Liability to former insurance company after sale of vehicle

Someone recently drew my attention via Facebook to this article.

The scenario described is as follows:

  1. A motorcycle rider sold his motorcycle;
  2. He did not cancel his insurance policy;
  3. The buyer did not obtain his own insurance;
  4. The buyer caused an accident;
  5. The seller’s insurance company was said to be liable to pay out for the accident;
  6. The seller’s insurance company was then said to be entitled to recover from the seller for its loss in doing so.

Instinctively, one would not expect the insurance company to be liable for the actions of someone who was not insured under the policy. So where does this come from?

The answer would appear to be section 151 of the Road Traffic Act 1988. That appears to say – paraphrasing – that if a vehicle is covered by a contract of insurance, the insurer must pay out for third party loss on claims that would have been covered had the policy insured all persons, in circumstances where the claim arises against someone other than someone who is insured by the policy.

Section 151(8) appears to be what entitles the insurance company to recover from the policyholder, in circumstances where the policyholder “caused or permitted the use of the vehicle that gave rise to the liability”.

That might seem straightforward where an insured person had lent their vehicle to someone who was not insured. In that situation, there appears to be a degree of protection  in the authorities for the policyholder, in that where he or she does that, but on condition that the person who is to drive has obtained his or her own insurance, that is not permission in the event that the person has not in fact obtained insurance but goes ahead and drives anyway. Permission given subject to a condition that is not fulfilled is not permission (Newbury -v- Davis [1974] RTR 367).

But isn’t it rather odd to talk about “permission” at all once a vehicle has been sold? After that point, it seems to me that the seller simply no longer has any role in permitting or denying the vehicle to be used, or imposing conditions as to its use such as insurance. Can it really be said that the act of selling the vehicle itself amounts to “causing or permitting” its use by the buyer? It would be surprising indeed if this were held to be the case in relation to the comparable offence of causing or permitting a vehicle to be used without insurance under Section 143 of the Road Traffic Act 1988. If so, every seller would face potential liability for that offence.

I have looked for a case where a court has actually found a seller liable in a situation like this for “causing or permitting” the buyer to drive without insurance, but cannot immediately find one. I’m not entirely surprised, because it doesn’t seem to quite fit. If this ever happened to me, I’d certainly be inclined to push back on this issue before turning my assets over to the insurance company.

Indeed, I would have thought that the situation that the legislation is aimed at is not this one at all, but rather that where an insured vehicle is lent to someone or is stolen. There, if the borrowed or stolen vehicle is crashed, it makes sense as a matter of public policy for third parties to be able to claim even though technically the driver was not insured to be driving, rather than being left high-and-dry with no-one to claim against. If the policyholder permitted the use, I can see why he or she ought then in theory to have some responsibility to the insurance company. But if the situation where ownership of the vehicle actually passes but the buyer doesn’t bother to insure is covered at all, that looks to me more like an unforeseen consequence. Couldn’t insurance companies avoid this liability (and therefore any need to pass it on) by providing that cover automatically terminates upon the policyholder ceasing to own the vehicle?

All that said, this story suggests that the safest policy must be to inform one’s insurance company promptly in writing upon sale of an insured vehicle.

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Snetterton 300 – 28 August 2014

My first (and probably only) track day of this year was a Bike Magazine “Reclaim Our Tracks” road bikes-only day at Snetterton 300. Really good day. Met a few good lads in the garage and the Daytona went well.

Biblical rain in the morning. The most sliding around I have ever done on a track day. Interesting how slidy one can get without actually binning it. Which would have been a pain since I rode there…

Dried up in the afternoon and so I enjoyed putting the hammer down a bit more. Not too many in the group – perhaps due to the morning’s weather – so plenty of clear track in between traffic.

The new Bridgestone T30 sports touring tyres I’ve put on for Winter seemed pretty good for both sets of conditions. Although, to be honest, I thought they might be less slippy in the wet than they turned out to be, so heaven knows what it’d have been like on the OEM Supercorsas. In the dry, no moments from the T30s at all, pushing to my own limits.

Bought a couple of photos from the dry sessions:

My current object of desire is the Ducati 899 Panigale and there were a couple of them out there, including Bike Magazine’s long-term tester. I had a word with its custodian and he didn’t have a bad word to say about it, so that was no help at all in talking me out of spending money on one! It also still looked great (in the white), despite 7,000 miles on the clock. It would be almost criminal to chop in the Triumph though – it is a fantastic machine and really went great around that track!

