kalen

    Btw I do think the overall excess charge seems a bit high but i guess you would have done the sums to make it feasible.

    1. Post
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      G’day Trent,

      It boggles our mind too… this change doesn’t remove the coverage and doesn’t make changes to everyone – only the ones who need to claim. The simple reality is that these claims are preventable

      Cheers

      Kalen

  66. Hi Club4x4,

    I’ve had a policy for approx 2 years. One of the key reasons for taking your policy was that although I am a conservative drive and would never intentionally put my vehicle at risk, I wanted to be sure I was covered for the unknown unknowns..

    There have been many comments and questions – about the unknown wording of the changes. The above question regarding complete write-offs vs repairs being an example .. what happens if you are making a perfectly safe crossing (say 6 inches deep) on a concrete causeway in sunshine and get swept off a crossing by a surge coming down the river/creek due to a storm 3hours ago – 150km away. … without the wording, we are all guessing … using your words, it would be hard to argue from the underwriter’s point of view, you were not 100% certain of coming out the other side in that case.

    What happens next. Does Club4x4 then identify the next highest reason for write-off/payouts and put an excess on that? Can you confirm that this will not occur? Clearly, the business model of Club4x4 is part of the underlying issue, specifically, you need to increase the ‘pool’ of users to avoid the introduction of the next excess, on the next major reason for payouts. This is a very slippery slope.

    Could you please publish the changes to the terms and conditions, so we can make an informed assessment?

    Thanks in advance,

    Phil

    1. Post
      Author

      Phil,

      There are NO changes to the terms and conditions other than the implementation of an excess which will apply if a vehicle is damaged by water in the course of water crossing. We are bound by legislation, if we made changes to our wording you would be reading it as part of this article.

      As for your question regarding confirming with you that there will be no other changes to our business – i’m afraid i cannot say that. What i can say is that there are no other changes planned currently. Businesses all over the world from milk bars to investment firms make changes all the time depending on circumstances.

      As consumer we all make a decision to stay or take our business elsewhere – its not different with our product. One would hope that these decision happen following the appropriate research, understanding and value assessment.

      Kalen

      1. Hello Kalen,

        Thank you for your response.

        Not knowing the language of the insurance sector, I’ve incorrectly used “Terms and Conditions” terminology in my comment above.

        What I was requesting was that Club4x4 publish the additional wording and any related definitions and/or changes, however, defined, that will relate to this change on all future policies and policy renewals.

        That way, everyone in this forum can make comment on the facts of the change, rather than second-guessing as we are currently doing.

        Thanks in advance

        Phil

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          G’day Phil,

          No problem. I am already planning a second article that will attention the key pieces coming out of all the great responses here 🙂

          Stay tuned

          Kal

          1. Kalen,
            I was one of the early posters and it seems to me that quite a few have asked simple questions and have not received a black and white answer. The one clear message coming from Club 4×4 is this. If you attempt ANY water crossing and make a claim you will be hit with the $2000 + 5% of insured value excess. Any water crossing at all. My thoughts are that you are using a sledgehammer to kill the problem of water crossing claims. The new policy wording that applies to ALL new policies should be made available to everyone, so we can all see what we are covered for and the excess that now applies. It is up to Club 4×4 to deal with customers in an open and honest way, or people will go elsewhere. Rising premiums are of great concern and if Club 4×4 has lower claims from the new excess policy those cost savings should be passed on to your customers as premium savings. There well maybe clients who will look elsewhere for cover come renewal time. That is just commonsense on the part of a consumer.

            James

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            Author

            James – there is no wording change.

            It is the inclusion of an excess – i will be providing more clarity on the words that will appear on your COI in a blog later this week. This article has generated great interest and there are a fir few FAQ’s that will result.

            Cheers

            Kalen

  67. Hi
    I have no problem with the extra clause. For water crossing if it’s done without preparation but if I have done everything possible to ensure my vehicle stays safe and something unforeseen happens ( Ie. suspension collapse ) would I still be liable for the new clause

    1. David, mate it looks like it applies to anyone and everyone who wishes to drive their 4wd through a water crossing of any depth or length or whether or not you have “taken” precautions to not get stuck, if you get stuck regardless you will have this new excess applied to your claim, no if’s or butts. So basically all it is saying is, don’t go through a water crossing, if you do and your vehicle is damaged and you make a claim, you pay!!

