Five Crazy But Common Car Insurance Exclusions

Five Crazy But Common Car Insurance Exclusions

You buy your car insurance, you glance at the policy documents, and you assume you’re covered for all eventualities where your car is stolen or damaged. Think again.

Read through your policy documents in detail. Some insurers don’t cover injuries to passengers aged over 75. Others won’t pay out if your car is stolen by someone who deceives you into handing over your keys. A small number won’t cover damage to your car that’s caused in a road rage incident. It’s common industry practice not to provide gap insurance, so if your car is written off or stolen, you won’t receive the full amount you paid when you bought your car.

Every car insurance policy includes some exclusions. Many of the exclusions would be extremely frustrating if they happened to you, and you then discovered that you’re not covered by your insurance firm. Some of them are downright crazy. Five of the most crazy but common car insurance exclusions are:

1. Nuclear Fallout
If Britain was wiped out by a nuclear bomb and you managed to survive, you wouldn’t receive a pay out from your insurer for the damage caused to your car. This is not only because the insurance firm will probably have been destroyed in the blast; it’s because it’s standard practice for motor insurance policies to exclude damage caused by nuclear fallout.

The same applies if your local nuclear power plant explodes and destroys your car, or if your car is contaminated by radioactive waste: you will not be compensated for the damage caused.

Currently this exclusion applies to policies bought from almost all the major motor insurance firms, including Admiral, Direct Line, Aviva, Churchill, Saga, Prudential, Sheila’s Wheels, and Co-operative Insurance to name a few.

2. UFOs
Most car insurance firms will not pay out if your car is damaged by pressure waves from aircraft travelling at or beyond the speed of sound. This includes damage caused by sonic and supersonic UFOs from outer space.

If you are zapped by an alien laser-beam while driving on the motorway, your insurance firm is unlikely to cover your injuries or the damage to your car. This is because such aggression would be considered an act of war. Car insurance firms usually exclude cover for damage caused by war, civil war, acts of a foreign enemy, or revolution.

Currently this exclusion applies to policies bought from almost all major car insurance firms, including Direct Line, Aviva, Admiral, Churchill, Saga, Prudential, Sheila’s Wheels, and LV=.

3. Car Stolen by Jealous Husband or Wife
Motor insurers will not provide cover if your car is taken without your permission by any member of your household or family. This includes your spouse or partner, your children, your parents or a lodger in your home. The only exception to this rule is if you report your car as stolen to the police, and prosecute the person who took your car in court.

Currently this exclusion applies to policies bought from almost all major motor insurance firms, including Direct Line, Admiral, Co-operative Insurance, Sheila’s Wheels, and LV=.

4. Earthquakes
Fortunately for us Brits, the UK is not prone to earthquakes or tremors. However, were the worst to happen and the ground opened up and swallowed your car, or even if a less violent earthquake shattered your windscreen, it’s probable that your insurer would refuse to pay out.

A small but significant number of car insurance firms do not cover for damage caused by earthquakes. Admiral is the most notable insurer with this exception. Other insurers who refuse cover for earthquakes include Saga, Prudential, and Sheila’s Wheels.

As well as looking out for earthquakes, remember to check your insurance policy documents for the phrase “acts of God”. Sheila’s Wheels breakdown service, for example, cannot be held liable if they leave you stranded by the roadside because of an “act of God”.

5. Blind Drivers
Unsurprisingly, there is not a single insurance firm who will provide cover for drivers who can’t see. This is never stated explicitly in insurance policy documents, but insurance companies cover their backs by saying they won’t pay out for claims resulting from damage caused by “unlicensed drivers”.

Being unable to get insurance or a licence wasn’t enough to stop one blind person from getting behind the steering wheel. In 2006, 31-year-old Omed Aziz was banned from driving for three years and given a suspended jail sentence after police caught him driving on the wrong side of the road.

This exclusion seems to apply to policies bought from almost all motor insurance firms.

How do you make sure you’ve got the best possible insurance cover for your car? Firstly, don’t just choose a policy based on price. Research what’s covered and what’s excluded by each company you’re considering. Secondly, if the level of cover you want isn’t available from standard car insurance firms, consider taking out extra insurance, such as gap insurance, from a specialist insurer.

Car insurance exclusions are usually not that hard to find, you just need to have a look at the rarely-read policy documents.

To be sure you’re not hit by a nasty surprise when you need to make a claim, make some time to read through policy documents when choosing your car insurance. Most insurance firms make their policy documents available online as a free download.