In March 2007, Jeremy* insured his Subaru Legacy, and in May he lost control in wet weather and crashed it. He made a claim, and his insurer’s assessor confirmed the car was a total loss. After the accident, the police issued Jeremy with infringement offence notices, which included reference to “operating a vehicle with a smooth tyre”. Reports from the police, the assessor and the tyre specialist confirmed the tyre had barely any tread.
Having a warrant, which the vehicle did have, doesn’t automatically make a car warrantable at the time of the accident. The vehicle’s owner is responsible for ensuring it is safe and roadworthy. Jeremy’s claim was declined due to the policy exclusion which specifies there is no cover if an accident occurs when the car is not in a safe or roadworthy condition. Jeremy argued he didn’t know about the tyre, and it didn’t cause the accident. However, there was enough evidence to show he did or should have known about the smooth tyre, and it contributed to losing control in wet weather.
Complaint not upheld.
*Names have been changed.