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Changes to car insurance

Changes to car insurance - Are you prepared?

Changes to car insurance - Are you prepared?

There’s so much to consider when buying a new car: how much will it cost? Will it have good fuel economy? Will I be able to insure it? Is it prone to theft?

Range Rovers were the second most stolen vehicle in the UK last year according to the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA). More than 5,000 were stolen – with a high percentage of these stolen in London. The Insurance Times says this is a year-on-year increase of 39% (an additional 1,455 vehicles).

The problem for Range Rovers is not their security but their huge popularity here and abroad. A thief, or gangs of criminals, know that they can dispose of the vehicle very easily – and for a good price – so will invest in the technology they need to steal them. Even models with the best trackers and advanced driver recognition systems are not immune.

As a result, insurers in both the personal lines market and commercial sector have amended their underwriting strategies to reflect the challenges. Unfortunately for us, we are seeing insurers refusing to cover at all OR if they are covering the premiums are reflecting the exposure.

Until recently, commercial fleet markets were more supportive but the flexibility is starting to reduce and more stringent terms are now being imposed. Dave Harris (Allianz Regional Motor Underwriting Manager) stated that Range Rover theft accounts for 30% of the motor portfolio theft losses. This is extremely high when you compare it to the likes of Audi (2%) and BMW (5%).

Tom Bennet, Senior Underwriter at Allianz, advises underwriters “need to understand exact make and model of trackers along with overnight locations of vehicles. Clients should also consider additional physical theft deterrents such as steering wheel locks and bollards, making it more palatable for insurers where they need to provide coverage”.

Below is an overview of some of the criteria in the commercial fleet space:

  • Allianz – a Thatcham S5 tracker is required if the vehicle is worth £40k+, plus an excess of between 3-4% of vehicle value. It is still subject to the underwriter’s discretion.
  • Arch – tracker warranty applies for Land Rovers over £40k (usually £50k). No other changes.
  • Aviva – Land Rovers with a market value of £25,000 and over will be subject to an additional 5% of the vehicle’s value at the time of the loss. This will be over and above any existing theft excess.
  • Covéa – newer models valued £75k+ will require a Thatcham Approved S5 tracker, a minimum premium of £2,500+IPT will apply, plus an increased excess of £2,500 accidental damage, fire and theft excess along with windscreen. For vehicles under £75k then, whilst additional terms will apply, they will treat each risk individually.
  • AXA & Zurich Insurance – review each case on its own merit and apply applicable terms.

If you’re unsure whether the latest changes affect you or any policies you hold, then get in touch with your insurance broker who will be happy to talk it through.

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