Insurers in post-Brexit talks to ditch European court ruling forcing them to pay for accidents on private land

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Michael O'Dwyer
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The change would impact vehicles like quad bikes
The change would impact vehicles like quad bikes

Insurers are in post-Brexit talks with the Government to ditch a European court ruling that forces them to pay for motor accidents on private land.

Industry bosses said the rules, which also make insurance compulsory for off-road vehicles such as Segways and quad bikes, increase costs and that these end up being passed on to drivers through higher insurance premiums.

Insurers may find that the Government is receptive to their pleas for change. Boris Johnson previously branded the ruling of Europe’s highest court as “insane” and a “pointless and expensive burden on millions of people”.

“The kiddie quad bike insurance law is a perfect example of both the over-regulation that has sapped the competitiveness of the EU and burdened it with low growth and high unemployment,” he wrote for The Telegraph in 2017.

The requirement was introduced after a Slovenian man took his claim all the way to the European Court of Justice over an insurer’s refusal to pay out when his ladder was hit by a tractor.

Dominic Clayden, chief executive of the Motor Insurers’ Bureau, said: “The ... ruling means premium-paying motorists will end up footing the bill for claims involving a bizarre range of vehicles, such as e-scooters, lawnmowers and golf carts, as well as for accidents on private land.

“Now that we have left the European Union, the UK has the opportunity to change our laws to remove this unnecessary cost for motorists.”

Mr Clayden confirmed that the Motor Insurers’ Bureau, the industry-funded body which pays compensation for accidents caused by uninsured drivers, is in “constructive dialogue” with the Government over the issue.

The UK’s departure from the EU could also open the door for a review of the 2012 directive that forced insurers to charge men and women the same price for cover.

The ban on price discrimination resulted in higher premiums for female drivers but smaller price reductions for men, who pose a statistically higher risk for insurers.