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  • FIRST POST
    • rdflynn
    • By rdflynn 7th Sep 17, 10:05 AM
    • 8Posts
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    rdflynn
    Car Insurance Question RE "locked boot"
    • #1
    • 7th Sep 17, 10:05 AM
    Car Insurance Question RE "locked boot" 7th Sep 17 at 10:05 AM
    Hi,

    I am trying to sort out the aftermath of a car break in with my insurance company and there have been a couple of issues which basically means they are not going to pay out (I can go into detail on this if needed but I am not sure if relevant at this stage).

    My question revolves around the definition of a locked boot - my insurance says that it will not pay out for items taken in a car break in unless they are in a locked glove box or boot. However, my car is an SUV (Honda CRV) and as such the boot is part of the car (i.e. it is possible to reach over the back seats into the boot). There is a small removable "parcel" shelf that I always have closed but this would offer no resistance to anyone wanting to access the boot if they broke in. Therefore, in my view, the policy cannot apply to my particular car as there is no way I could ever lock the boot in such a way to isolate it from the car. The implication is that the glove box and boot when mentioned in the policy are being viewed as separate "secure" areas in the car that are not accessible without much effort on the part of someone breaking in.

    I realise that this is probably something that has been legally tested etc but to me it seems a very strange area of the policy and feels as though it basically results in my policy being worthless based on my choice of car, as I can never satisfy the requirements of the policy to be covered unless I have a car where the boot is a lockable separate area in the car.

    Can anyone shed some light on this? I am looking into things in this much detail due to the issues I am having (and again willing to go into depth on this if anyone needs that information) but at the moment I am trying to find any specific areas of the policy wording that could be used for contesting the decision to not pay out.

    Thanks!
    Ryan
Page 1
    • Quentin
    • By Quentin 7th Sep 17, 10:09 AM
    • 32,728 Posts
    • 16,745 Thanks
    Quentin
    • #2
    • 7th Sep 17, 10:09 AM
    • #2
    • 7th Sep 17, 10:09 AM
    When you have any problems with an insurance claim then you should use the complaints procedure with a view to escalating to the FOS for their adjudication.

    The complaints procedure will be set out in the policy.

    Once you have submitted the complaint and they have replied (or ignored you for 8 weeks) you can then escalate to the FOS for their adjudication at no cost to you
    • Aretnap
    • By Aretnap 7th Sep 17, 1:27 PM
    • 2,719 Posts
    • 2,162 Thanks
    Aretnap
    • #3
    • 7th Sep 17, 1:27 PM
    • #3
    • 7th Sep 17, 1:27 PM
    My question revolves around the definition of a locked boot - my insurance says that it will not pay out for items taken in a car break in unless they are in a locked glove box or boot. However, my car is an SUV (Honda CRV) and as such the boot is part of the car (i.e. it is possible to reach over the back seats into the boot). There is a small removable "parcel" shelf that I always have closed but this would offer no resistance to anyone wanting to access the boot if they broke in. Therefore, in my view, the policy cannot apply to my particular car as there is no way I could ever lock the boot in such a way to isolate it from the car.
    Originally posted by rdflynn
    That would be one interpretation of the clause. However the other interpretation would be that if your car doesn't have a place where luggage can be stored securely then theft from the car would not be covered, full stop. You'd either have to not leave valuables in the car, or take the risk of having them stolen. I think that the latter would be the natural interpretation.

    I realise that this is probably something that has been legally tested etc but to me it seems a very strange area of the policy and feels as though it basically results in my policy being worthless based on my choice of car, as I can never satisfy the requirements of the policy to be covered unless I have a car where the boot is a lockable separate area in the car.
    Of course it doesn't make the policy worthless - it would still protect you if your possessions were destroyed in a fire, or indeed stolen from anywhere other than a car. It just means that the policy (possibly) wouldn't cover theft in that particular situation.

    That said the wording of the exclusion is important - does it simply say "locked boot", or does it say "locked boot or concealed luggage compartment" or some other form of words? I can't find an Ombudsman decision in a case exactly similar to yours on a quick search, but cases 35/5 and 35/6 here and case 63/8 here may be of some guidance.
    • rs65
    • By rs65 7th Sep 17, 6:28 PM
    • 5,222 Posts
    • 2,475 Thanks
    rs65
    • #4
    • 7th Sep 17, 6:28 PM
    • #4
    • 7th Sep 17, 6:28 PM
    My question revolves around the definition of a locked boot - my insurance says that it will not pay out for items taken in a car break in unless they are in a locked glove box or boot.
    Originally posted by rdflynn
    Mine says similar but must be hidden from view in a closed glove compartment or locked boot.