  68. My issue with this is the same as with the recovery cover, it should be a fixed excess or percentage based and not both. You proudly say you’ll insure a supertourer for $180k but with the way your excesses are structured it’s the owners of more moderately priced vehicles subsidising them.

    1. Another point is having the excess being based on the total sum insured not the total amount payed out seems ridiculous as I’m sure not all claims result in a total loss. Using your example of a $50k car having a $4500 dollar excess that’s almost 50% if they only do $10k worth of damage.
      It really does look like you don’t want to cover water crossings at all but aren’t willing to just come out and say it.

  69. There seems to be a lot of comments from people who do most of their four wheel driving in the desert or towing a caravan up the highway, saying that anyone who drowns a car is a moron/bogan.
    I can see maybe a percentage of the repair cost, not the total insured cost.
    It seems disproportionate for me to have to pay a percentage of the total vehicle cost of a 79 series if it needed a new engine as opposed to someone who has a total loss of 30 year old patrol when the cost of payout to the insurer may be the same

  70. In my case a 15% premium increase year on year after no claims , 4X4 is a year older and no additional items or value added to the policy?

    What you are saying is that you are going to keep premium increases down by dealing with one area where you are being hit hard on claims by putting some of the cost associated with those claims back to the claimants. It is a matter of personal opinion if that is reasonable or not and for what it’s worth I can see the logic in that.

    If that fixes your bottom line why the 15% premium increase? I am interested in what you are saying but much more interested in what you do to be honest as premiums seem to have risen considerably judging from some of the comments on here. Sorry but these two things don’t quite add up for me.

  71. I have read this article and comments and have commented myself. This new excess has started for new policy holders so why don’t you post the wording of the excess so all your current policy holders can comment with maybe a better understanding of something that will affect them in the future???? Other comments have asked for the wording but you still don’t post them.

  72. I have a 4wd but do not drive offroad, however, I live in one of the wettest areas in Australia and am currently flooded in. Are you proposing that if I suffer water damage whilst driving on a bitumen major or secondary road I will be charged the excess?

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      PhilB,

      Only if you chose to enter and drive through water.

      Storm/flood damage is covered as per normal,. if you came across water unexpectedly and couldn’t stop in time, you will be cover without the excess as that is an accident.

      This is only for cases where you premeditatedly go into a crossing.

      Cheers

      Kalen

  73. Wow so many comments. Kalen you are doing well to keep up with it. Well done.
    My basic clarification is that you actually do cover engine hydrologic damage in the first place.
    I did not realise this. Can you confirm please ?
    I am happy with the change and understand why.

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      Author

      G’day Phil,

      Its important to make sure everyone’s voices are heard – it’s a big change and it drives discussion and i’ve had some great idea come out of the comment here.

      The answer to your question is absolutely yes! we couldn’t be considered a true 4×4 insurer if we didn’t!

      Kal

  74. so if there is a bitumen road that had flooded due to a storm and this results in an unfortunate event of getting stuck will this excess be imposed

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      Author

      Justin,

      If you pre-meditatedly drove into that water, yes. If like the video a couple of weeks ago you were driving along a road and hit some water unexpectedly, no.

      Cheers

      Kalen

  75. Cheers for the reply kalen,

    And thats great to hear, thought that would have been the case but just double checking. Might invest in a dash cam aswel?.

    Well in that case i personally have no dramas with the new water crossing excess increase. As it is minute still in the grande scheme of things.

