News

“You can’t be left without insurance even if your car is 15-years-old,” says Ombudsman

NewsBy Morgan Flanagan Creagh
“You can’t be left without insurance even if your car is 15-years-old,” says Ombudsman

Reports today that two of Ireland’s biggest insurance companies are refusing to cover cars 15 years and older, even if they have a valid NCT cert, has sent waves of panic through Ireland’s motoring public.

Aviva and Allianz will no longer cover new customers driving cars 15 years and older because, the insurers claim, these vehicles tended to be involved in more collisions, used in fraud cases, had bald tyres and were poorly maintained.

However, a spokesman from the Financial Services Ombudsman Bureau today told The Sunday World that motorists cannot be left without insurance regardless of how old your car is.

According to the Financial Services Ombudsman Bureau If you are denied a motor quotation because of the age of your vehicle you are entitled to request a ‘refusal letter’ from the company.

If you get three refusal letters then the Ombudsman will contact insurers and get you a fair quote for your vehicle regardless of its age.

All insurers in Ireland operate a ‘Declined Cases Agreement’ which means they can’t “refuse to provide insurance to an individual seeking insurance, if he/she has approached at least three insurers and has not been able to obtain cover from them.”

The clampdown on older vehicles affects 250,000 Irish cars or 13 per cent of the national fleet of 1.91 million cars.

The Consumers Association of Ireland said the move would restrict competition in the market and lead to higher prices for some motorists.

"The insurance companies can determine what they want and you have to take it or leave it," chief executive Dermott Jewell said.

“When you have two of the largest withdrawing that cover, it skews the market. It reduces competition significantly, but also puts drivers in the position where, if other companies take the same view, they will load the owners of those cars, which is not fair or reasonable either."

There are still companies willing to cover older cars, like AXA, who said it had one of the widest acceptance criteria in the market and did not restrict vehicles but would seek a copy of the current NCT and FBD who claimed that the age of the vehicle was a factor, but it would not result in cover being refused.