    Nothing there about it being isolated from the car.

    Your interpretation would exclude all SUVs and hatchbacks and even saloons with split rear seats. I don't think that is the intention.

    The intention is to avoid claims for belongings left on the seat, in view or in a luggage compartment without the shelf in place.
    • rdflynn
    • By rdflynn 17th Sep 17, 11:53 AM
    • 8 Posts
    • 0 Thanks
    rdflynn
    • #5
    • 17th Sep 17, 11:53 AM
    • #5
    • 17th Sep 17, 11:53 AM
    That would be one interpretation of the clause. However the other interpretation would be that if your car doesn't have a place where luggage can be stored securely then theft from the car would not be covered, full stop. You'd either have to not leave valuables in the car, or take the risk of having them stolen. I think that the latter would be the natural interpretation.


    Of course it doesn't make the policy worthless - it would still protect you if your possessions were destroyed in a fire, or indeed stolen from anywhere other than a car. It just means that the policy (possibly) wouldn't cover theft in that particular situation.

    That said the wording of the exclusion is important - does it simply say "locked boot", or does it say "locked boot or concealed luggage compartment" or some other form of words? I can't find an Ombudsman decision in a case exactly similar to yours on a quick search, but cases 35/5 and 35/6 ... may be of some guidance.
    Originally posted by Aretnap
    Thanks for this advice. Sorry if I get the "threading" wrong on replies - not used this forum before!

    The wording on the policy document is as follows:
    "possessions stolen from your unattended vehicle, but only if the vehicle is locked and your possessions are hidden from view in a closed glove compartment or locked boot"

    I saw some of the cases you link to, which is why I am pursuing this rather than just giving up on the situation. I feel that my case falls under a similar area as 35/6 (albeit with some differences). Thanks for the newer information, I had not seen that and it is useful.
    • rdflynn
    • By rdflynn 17th Sep 17, 12:02 PM
    • 8 Posts
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    rdflynn
    • #6
    • 17th Sep 17, 12:02 PM
    • #6
    • 17th Sep 17, 12:02 PM
    Mine says similar but must be hidden from view in a closed glove compartment or locked boot.

    Nothing there about it being isolated from the car.

    Your interpretation would exclude all SUVs and hatchbacks and even saloons with split rear seats. I don't think that is the intention.

    The intention is to avoid claims for belongings left on the seat, in view or in a luggage compartment without the shelf in place.
    Originally posted by rs65
    Thanks for the reply. I agree the intention of the claim wording is not to exclude certain types of car and to avoid having people claim for silly things like leaving a purse/wallet in open view. But as I have replied, the wording of the policy does not mention a luggage compartment or shelf - it simply says locked boot, like yours. I suspect that this language has never been challenged as the reasonable interpretation is as you have said. However, due to what has happened I am looking for anything to try and use for the challenge.

    I could go into a lot more ranty detail but I suspect this is not the right place to do so
    • Clifford_Pope
    • By Clifford_Pope 17th Sep 17, 2:14 PM
    • 3,332 Posts
    • 3,386 Thanks
    Clifford_Pope
    • #7
    • 17th Sep 17, 2:14 PM
    • #7
    • 17th Sep 17, 2:14 PM
    If goods on view are more vulnerable than goods in a separate locked partition, then why shouldn't premiums cost more or claims be excluded?

    You factor in the pros and cons when deciding what kind of car to have.
    • forgotmyname
    • By forgotmyname 17th Sep 17, 2:51 PM
    • 25,666 Posts
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    forgotmyname
    • #8
    • 17th Sep 17, 2:51 PM
    • #8
    • 17th Sep 17, 2:51 PM
    Were the items hidden from view? Using a parcel shelf or luggage cover?
    Punctuation, Spelling and Grammar will be used sparingly. Due to rising costs of inflation.

    My contribution to MSE. Other contributions will only be used if they cost me nothing.

    Due to me being a tight git.
    • takman
    • By takman 17th Sep 17, 2:53 PM
    • 2,611 Posts
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    takman
    • #9
    • 17th Sep 17, 2:53 PM
    • #9
    • 17th Sep 17, 2:53 PM
    Thanks for the reply. I agree the intention of the claim wording is not to exclude certain types of car and to avoid having people claim for silly things like leaving a purse/wallet in open view. But as I have replied, the wording of the policy does not mention a luggage compartment or shelf - it simply says locked boot, like yours. I suspect that this language has never been challenged as the reasonable interpretation is as you have said. However, due to what has happened I am looking for anything to try and use for the challenge.