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Peak District 8 May 2014

I’ve always quite liked the idea of the great outdoors and seeing a bit of what the country has to offer, but never really felt like I knew what I was doing. I didn’t do CCF or Duke of Edinburgh at school and, as far as I remember, my childhood Scout group was more about lighting fires and playing British bulldog than learning much in the way of scouting skills. Contrast with various university mates, who apparently think nothing of going off doing the OMM, or the Welsh 3,000s, or whatever.

So I thought that it would be nice at least to learn the basics of how to navigate, so that if I go out walking with the family when the kids get a bit older we don’t all get lost. Accordingly, I did a weekend course last Summer in the Peak District with the Silva Navigation School in Tideswell and went back last November for the second level.

However, I still wasn’t as confident as I wanted to be about planning a good route and handling finding the way when all the responsibility was on my shoulders. What I really needed was a bit of practice. So I took a couple of days off work and went back to the Peak District for a wander about. As is evident by the fact that I’m writing this, I made it back. So, to that extent at least, the navigation was a success. But it was not entirely without event.

I’d booked a couple of nights in Rockingham Lodge in Tideswell, a comfortable and friendly B&B that I’d recommend if anyone’s in the area. I drove up on the Wednesday evening and off I went on Thursday morning to Edale to walk my route.

I started out from the main car park in Edale in cloudy, drizzly weather. A fiver into the machine for a day’s parking, so remember your change. I went along the road a little ways in order to get to the path to climb up to Hollins Cross on the Great Ridge separating the Edale and Castleton Vales. Just as I turned onto the footpath, I caught up with a school party, who kindly let me past so I could enjoy the tranquility of some time to myself rather than following them around all day.

Upon attaining the ridge, I turned right, heading towards Mam Tor.

Along the Great Ridge from Hollins Cross towards Mam Tor, Peak District

View along Rushup Edge from Mam Tor, Peak District

After passing the Mam Tor summit and trig point, I headed down across the road and up again on the other side along Rushup Edge over Lord’s Seat and across the moor onto Brown Knoll so that I could get around the bottom of the Edale valley onto Kinder Scout. This section across to Brown Knoll felt pretty remote and featureless and was the first potential navigational challenge of the route, particularly since I hadn’t seen a soul since a couple of Canadians going the other way had said hello at the Mam Tor summit. The compass therefore came out to check that what appeared to be the track across the peat followed the correct bearing and the stopwatch went on to time the 2.4km before I should be expecting to reach the trig point at Brown Knoll. A few minutes short of the estimated time and there it was, after which it was time to descend to the top of the Jacob’s Ladder path onto Kinder Scout and on up to Kinder Low.

Brown Knoll trig point, Peak District

I stopped just beneath Edale Rocks for my second cup of coffee of the walk and a sandwich, also putting my waterproofs on against the rain, which had by now increased from sporadic drizzle to something more significant. A couple of guys passed me coming down a paved path from Edale Rocks – the first people I had seen since Mam Tor.

View down into Edale valley from beneath Edale Rocks, Kinder Scout, Peak District

The plan now was to go up to Kinder Low and walk out on a bearing from the trig point to find the 636m summit on the plateau marked on the OS map. I duly found the trig point, sticking up out of an apparently trackless moonscape (this will become relevant later in the story), off to the right of where I had come up from Edale Rocks.

Approaching Kinder Low trig point, Kinder Scout, Peak District

I therefore set out from the trig point on a bearing of 54° and paced and timed to estimate the 750m I had measured on the map to the spot height, checking as I went with a back bearing on the Kinder Low trig point, which remained in view. As I approached the expected position, I spotted a small cairn, approximately on the right bearing but possibly a bit short in terms of distance. I walked to it for a photo.

Small cairn with post on summit plateau, Kinder Scout, Peak District

I then experienced how quickly the cloud can come down in this area. The Kinder Low trig point was now rapidly becoming obscured. However, I got back there without difficulty by walking the reverse bearing.

View towards Kinder Low trig point from summit plateau, cloud coming down, Kinder Scout, Peak District

But it was now time for the big mistake of the day. I thought I would walk along the Pennine Way along the edge of the plateau to take a look at the Kinder Downfall before starting to head for home. The cloud was now quite thick and the visibility only a few metres. Nevertheless, I set off in what I thought was the correct northerly direction, following from cairn to cairn until I soon found a paved path which I assumed would be the Pennine Way. What I should have done, of course, was get the compass out again. But blithely heading along the apparently obvious path without doing so, the first alarm bell rang. Another paved path off to the left, heading slightly down and back on itself. Hmmm, that wasn’t on the map as coming off the Pennine Way. Still, I continued along the path for another indication, confident that I could always follow the paving back if it was wrong.

