Daily Insurance Industry News
Daily Insurance Industry News
Tuesday 16th of October 2018
December 23, 2009

No theft cover for defrosting cars

by Gill Montia

Story link: No theft cover for defrosting cars

With night time temperatures well below zero, the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) is reminding motorist that most motor insurance policies include a clause that excludes cover for theft, attempted theft or malicious damage, if the ignition keys are left “in or on the vehicle”.

According to the watchdog, drivers who start their engines for a defrost and pop back indoors can lose out if an opportunist thief intervenes.

Based on the Court of Appeal’s judgment in Hayward v Norwich Union Insurance Ltd a driver who moves too far away from the keys to prevent a theft is unlikely to be paid out.

The ruling meant many insurers reworded their clauses to exclude cover for theft if the vehicle was left “unlocked and unattended”’ or if the keys were “left in or on the vehicle”’.

The FOS says it is frequently called upon to decide disputes where the consumer thinks the insurer has applied the exclusions unfairly, in order to turn down a claim.

When making a decision the, Ombudsman pays particular attention to: where the car was at the time of the incident; whether the driver was in a position to deter the thief, or make the theft unlikely; whether the driver was recklessly disregarding the risk of theft or inadvertently causing such a risk; any mitigating factors that caused the driver to leave the car and keys; the manner in which the policy was sold; and whether the exclusion was properly drawn to the consumer’s attention.


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