Maintenance conditions and Examination of the Car
It is a condition of most Car Insurance policies that you maintain your car to a standard acceptable by the MOT and that the car is road legal. All car insurance policies will contain some type of maintenance clause in the policy wording, for example:-
The insured shall take all reasonable steps to safeguard from loss or damage and maintain in efficient condition the vehicle and the Company shall have at all times free access to examine the vehicle.
This condition underlines the insured’s obligation to act as though he were not insured and, so far as he is able, to maintain the vehicle in an efficient condition.
It also gives the insurers the right to examine the vehicle. This is seldom exercised when purchasing car insurance unless the vehicle is very old and requires a valuation for classic car insurance, or has been involved in an accident.
If, for example, the insured vehicle is covered against accidental damage risks under a comprehensive cover and a claim is presented under that section of the policy the Car Insurance company will usually send a motor engineer and loss assessor to examine the damage before authorizing repairs in any case.
If the vehicle has produced a third party claim in unusual circumstances, the insurers may elect to exercise their right to examine the vehicle.
If, in the course of one of these examinations, it is found that the condition of the vehicle is allowed to deteriorate to the extent that it is positively unroadworthy, the insurers may decide to take a stand and repudiate liability under the relevant sections of the policy on the grounds that the accident or damage would not have occurred had the vehicle been properly maintained.
The classic case is where the insured is found to have had ‘bald’ tyres at the time of the accident and many claims have been successfully repudiated on the grounds that this alone was the cause of the accident.