    I could go into a lot more ranty detail but I suspect this is not the right place to do so
    Originally posted by rdflynn
    I think you need to go into some more detail of why your asking this question.

    I have seen similar wording on my own car insurance policies and I've always interpreted the wording to mean the goods are out of view in the boot and the boot is locked so cannot be simply opended by a theif to look inside.

    Most cars have a parcel shelf that separates the car from the boot and the strength of this shouldn't mean the insurance company don't pay out (unless you didn't put it in at all).

    Also some cars have a door inbetween the seats to allow access to the boot from the car. I wouldn't expect this door to mean you cannot claim on the insurance for things stolen from the boot.

    Most thefts from cars are because the thief can see the items and can quickly break in grab them and escape. If you put something in the boot the thief cannot see and even if the parcel shelf is very thin and weak. If they cannot see something potentially valuable they are very unlikely to break into the car go over the back seats, break the parcel shelf then root around in the boot.
    • rdflynn
    • By rdflynn 17th Sep 17, 6:38 PM
    • 8 Posts
    • 0 Thanks
    rdflynn
    Thanks for all the replies. I wanted to clarify some points as I fear that the reason I'm asking this might be misconstrued somewhat.

    To be clear - I am not trying to find a loophole in order to claim against my policy because of me doing something clearly and obviously out of the policy requirements. For instance, I can clearly see why I would not be able to claim if I had left a bag on full display on the front seat or something similar.

    My contention is that I had a bag that had been put into the rear footwell (i.e. behind the driver's seat) that was covered by clothing (I can see why this is problematic). The bag was not visible from the outside of the car as it was covered. Also (and again I can see why some of the following points are problematic): a. I have privacy glass round the entire back windows of the car, b. we were parked in a car park under a 5 star hotel in a very posh part of London, c. the car park is run by a reputable company that should have had attendants on the premises and d. was parked near the attendants office with motion detecting lights in the car park so any movement should have been picked up.

    It turns out that the attendant (only one is on per night) are shared amongst 7 other car parks in the area so they are never actually present in any given car park unless there is a specific reason to do so (i.e. someone's car is broken into, or a homeless person is sleeping in the lift). The CCTV is only pointed at the car park payment machine - there are no other cameras. The local police have repeatedly asked the car park owners to guard their car park as many people have had their cars broken into (we only found this out when we had the police officer contact us after the event) and, more worryingly, the police know enough about what has been happening to have a complete idea of the MO of the people doing the break-ins (i.e. the criminals know the shift patterns of the attendants, they know the vans that drop the attendants off at the start of their shifts etc) AND the police know the MO of attack - they only go for cars where the engine is warm as they know that the occupants have recently left the car and will not be back for a while. They do not target based on contents - they are speculative (i.e. they break into anything with a warm bonnet in the hopes of finding something).

    This is why I am trying to find something - anything - to contest this, as I feel that even if I had a partition boot with no ingress potential from the main body of the car I would still have been a target. The police officer said as much in his communication with me, as did the attending officers on the night - basically, wrong place wrong time. They still would have smashed the back window and rooted through the car (and obviously then be able to gain access to the boot from the main car with a boot release switch or similar) no matter what as they knew they could get away with it as there were no attendants and no risk of us coming back within a short time period. As I can't (to my knowledge) easily claim liability from the car park company (as they have the disclaimers that they bear no responsibility etc etc), I am looking to see if there is any way I can get the insurance company to look at my case again.

    I appreciate that I may be grasping at straws, and apologies if I have confused anyone. I am not naive enough to think that I have found some never before seen loophole in my policy, and I am not trying to get a situation where I can sue someone for millions. I am just immensely frustrated that it appears that my insurance policy is rather worthless when I needed it most (I have seen that other insurers, such as Hiscox, do not seem to have the same exceptions in their policy - and yes, I will be moving my policy over to them if that is the case).

