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PostPosted: Fri Feb 03, 2012 23:03 
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MCN By Steve Farrell wrote:
How thousands of motorcyclists could be unwittingly uninsured
By Steve Farrell - 30 January 2012 11:29

Thousands of motorcyclists could be unwittingly riding without insurance because of confusion over what constitutes a full licence.
Many riders tell their insurance company they have had a full licence since the date they passed their standard motorcycle test.
But the insurance ombudsman has concluded they are wrong, and a full licence is only obtained when the 33bhp power restriction elapses, usually two years after passing the standard test.

It means motorcyclists are unwittingly misinforming their insurers about how long they have held a full licence and being undercharged as a result. It renders policies invalid and could be grounds for claims to be rejected.
Alasdair Osborn had his policy cancelled on his Honda CD200 Benley by eBike after telling the broker he’d held a full licence since passing his standard bike test.
The broker argued he had not acquired a full licence until two years later, when the 33bhp restriction was removed. The firm demanded an extra £35 extra which Osborn refused to pay.

The Financial Ombudsman rejected Osborn’s complaint, telling him: ‘You discussed the problem with the DVLA and various emails confirm you passed your test on 29 April 2000 but – significantly – were restricted from riding larger bikes until 29 April 2002, because you were under 21 when you passed the test. As a result, you did not have a full licence until 29 April 2002.’
According to some insurers including Carole Nash and MCE, riders who say they have held a full licence since they passed the standard test are correct. But others agree with the ombudsman.
EBike said: ‘As the DVLA-issued photocard licence for Mr Osborn indicated he had a full motorcycle licence which had commenced in 2002, this conflicted with the information he had supplied.’

Osborn, 30, a lab assistant from Peterborough, said: "It's a complete farce. I was always under the impression that if you passed a test, the day you passed was the day you qualified."
The confusion appears to have arisen from the codes used by DVLA to refer to the various kinds of motorcycle licences.
The agency refers to a full unrestricted motorcycle licence as 'category A’.
On passing the standard test, riders immediately have this code added to their photocard licence in the list of vehicles they have full entitlement to use. A clarification that they are restricted to 33bhp appears in a separate column on the licence.
But later, DVLA changes the photocard licence to say the rider has only had category ‘A’ entitlement since the 33bhp restriction expired, up to two years after the category was originally added. The period in which the rider was restricted to 33bhp is now referred to only on the paper counterpart. But here the type of vehicle they were entitled to ride during that period has been changed to category ‘A2’.

A DVLA spokeswoman said: "DVLA issues licences in as clear a format as possible.
"There are no imminent plans to change the entitlement history section on the counterpart at this stage."
Do you tell your insurer you’ve had a full licence since passing the standard test or since the subsequent 33bhp restriction elapsed? Help establish the extent of the problem by filling in our survey.
I must say when I took my test I ensured that I understood it all fully before deciding what I wanted to do. Again it is your responsibility to understand what motorbike license you are planning to take and planning to pass. Any uncertainty should be discussed until you are absolutely clear.

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 04, 2012 14:29 
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It appears to me that the insurance company should be insuring a driver/rider for the vehicle he is qualified for irrespective of whether the term "full license" is applied or not!
Why the additional charge for not yet being able to ride a larger motorcycle until two years elapse? The rider is NOT riding the larger capacity bike is he?
The Ins Co KNOW how old he is, and the size of the vehicle they are insuring!

The only exception I could think of, would be if the BROKER selected the wrong policy if one excluded a younger driver - but that would be the BROKER's fault, not the rider.

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 29, 2012 15:07 
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Seeing as there appears to be confusion, IMHO it really needs to be a requirement for insurance companies and brokers to explain clearly what is meant by a full license for the purposes of insurance at the time of the agreement. People have a full license for the vehicle they are insuring, I can quite see why the confusion occurs and why people would say they have a full license. This wants sorted out before it ruins somebody's life, imaging being involved in an accident where there is sever injury or even death, thinking you were fully insured and had given your details in good faith, and then finding you are not insured, the consequences for all involved could be horrendous.

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 29, 2012 16:17 
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Slightly O/T, but over the years ,I've had to find out spec for cars I needed to insure . Questions like ,does it have ABS/ Immobileser / security system .This year ,I found out that my little weasel even has Thatcham 1 immobiliser . But they have the car specs, and given the reg , the data from makers SHOULD be available . At times ,I wonder just how incompetant the insurance industry is .Or they just loking for excuses not to pay out.

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 29, 2012 18:28 
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botach wrote:
Slightly O/T, but over the years ,I've had to find out spec for cars I needed to insure . Questions like ,does it have ABS/ Immobileser / security system .This year ,I found out that my little weasel even has Thatcham 1 immobiliser . But they have the car specs, and given the reg , the data from makers SHOULD be available . At times ,I wonder just how incompetant the insurance industry is .Or they just loking for excuses not to pay out.


Botach, I think your last two sentences hits the nail firmly on the head. Of course the other thing is to screw as much money out of you that they possibly can. Have you noticed how suddenly we have admin fees added and a charge for any changes that are made to a policy. At one time this was all included in the standard policy charge. But these days if there is anything that they can make an extra buck on, they will.

But getting back to the original post, if someone is insuring a bike within the power band they have a full licence to cover, then to me they have a full licence for that vehicle. Its like on a car licence, you can only drive a heavy motorcar if over 21. Does this mean your full licence dosn't start till you are 21? I think the decision of the Onbudsman wants challenging.


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