Unauthorised Driver

It is important to read all terms and conditions of your motor vehicle insurance policy.
Lisa loaned her motor vehicle to her cousin Mark to drop some friends to Matura. After dropping them off, Mark drove to his aunt’s house, properly secured the motor vehicle in the driveway opposite and went inside to rest. Upon awakening, he realized that the motor vehicle was missing. A neighbour mentioned that she saw his two (2) younger cousins driving off with the motor vehicle. Mark reported the incident to the police and the motor vehicle with damages to the front was later recovered.

Lisa was scheduled to leave the country the day after the incident and as such did not make a report to her insurance company until a few months later. Upon concluding its investigation, the insurance company determined that Lisa did not have a claim and that it was a family matter. Lisa did not agree with the determination of the insurance company and thus visited the Office of the Financial Services Ombudsman (OFSO).

The OFSO in following its process requested an investigation report from the insurance company. The OFSO was informed by the insurance company that while the motor vehicle was taken without permission they did not agree that it was stolen because it was taken by persons known to both Mark and Lisa and there was no intent to deprive the owner of her property. The insurance company found that the accident was caused by an unauthorized driver- one without a license to drive as well as permission to drive. As such, the claim was denied. The OFSO communicated this to Lisa and she was informed that if she still disagreed with the insurance company she could provide additional evidence to support her claim. Having not received any further information from Lisa, the file was closed.

Lessons Learnt:

1. It is important to read all terms and conditions of your motor vehicle insurance policy. Most policies will not honor claims where the person driving the vehicle is not authorized.

2.  In addition, according to the Motor Vehicles and Road Traffic Act, Chap 48:50 (M.V.R.T.A.) Sect 74 (1) (a): 

     You must not use a vehicle without the consent of the owner

                                             and

Sect 42 (1) (a) of the M.V.R.T.A:

You must be the holder of a driving permit valid for the class of vehicle you intend to drive.