    Once again, thank you all for the information and the pointers towards further information. I may not be able to do anything about this and have to accept that I have basically been a bit of an idiot, but at the same time I feel very aggrieved that this situation could have been easily mitigated by the car park company simply spending a little bit of money to ensure their security was up to scratch.
    • lisyloo
    • By lisyloo 17th Sep 17, 7:28 PM
    • 21,148 Posts
    • 10,131 Thanks
    lisyloo
    To be clear - I am not trying to find a loophole in order to claim against my policy because of me doing something clearly and obviously out of the policy requirements.
    I think you are.
    The policy requirements are boot or locked compartment.
    A footwell is not covered, simple as that.

    I would highly recommend hiscox.
    • elsien
    • By elsien 17th Sep 17, 7:40 PM
    • 15,046 Posts
    • 37,631 Thanks
    elsien
    So the quibble about the locked boot isn't relevant as the items weren't in the boot anyway?
    I've always read it that if the items are in the locked boot and the parcel shelf is in place so they can't be seen then it's covered, even if not in a fully separate compartment. Having things in the footwell is different because even if there's a coat plonked on top, there still a fair bet that there's something underneath.
    All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well.

    Pedant alert - it's could have, not could of.
    • forgotmyname
    • By forgotmyname 17th Sep 17, 9:39 PM
    • 25,666 Posts
    • 10,200 Thanks
    forgotmyname
    Its possible they broke in just for the coat and the items beneath were a bonus.

    Yes your totally clutching at straws. The boot issue is a non issue. The items were not in the boot area. So complaining about that will not get you very far.

    Your items were in the footwell, covered by an item but it could have been that item they broke in for.

    You made a mistake, learn from it and move on.

    Also the police asking the carpark to have an attendant is also a non issue, its upto them how they run their carpark. The carpark owners could say why do the police not patrol the area.
    Punctuation, Spelling and Grammar will be used sparingly. Due to rising costs of inflation.

    My contribution to MSE. Other contributions will only be used if they cost me nothing.

    Due to me being a tight git.
    • takman
    • By takman 17th Sep 17, 11:33 PM
    • 2,611 Posts
    • 2,166 Thanks
    takman
    Thanks for all the replies. I wanted to clarify some points as I fear that the reason I'm asking this might be misconstrued somewhat.

    To be clear - I am not trying to find a loophole in order to claim against my policy because of me doing something clearly and obviously out of the policy requirements. For instance, I can clearly see why I would not be able to claim if I had left a bag on full display on the front seat or something similar.

    My contention is that I had a bag that had been put into the rear footwell (i.e. behind the driver's seat) that was covered by clothing (I can see why this is problematic). The bag was not visible from the outside of the car as it was covered. Also (and again I can see why some of the following points are problematic): a. I have privacy glass round the entire back windows of the car, b. we were parked in a car park under a 5 star hotel in a very posh part of London, c. the car park is run by a reputable company that should have had attendants on the premises and d. was parked near the attendants office with motion detecting lights in the car park so any movement should have been picked up.

    It turns out that the attendant (only one is on per night) are shared amongst 7 other car parks in the area so they are never actually present in any given car park unless there is a specific reason to do so (i.e. someone's car is broken into, or a homeless person is sleeping in the lift). The CCTV is only pointed at the car park payment machine - there are no other cameras. The local police have repeatedly asked the car park owners to guard their car park as many people have had their cars broken into (we only found this out when we had the police officer contact us after the event) and, more worryingly, the police know enough about what has been happening to have a complete idea of the MO of the people doing the break-ins (i.e. the criminals know the shift patterns of the attendants, they know the vans that drop the attendants off at the start of their shifts etc) AND the police know the MO of attack - they only go for cars where the engine is warm as they know that the occupants have recently left the car and will not be back for a while. They do not target based on contents - they are speculative (i.e. they break into anything with a warm bonnet in the hopes of finding something).

    This is why I am trying to find something - anything - to contest this, as I feel that even if I had a partition boot with no ingress potential from the main body of the car I would still have been a target. The police officer said as much in his communication with me, as did the attending officers on the night - basically, wrong place wrong time. They still would have smashed the back window and rooted through the car (and obviously then be able to gain access to the boot from the main car with a boot release switch or similar) no matter what as they knew they could get away with it as there were no attendants and no risk of us coming back within a short time period. As I can't (to my knowledge) easily claim liability from the car park company (as they have the disclaimers that they bear no responsibility etc etc), I am looking to see if there is any way I can get the insurance company to look at my case again.