    Regards Chris Goodhew

  76. I would hate to think this new excess is applied “Carte Blanche” to all water related claims. Club 4×4 offers an alternate to the run of the mill insurers, which is why so many enthusiasts, myself included have switched to Club 4×4. Having covered much of our beloved country, there are plenty of water crossings and unfortunately Mother Nature provides an ever changing feast of offerings when it comes to crossings. The more astute driver will stop and check, however as some other posts have eluded to, inevitably you may get stuck, or a crossing may collapse under you, get caught up on a rock etc. These situations do happen, you can get caught out even though you may have walked the crossing, it is clear water with an apparently solid bottom, yet we get stuck. Without assistance on hand this can lead to an expensive recovery of which we as policy holders would be covered to a certain extent.
    Take a case at hand, a modified 200 series, approximate value $130k. Excess on top of the norm is as you have pointed out, 5% of value plus $2k. So $8.5k for a claim where the vehicle may only have received some panel and underbody damage as a result. Am I missing something?
    In short we have done everything we thought right as responsible 4×4 owners, so as my first statement eluded to, I would hope we don’t all get stung with this large excess for those circumstances when we thought we were doing the right thing and something unforeseen happens, and we are impacted heavily by this excess as the claim was associated with a “water crossing”. In the end we want to explore this country and water crossings are an integral part of our adventures.
    Thanks

  77. Thanks Greg that’s what I feared not that I plan to do any water crossing in the near future. But you never know

  78. Your explanation seems reasonable . But being the cynic that I have become, I can’t help think that this is the start of the dismantling of the policy that we all signed up for. – Start up a new insurance company, offer all the cover that our agreement with our underwriters can manage and when we gain a big enough custermer base, start dismantling the policy to move in line with all the other run of the mill insurance company’s.
    Let’s hope not.
    Kind Regards,
    Wade.

  79. Hi Kalen,
    Have our SWB Pajero with you…

    You mention “Drowned” quite a few times – will this be defined in the PDS or take on the normal context ??
    same for “Crossings” ?? – will this be defined also ??

    For example – if the vehicle suffers damage from water ingress but was not “drowned” – is this subject to the additional imposed excess ??

  80. Is club 4×4 still charging people a extra $30 just to renew a policy.? Something I find strange as no other insurer I know of charges a one off extra fee each year to stay on as a member..

  81. Part of the reason I took out insurance with you was because I didn’t have to worry about fine print, additional excesses, constantly changing T&C’s etc

    Basically take the car offroad and know you’re covered.

    I think this has less to do with water damage and more to do with the reality of living in a low interest rate environment. These guys are struggling to find yield, and it’s you and I that will pay for it.

    Will defintely be shopping around when the policy comes due.

  82. hi ,
    im wondering if its possible for you to make a few levels of exess depending on some conditions
    eg. standard exess 700$
    if no snorkel install additional surchage like 700$
    then if water was below factory fording depth no surcharge (but clear photo showing water level at standstill needs to be supplied) then 500$ surchage
    if water level was above bonnect or say above 1meter at stand still then 5% exess is fair.

  83. So the front page of your http://www.club4x4.com website is basically a lie?

    Looks like a job for the ACCC and the ombudsman which I have referred your recent changes to.

    Stating that this does not need to be included in the PDS as it is just a change of excess is a joke which needs investigation.

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      Author
  84. Not Happy. I don’t agree with it. The reason I got 4×4 insurance is the piece of mind that I would be covered just in case of any scenarios. Looks like just another Insurance company dodging their responsibility and putting their profit margin ahead of their fairness. Not acceptable from a dedicated 4×4 Insurance company.

    1. Post
      Author

      Andrew – not sure what you think you’re not covered for, but what you’re covered for has not changed one teensy weensy little bit. What has changed is your excess.

      Kalen

  85. I disagree with the $2500 base excess, I feel like a flat rate of around 10% would have been more suitable, a person who insures their $10,000 4×4 is being screwed in the “proverbial”. Whereas a person insuring a $80,000 (or more) 4×4 is laughing all the way to the car yard. If you are fair dinkum about this then you will STRONGLY consider changing the structure of this new excess. If you own a $100,000 vehicle and are willing to drive it through EXCESSIVE amounts of water, in my opinion you deserve to be placed in the predicament of coming up with 10k.
    If you have a genuine reason why this is not a plausible option id love to hear it.
    Cheers

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