A friend of mine called Jim managed to have a crash in their car and their experience is worth knowing about if you ever find yourself in the same situation.
Nice Mr Policeman who attended to help sweep up the mess and breathalyse them checked his clever computer and informed Jim that the MOT had expired 3 weeks earlier. An honest simple oversight, but "oh dear" none the less...
The subject was carefully avoided with the insurance company and a price for the car was agreed. But eventually the documents needed sending in at which point they noticed the situation.
The reply came in the post "sod off, we are not paying out at all because the terms and conditions says 'the car must be legally roadworthy' ".
Jim wasn't expecting that! But it turned out it's just their standard 'try and get out of it' letter.
After lots of google research, and discussion with 2 free advice solicitors (who were clueless) it was confirmed that "Legally roadworthy" is not decided by having a current valid MOT. The insurance ombudsman has previously said: (from here)
Most motor policies contain an express requirement that the vehicle must be maintained in a roadworthy state. If so, where there is good evidence that the loss or damage was caused (or substantially contributed to) because the vehicle was unroadworthy, we are likely to consider it fair for the insurer to reject the claim.
In other cases, the insurer might reduce the payout on the basis that the vehicle was not in good condition. If so, where there is good evidence that the vehicle would have failed an MOT test, we are likely to consider it fair for the insurer to take this into account in assessing its value.
So Jim replied to say that it was unfair to not pay out. The onus is on the insurance company to explain why they thought it wasn't roadworthy.
As the car wreckage didn't show anything that was not 'legally roadworthy' they then said "in this situation we pay out 20% less as it didn't have an MOT". This was £2k less to which Jim pointed out that an Elise without an MOT wasn't worth £2k less. To which they agreed and said 10% less. Jim pointed out that as it was in perfectly good condition it would have cost £50 to get an MOT, so would accepted it was worth maybe £50 less. It was after all a car that 'had and expired MOT', it was not a 'MOT failure'.
Eventually they paid out £100 less.
Useful to know not to accept their first offer.
Insurance. Good To Know
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