    I appreciate that I may be grasping at straws, and apologies if I have confused anyone. I am not naive enough to think that I have found some never before seen loophole in my policy, and I am not trying to get a situation where I can sue someone for millions. I am just immensely frustrated that it appears that my insurance policy is rather worthless when I needed it most (I have seen that other insurers, such as Hiscox, do not seem to have the same exceptions in their policy - and yes, I will be moving my policy over to them if that is the case).

    Once again, thank you all for the information and the pointers towards further information. I may not be able to do anything about this and have to accept that I have basically been a bit of an idiot, but at the same time I feel very aggrieved that this situation could have been easily mitigated by the car park company simply spending a little bit of money to ensure their security was up to scratch.
    Originally posted by rdflynn
    Just like i said above thieves will usually only break into a car if they can see something to steal. So the coat in the rear foot well of the car is a big giveaway that it is being used to hide something and even if its not they have gained a coat. Just think about it why would someone put their coat on the floor in the rear of the car when it is easier to just put it on the seat... unless of course it is hiding something.

    Most cars these days do not have a mechanical boot release (i can't think of any that do). Even my car that is from 1998 has an electronic boot switch that only operates when the car is uncloaked by the central locking and my newer car that has boot switches inside do no work unless the car is unlocked. So getting into the car does not mean a thief can open the boot.

    You also need to get into the mindset that almost no car parks are actually secure so in future just get into the habit of putting everything in the boot before you leave the car.

    But you mention about breaking the rear window, just out of interest is this what they did to get into the car?. If not which window did they break and how many?.
    • rdflynn
    • By rdflynn 18th Sep 17, 11:50 AM
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    rdflynn
    But you mention about breaking the rear window, just out of interest is this what they did to get into the car?. If not which window did they break and how many?.
    Originally posted by takman
    Yes, they did break the rear driver side window - did not touch the front windows at all. There was no sign of blood or anything, and no sign of the item used for the break in, so the police think it was a brick or something similar that they then took back with them.
    • rdflynn
    • By rdflynn 18th Sep 17, 11:51 AM
    • 8 Posts
    • 0 Thanks
    rdflynn
    I think you are.
    The policy requirements are boot or locked compartment.
    A footwell is not covered, simple as that.

    I would highly recommend hiscox.
    Originally posted by lisyloo
    Thanks for the recommendation of Hiscox.
    • rdflynn
    • By rdflynn 18th Sep 17, 11:56 AM
    • 8 Posts
    • 0 Thanks
    rdflynn
    So the quibble about the locked boot isn't relevant as the items weren't in the boot anyway?
    I've always read it that if the items are in the locked boot and the parcel shelf is in place so they can't be seen then it's covered, even if not in a fully separate compartment. Having things in the footwell is different because even if there's a coat plonked on top, there still a fair bet that there's something underneath.
    Originally posted by elsien
    Yep, that's what I would have thought if there were a normal MO for the criminals, This is basically as the police have said that it wouldn't matter what was/was not on show, it still would have happened.

    But as has been pointed out elsewhere I am just going to have to accept that I made a stupid mistake and let it go.

    Thanks for the input.
    • rdflynn
    • By rdflynn 18th Sep 17, 11:56 AM
    • 8 Posts
    • 0 Thanks
    rdflynn
    Its possible they broke in just for the coat and the items beneath were a bonus.

    Yes your totally clutching at straws. The boot issue is a non issue. The items were not in the boot area. So complaining about that will not get you very far.

    Your items were in the footwell, covered by an item but it could have been that item they broke in for.

    You made a mistake, learn from it and move on.

    Also the police asking the carpark to have an attendant is also a non issue, its upto them how they run their carpark. The carpark owners could say why do the police not patrol the area.
    Originally posted by forgotmyname
    Fair enough.
    • lisyloo
    • By lisyloo 18th Sep 17, 12:08 PM
    • 21,148 Posts
    • 10,131 Thanks
    lisyloo
    Most cars these days do not have a mechanical boot release (i can't think of any that do).

    My 1988 Corsa does. Appreciate that's old.
    • takman
    • By takman 18th Sep 17, 7:49 PM
    • 2,611 Posts
    • 2,166 Thanks
    takman
    Yes, they did break the rear driver side window - did not touch the front windows at all. There was no sign of blood or anything, and no sign of the item used for the break in, so the police think it was a brick or something similar that they then took back with them.
    Originally posted by rdflynn
    If they only broke the window next to where the coat was kept this does also point to them only breaking in to get the item. So if they didn't see anything it's likely they wouldn't have broken into the car at all.
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