Insurance tips: Why your motor insurer might say 'no'
11th Feb 10, 8:00am
Insurers are there to pay claims based on the policy you sign up for, but they have conditions in that policy which will almost certainly to lead to your claim being declined if they are breached. Here are the most common (and not so common) conditions that could lead your insurer to say no to a claim. Drinking and driving: A common belief is that your insurance is okay unless you are charged with an offence. This is not the case. Almost all policies refer to a vehicle being driven by someone 'under the influence of alcohol or drugs'. I can recall a claim being declined by a company that had an investigator confirm the alcohol intake of the driver who crashed the car that caused thousands of dollars damage - even though the driver managed to avoid being caught by police. However by confirming the amount of alcohol consumed they were able to prove the driver was under the influence of alcohol at the time of the accident and therefore in breach of the condition. Restricted licenses: These restrict drivers to driving alone and limit them to driving between 5am and 10pm at night. If an accident occurs outside of these times or in breach of other conditions (other occupants in the car, alcohol, etc.) then expect to see the claim declined. Again this does not require a police offence, it could merely be a statement by someone confirming the time of the accident, or a statement by occupants in the car. Unsafe car: If it can be established that the car was being driven while in an unsafe condition and that this contributed to the accident then you may well find your claim declined. An example would be bald or damaged tyres, but even faulty wipers could be seen in some circumstances to contribute to an accident. Cell phone use: Now it is illegal to use them while driving, an insurer could well say their illegal use contributed to an accident and therefore breached a key policy condition. If the claim has other claim-related issues such as the level of alcohol, then this could be invoked to deny liability. Off-road driving, or racing: Nearly all insurers exclude cover if the vehicle is being used for racing or off road activities. If you have a four-wheel-drive vehicle and use it off the road then check your policy carefully to see what is specified in this regard. If in doubt then have a look at our comparison pages. While these are a summary of they do provide a good comparison of cover between all the major providers of insurance in New Zealand.