Taking Your Vehicles to Another Business: Navigating insurance responsibilities

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Most insurance policies these days will have specific terms and conditions, such as you must keep the keys to the vehicles in a key safe or the security on the site itself must be to a certain level.

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Some time ago, in May 2022, I wrote an article dealing with who is responsible for ensuring property is insured when left with you as a trader.

We have recently become aware of a case involving vehicles taken to an auction site, which were subsequently stolen by thieves in the middle of the night.

Who may be responsible for reimbursement in that scenario?

The owner of the vehicles has insurance to cover them, but making a claim on said insurance will significantly increase premiums, so they may opt to claim on the auction’s insurance if possible.

It is, first of all, worthwhile stressing that in most instances of theft, the police will be involved. Insurance companies are within their rights to withhold making payments until they are satisfied their policyholder was not implicated at all and the terms of the policy are met.

Most insurance policies these days will have specific terms and conditions, such as you must keep the keys to the vehicles in a key safe or the security on the site itself must be to a certain level, maybe the inclusion of security guards due to the potentially high value of the vehicles being held onsite.

In this case, the keys were simply hanging on hooks on a board in the portacabin, and as we understand it, there was minimal security at the gate and no patrols.

If policy terms are not met, the insurance policy may be invalid, and the insurers will either not pay out or it will severely delay any payments.

It is perfectly acceptable to enquire with the company you are leaving your vehicle with, as to whether there is insurance for any vehicles left with them and to ask for proof of the security they have before you leave your vehicle.

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Unless there is a contractual term that makes the auction, in this case, responsible for insuring the vehicle or replacing it, then they do not owe a duty if the goods get damaged as a result of something that occurs that is not due to negligence from the auction.

Therefore, it is important that you, as the owner, have the requisite insurance to cover your property when away from the business, even at another business.

We do not know how this live case will pan out and the police are continuing their enquiries. If you are at all unsure and for peace of mind, never hesitate to enquire about the safety of your property.

Darren FletcherLegal AdvisorRead More by this author

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