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Hi All,

 

My wife is insured with VW Insurance underwritten by Allianz, she was given one years free insurance when she bought a new car last year and she renewed it automatically.

 

She is an airline stewardess and was reporting for duty at 7pm last night at Heathrow.

 

We use her car mainly as it can take dogs and children, our only other car is an Audi TT which is impractical for the purpose. Normally I drop her off at the airport at the fast drop so I have use of her car as I'm a named driver, otherwise her car sits in a car park for 5 days 9 days etc, completely pointless.

 

However last night I happened to be at the airport at a works function and had a hotel room booked, she was on her way to my hotel to have a coffee and hand me the car as I was obviously not coming home, I would drop her at the kerbside as usual and whizz off to my Christmas meal.

 

Unfortunately she collided with the rear of another car coming off the M25 AT 1750, the car being damaged and undrivable.

 

The insurance adviser has informed us her cover is social,domestic, and leisure and does not include commuting so they would not be covering it. No she never checked it and has learnt the hard way.

 

HOWEVER - She was not driving it to work , she was bringing it to me so I had it for the 5 days she was away, the hotel is 20 mins from our house, I've sent them the hotel bill, my check in time etc etc. Normally I would have taken her in and dropped her off but couldn't as was in the hotel. Because ultimately she left home to go to work they didnt care about the details and said it was commuting. I replied that as she only goes to work 3 times a month as she's part time, I have the car to stop it sitting dead in a car park for ages, and certainly last night she was not commuting to work, she was delivering it unusually to me as I was in a Heathrow hotel.

 

So having paid to get the car moved to a body shop I'm in limbo. Can they define this as commuting, her car sitting at a hotel unconnected to work then driven by me to drop kerbside? To me they are refusing on a technical point, it did not happen near the work car park it was miles away, I am angry, she is shaken and what if any are my legal avenues.

 

Any help greatly appreciated by us both.

Thanks Stu

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She had SD+P and was using the car to get to work. You can argue about the circumstances, but she was not leaving the car on the driveway and using a bus to get to work.

 

Suggest that you ask the Insurers for their final response and take it to the FOS. You could alternatively get a solicitors opinion and if appropriate take Allianz to court. Obviously if you go down the court route first, you can't use the FOS.

 

I suspect that Allianz will still be dealing with any claim from the third party, but just not dealing with damage to your car. If this is the case, don't be surprised if Allianz underwriters look to cancel the Insurance and then come looking for you to refund any payment they make to the third party.

 

in view of the amount of loss potentially involved, it may be worth speaking to a solicitor for half an hour to see what they suggest.


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Hi, I worked in the Insurance industry for 25 years both on the underwriting side and broking side. I have checked the policy wording on the VW insurance website and their is no definition of the usage terms (with some insurers, SD&P includes occasional commuting). There is a definition on the Allianz website and unfortunately SD&P cover with Allianz does exclude any journey that is work related. So if Allianz maintain this stance there are further ramifications in so far as you may find yourself liable for rhe damage to the third party vehicle and technically an offence has been committed by driving a vehicle whilst being uninsured.

 

From your comments I take it that you have already told the insurers that your wife was using the vehicle for the purpose of going to work and it will not be easy now to persuade them that it was being used for a different purpose. You need to persuade them that at the time the accident happened, the sole purpose of the journey was to drop the vehicle off at the hotel for your personal use. Unless you can threaten them with possible legal action, they will probably stand by what they have already said. Personally I feel your only option is to speak to a solicitor and get them to communicate with the insurers. It doesn't cost them much to continually tell you that you are not covered but when there is a threat of the possible costs of litigation it may persuade them to change their opinion.

Edited by Northernpug
spelling!

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Hi, I worked in the Insurance industry for 25 years both on the underwriting side and broking side. I have checked the policy wording on the VW insurance website and their is no definition of the usage terms (with some insurers, SD&P includes occasional commuting). There is a definition on the Allianz website and unfortunately SD&P cover with Allianz does exclude any journey that is work related. .

 

Thanks for jogging my memory

 

I have come across this before with Allianz, with different definitions used on their partners products, compared to their own offerings. Allianz will dig their heels in and will stick to not wanting to deal with the own damage claim and may want 3rd party costs to be refunded to them.

 

What somebody else did in this situation and I think they were successful, was to obtain all of the information that was used to issue the policy. So in this case get hold of all the VW Insurance information and documents that applied at the time the policy was issued. This will be copies of recordings of any phone calls if relevant, copies of all internet pages that were used, copies of all policy summaries/documents there were relevant and copies of Insurances schedules/pages showing the information used to issue the policy. You just never know whether there may be information that may help, which will show that there was a lack of clarity or wrong information about the usage definition.


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Thank you chaps some good info there, I suspect that the original issue of the docs is the way to go as they are aware that she was driving to me at the hotel and I was going to then quickly drop her off at the T5 fast drop and carry on.

 

Quite how VW can issue free insurance on a finance deal to a Stewardess who told them she works at an airport give her something not fit for purpose is beyond me. There is very little documentation apart from the original certificate which presumably arrived some weeks after taking delivery of the car. So in essence it is only mentioned on the certificate so in any case she'd have been clueless for those first few weeks anyway. This is the avenue a solicitor I'm sure will want to pursue and one I will encourage.

 

Also all documentation is from VW , its only online I can see Allianz is underwriting, its pretty 'grey'.

 

Will keep you all posted as I'm not letting this one lie.

 

Cheers Stu

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When the insurance was taken out was any insurance specific form completed? I would expect them to at least ask details of age, address, occupation, any previous claims, convictions or disabilities and perhaps intended use of the vehicle? If so, did you complete it yourselves or was it done by the salesman?

 

Playings devil advocate a bit here but stating what your wife's occupation is doesn't necessarilly mean that the vehicle will be used for commuting. She could use a bus or train, for example, to get to work and not use the car. You will also need to have a look at the renewal documents you were sent as they may state what cover is provided and by agreeing to renew, you agree to the terms and conditions applicable or they may also be vague and non specific leading you to believe you had adequate cover.

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Further to the above, having scoured all the VW insurance documentation and policy booklet, there is no mention of the definition of commuting or anything like that. The VW dealer did not flag up this massive exclusion clause (why would he, he probably didnt even know). The only place the commuting is written is on the original certificate which popped through the door after she'd already taken delivery of the car. I think this is a genuine error that relied on a mother to pick up , but effectively provided her with a policy that wasn't fit for her purpose .

 

There are many websites offering solicitors who specialise in traffic/insurance issues , do any of you helpful folks know one off hand that I could head towards rather than taking a punt on one that looks Ok?

 

Cheers Stu

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Interestingly enough no VW free insurance policy stipulates commuting as an exclusion in the factsheets for the last 3 years so quite why its on the certificate is a mystery, I'll await there explanation on that one as requested.

 

Cheers Stu

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