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Car Insurance Query

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mrs_overall | 10:32 Tue 20th Jan 2015 | Insurance
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A friend of mine is a self employed taxi driver. In November 2014 his insurance was due for renewal and he insured his car through Aviva. The two things he insisted on was gap insurance and a courtesy car suitable for use as a taxi. He admits he didn't read the policy documents when they came.
On New Years Eve he was involved in an accident - his and two other cars were written off by a drunk driver.
After he was told by Aviva that his car was a write off, he queried to confirm he had gap insurance and was verbally assured that he had (he made a note of the name of the person he was speaking to).
They messed him around re the courtesy car and it didn't arrive until 15th January. He refused to accept it as it was totally unsuitable for use as a taxi. They have now paid out the finance company and told him he doesn't have gap insurance. They have also billed him £17.99 a day from 7th January for the courtesy car.
He is paying for the insurance by monthly payments. He rang them to say he was stopping payments. They said he has to continue with the payments until November or they will take him to court.
What are his rights?

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I'll cover some of the points and let others deal with your other requests.
1) The killer is unfortunately not reading the policy, and having someone verbally on the end of a phone line confirm something verbally when the original documents say something different is not going to help.
2) Sure, he can cancel his insurance, but that doesn't mean the monthly schedule of premiums just stop. He has purchased an annual premium paid for in monthly instalments. So the company has the right to charge him a cancellation cost and refund unused months, however it would be extremely rare if the refund due is in line with the monthly premiums. The detail will be in the terms of the policy, but a typical refund might be 50% of the premium after 3 months.
So he can't cancel without making further payments and they will take him to court for the outstanding amounts due at the date of cancellation.
Then there's going to be the issue of getting replacement cover - with a recent new claim to add to the record. As it stands he won't be reassessed for the additional claim until the normal renewal date for him in November 2015.
Probably better to maintain the current cover unless he is giving up taxi-driving completely.
yes, BM is correct, if it says it on the policy you have it, if it doesn't you don't have it. It is vital to read and satisfy yourself you are getting what you think you are getting. Also insurance is annual, it is a concession many offer to allow monthly payment but it is in fact annual so he must pay the premiums till the end of the year concerned.

Gap insurance is not generally part of a standard motor policy so that sounds odd to me.
The answer given by BM is correct so far as matters between the insured and his Insurer A viva are concerned.

However his uninsured losses should be claimed directly against the drunk driver's insurer,and these should cover his loss of earnings for the period he was unable to work.

If I were him I would be consulting a lawyer concerning his losses in this unfortunate matter.
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Thank you all for your comprehensive and helpful answers.
I will pass them on to him.
Question Author
If anyone reading this can help with advice re the courtesy car I would be grateful.
His policy DOES include a courtesy car, so why are they billing him £17.99 a day for it? There is also the matter of them billing him from 7th January when they did not turn up with the car until 15th January. Why should he pay for a car that is unsuitable for use as a taxi? (It is specified in his policy that it will be a car suitable for this use)
GAP is usually only available if the car is used for domestic purposes, the call would have been recorded, he needs a copy of it.
He's made a claim on this year's cover...so, he'll have to pay the whole premium and certainly no refunds/partial refunds are due.
well it sounds like he can dispute the charge for the car then MrsO. He needs to talk to them and get the full story of the whys and wherefors.
Most policies will pay a set rate for a defined period for a hire car, if the hire goes beyond that period or the cost of the vehicle is higher than the rate set then the additional cost is past to the motorist.
That cost shouldn't apply to the period before it was delivered and refused as unsuitable though, should it?
Having spent 8 years in private hire while those around me crashed their cars and had problems galore with insurance companies. A replacement car to "use for hire and reward" was completely unheard of as part of an insurance policy. A courtesy car was often issued but it was not to be used for business.
I'm sure if you look at terms and conditions of any hire/loan car this exclusion will be included.
There is not a car rental company in the land that will want a meter installed in their car along with an aerial and a ID plate.

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