An insurance exclusion refers to something that is not covered on your policy. In some instances it may mean that you’ll have to pay an additional fee to get full coverage, but in most cases certain things just won’t be covered at all.
This means that should you claim and there’s a specific exclusion in effect, the insurer has the full right to reject your claim.
All policies have exclusions. Every single one – even full comprehensive insurance – and it doesn’t matter what car you drive or where you live or how great your security is. Exclusions never fall away, and they’re in effect from beginning till end.
The most important thing to know about exclusions is that it doesn’t only involve items, but also other drivers, actions or situations.
The next thing you need to know is that insurers will often cite these exclusions to you at the time of purchase, but there are many general exclusions – too many for brokers to run by you – so it’s very important to go through your policy manual and familiarise yourself with all of them.
In this article, we’ll look at the most common types of exclusion you need to be aware of. Having a good grasp of these will enable you to not only avoid them when the time comes, but it will also give you a good idea of which insurance company to go with and what type of questions to ask.
Driving under the influence. This exclusion is the most common of all. If you’re involved in an accident while driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, your insurer will flat out refuse to honour your claim. What a lot of motorists don’t know is that if they refuse to undergo a breathalyser or blood test at the time of the accident, this is also seen as an admission of guilt and the insurer will reject your claim.
Unlawfully leaving the scene of an accident. Also known as a hit-and-run. All car accidents need to be reported to the police as soon as possible, and insurance / personal details need to be exchanged with other drivers involved. If you flee the scene without doing this, it’s also seen as an admission of guilt and your claim will be rejected.
Your vehicle needs to be roadworthy and your licences (drivers and licence disc) need to be updated and valid at all times. Most importantly, this includes the condition of your headlights and tyres. If the insurer finds out that your car fails to meet the roadworthy requirements, or licences are expired, your claim will be rejected. If your licence is endorsed – such as in for drunken driving – the same exclusion applies.
If your car is used for towing, law enforcement, emergency services or transporting fare-paying passengers, you’re not covered. The same applies for if your car is involved in a collision while racing.
If it is discovered that your car has been filled with the wrong type of fuel, your claim for any damages will be invalid.
While the above mentioned are a little more common, there are a couple of exclusions which a lot of people just don’t expect. Most insurers have more or less the same kinds of exclusions in their policies, all across the world, but here and there you may find some that differ. For this reason, it’s always important to ask questions.
One of the more unexpected – albeit obvious – exclusions involves bodily injury. Your car insurance policy usually covers medical assistance in the event of an accident, but there are exceptions. If you’re injured while transporting passengers or materials for compensation, the policy will not cover your medical expenses.
We’ve spoken a little bit about intent before, and the different types of intent which occur. If intent can be proven, your insurer will reject your claim. This involves anything from deliberately setting your car on fire or crashing it to something as seemingly trivial as kicking your car out of frustration. That dent will not be covered.
Many policies also don’t cover hail damage, damage caused by flying debris or even damage caused by a tree falling over onto your car. These are considered acts of nature, and in many cases they’re not covered. Only full comprehensive insurance policies will cover loss or damage due to acts of nature, so it’s wise to take that into consideration when requesting quotes.
Some drivers also choose to have their vehicle insured through multiple insurance companies. This may sound silly, and it’s not too common, but there are reasons for it. In most cases, one company might offer better liability coverage and another may be better with something else. The driver wants the best of both, but bear in mind that by doing this you also have two sets of exclusions to go through and the types of coverage may differ.