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Car Insurance FAQs (F-M)

Jumping The Queue:

Q : I was coming out of a side road and was struck by a vehicle jumping the queue. Who is to blame?

A : This sounds very similar to a case that came before the Courts some years ago - Powell V Moody (1966). In that instance, a motorcycle was jumping a queue of traffic on the wrong side of the road and collided with a vehicle edging out of a side turning. The Court held an 80/20 split with the motorcyclist being 80% to blame. Your case might not be identical to this but it will give you an indication as to what you might achieve.



Q : My son caught the car of another driver whilst reversing over a speed bump into the space behind, to park. The damage to the car, was a very superficial mark to the door of the other car, but he still gave his insurance details. This was in September 2001. He didn't hear any more, and assumed that the mark was so slight that it could be 'T-cut' out. However, this week (20th January 2002) he has received a notification of the other parties claim. Is there a limit to the length of time a party can have to put in a claim?

A : The other driver's claim against your son arises out of the common law tort of negligence. There are time limits which are governed by legislation in the form of the Limitation Act 1980. However, they are very long! For property damage (as in this case) the limit is 6 years! (Had there been injury, it is only 3 years). This time limit starts from the date of the accident and applies to the date that civil court proceedings are issued naming your son as the Defendant. The best thing to do is put it in the hands of your son's insurer and let them deal with it. Tell them of your reservations about the extent, or rather lack of it, of the damage to the other car.

Latent Defect :

Q : My car was parked in a Golf Course. A Council tractor was parked at the top of a slope. It slid down the slope and hit my car. The insurance company deny liability saying it was caused by a puncture they could not have forseen and was a "latent defect" so have not been negligent.

A : If they want to prove latent defect, they will have to produce service records to show that the vehicle was properly maintained. I would have thought a vehicle with a puncture was less likely to roll than one with good tyres! What happened to applying the handbrake or putting it in gear? Or were these defective as well?

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Motor Insurers Bureau:

Q : I was wondering whether you could advise me on my situation. A couple of weeks ago, one night a drunken driver hit my car full on (and is now a write off) I only have third party insurance (I am a student). The driver has no insurance and cannot pay anything towards the cost as he is also unemployed. Is there any form of compensation I can get?

A : I hope the police have prosecuted the drunken driver! The answer to your questions is a cautious 'yes'. You can apply to the Motor Insurance Bureau for compensation. Some details of their activity is shown on my web site or you can go to their web site. However, for property damage (i.e. your claim is for your car and not personal injury) there is a huge excess to pay so if you car was quite old and not of high value, it might not be worth your while.

Q : My wifes car was recently hit by another car on a roundabout. The other driver sped off without stopping. Fortunately my wife was unhurt but the front offside wing of the car was badly damaged. My wife managed to get the first 4 digits of the licence number & the colour of the car but not the make or model. This was reported to the police who "attempted" to track down the owner of the other vehicle but without success and suggested we try the MIB. The MIB site seems to suggest only death or injury is covered. Is it worth trying to pursue a claim if the cost is likely to be close to excess or should we take the hit on the no claims?

The MIB have two separate agreements with the Govenment, the first provides compensation to the victims of uninsured drivers. Here owing to EU legislation, the compensation includes property damage. However, the second agreement - for untraced drivers, is for personal injury and death only. So I am sorry to say that in the circumstances you describe, there is no point in trying to pursue a case against the MIB. You will either have to take a hit on your no claims discount or withdraw your claim and pay for the repairs yourself, whichever is the cheapest option for you.


"On the M6 I moved from the centre lane to the fast lane
but the other car didn't give way."
Extracts taken from actual claim forms submitted to
a number of UK car insurance companies

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