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Title: Insurer won't pay as bike was outside

Date: 08 November 2014

Dispute with Insurer

My Honda Blackbird was stolen from outside my house two months ago and I have been having a big dispute with my insurance company as they refuse to pay me for the value of the bike. The police completed their report on the theft but obviously don’t know who stole it. They have closed their file.

Normally, I keep the bike in my locked garage but this time I left it outside on the street as I was only leaving it for one night, under a cover, before going out on it again. The insurer is claiming that it is a term of my insurance policy that the bike should have been kept in my locked garage overnight. I did not know this. Can they do this?

Vince, Hampstead

The moral of this story is that you should always consider the terms of an insurance policy very carefully before entering into the contract. It is quite normal for a policy to cover where a vehicle will be parked; be it on a drive, on the street or in a garage overnight and this will alter the premium according to the risk. Obviously street parking rather than garaging presents a higher risk of theft and thus would equate to a higher premium.

It appears that your insurer understood you would keep the bike in a locked garage every night. If this is not the case then you should raise a complaint with them and if it is not settled to your satisfaction consider a breach of contract claim against them. The insurer will be able to supply you with the policy terms and conditions which should deal with the point in dispute. If the policy wording contains the term stipulating overnight garaging then you are unfortunately unlikely to receive the money.

It is important to be realistic when taking out insurance and if you know you are likely to be parking a bike on the street overnight then make sure the insurance policy reflects this. If insurers can get away without paying they will.

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