I am amazed at the decision reached by the ombudsman (26 September, Insurance Times) and the reasons given regarding the theft of vehicles while left unattended with the keys in them.
Perhaps the ombudsman would like to explain the point of providing policy documents, which in most cases these days are written in plain English, and cleary define the basis of what cover is provided, and what is excluded.
Furthermore, policyholders have the protection of the GISC ruling, whereby if they are unsatisfied with the policy documents they can obtain a full refund within 14 days.
We presently have a client whose vehicle was stolen, and it transpires that the MOT expired two months prior.
The insurers have declined indemnity on the grounds of the exclusions shown in the policy, "that we will not pay for loss or damage or liability if you do not have a valid MOT test certificate when the law requires one".
If we were to apply the same principles that the ombudsman has cited with regards to the theft, then surely our clients claim would be valid.
After all, if someone knowingly leaves his keys in the vehicle,and this is considered to be an occasional lapse of attention, then in the case of not having an MOT, which you only need to obtain once a year - and you would not necessarily remember the expiry date, the same must surely apply.
Stuff the conditions of the policy, no one reads these anyway, and with insurers eager to cut costs, why go to the bother of the expense of having them printed, after all the ombudsman in his infinite wisdom will only disagree.
Our advice to our client will now be to refer this to the ombudsman. We shall report his findings at a later date.
Send letters to: Insurance Times, 30 Cannon Street, London, EC4M 6YJ or email to firstname.lastname@example.org or fax: 020 7618 3499