After some distance, I passed a mound with a fence around it (I later worked out that this must have been Kinder Low Barrow). I had ended up going completely the wrong way in the cloud, but hadn’t fully figured it out yet. The path dropped down a little out of the cloud and two more big alarm bells. The land was falling away on my left as expected, but on my right, instead of a plateau, the land was also falling away. I appeared to be on a relatively narrow spur, rather than the edge of a plateau. Secondly, to the right and in front I could see out of the cloud down to a reservoir. Which, of course, according to the map should have been on my lefthand side if I had been where I was supposed to be. Time to retrace steps…

This was the only point in the day where things started to get a little tricky. Retracing my steps back to the Kinder Low trig point involved going back into cloud which by now had become even thicker on the top, with visibility minimal. Despite this, I successfully reattained the trig point by following the paved path and the line of cairns that had originally led me astray, but having done so, I was completely enveloped in cloud and soon not a single feature of any kind, or a path in any direction, was visible. After briefly entertaining a frisson of panic that I would be lost up there forever (it is noticeable that I have started getting serious and stopped taking pictures by this point!), I took a bearing off the map to Edale Rocks and walked blindly out with my compass (and a prayer), counting my paces. Sure enough, very soon, the rocks appeared into view out of the cloud and the expected Pennine Way paved path down towards the top of Jacob’s Ladder was there. Time for a sigh of relief and to get the camera out again…

Thick cloud on Kinder Scout just below Edale Rocks, Peak District

Following that path past the left turn for the southern edge path and taking the next left for the Pennine Way, I soon came out of the cloud again. The cairn at the top of Jacob’s Ladder was shortly within sight.

Cairn at the top of Jacob's Ladder, Kinder Scout, Peak District

Top of Jacob's Ladder, Kinder Scout, Peak District

After that, it was an easy stroll along the Pennine Way back to Edale, pausing briefly at the bridge over the River Noe to remove waterproofs.

Pennine Way path towards Edale, Peak District

Upon arriving in Edale, there was time for a well-earned pint of Bradfield Farmers Blonde in the Nag’s Head before heading back to the B&B after an enjoyable, occasionally challenging, but ultimately successful day’s navigation practice around the bottom of the Edale Valley, with a few lessons learnt and a bit of confidence gained.

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Donington Park, 8 July 2013

So, further to the post below, I sold the R1, bought a Triumph Daytona 675 and, having run it in, took it for a spin around the track at Donington earlier this month. Loving it so far. My sort of bike. Enjoyed the R1, though, don’t get me wrong. A few pictures, from Pete Wileman, because it’s a new bike:

Donington Park 1

Donington Park 2

Donington Park 3

Donington Park 4

Donington Park 5

Donington Park 6

Donington Park 7

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Snetterton 300, 3 June 2013

Had my first trackday of the year at Snetterton with No Limits on Monday. Since it was a sunny day, and since I had a new helmet, I bought the obligatory picture from Pete Wileman:

Snetterton 3 June 2013

In other bike–related news, I went over to the Triumph dealer in Hemel on Saturday to have a go on a Scrambler. Nice looking bike, but what was really fun was the Daytona 675 that they also sent me out to try. And which I now want.

Anyone want to buy a nice 2006 R1?!

  • 9,000 miles;
  • Akrapovic carbon slip–on cans;
  • R&G frame, fork and engine protectors;
  • rear paddock stand bobbins;
  • Meta alarm and immobiliser;
  • Datatag;
  • tinted double–bubble screen;
  • gear indicator;
  • just MOT’d and taxed for a year;
  • new front brake pads.

£4,500 ono. Hit me up.

SOLD, to the gentleman from the Netherlands.

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Snetterton pictures

Some pictures from Sunday from

Motorcycle at Snetterton

Motorcycle at Snetterton

Motorcycle at Snetterton

Motorcycle at Snetterton

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Went back to Snetterton for another track day today. Well, track morning, actually, because things got rained off after lunch. Got soaked on the way home. Tried out a new I-phone App that I bought, which uses the GPS and other functions to act as a poor-man’s data-logger and lap-timer. Seemed to work fine with the phone tucked away under the seat. Pretty cool! For the record, the lap-times it recorded were as follows:

Session 1

Didn’t time

Session 2

  • 2:38.79
  • 2:27.67
  • 2:31.21
  • 2:33.37

Session 3

  • 2:54.22
  • 2:41:66
  • 2:38.42
  • 2:28.44
  • 2:25.97

Session 4

  • 2:33.30

It was in ‘novice’ group. There was a fair bit of slower traffic to navigate.

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Donington Park, 24 July 2012

Another track day yesterday, this time at Donington. A super hot day and finally got the shot of the left knee down!

tucola at Donington on motorcycle

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Snetterton 300, 15 June 2012

Went back out on track for the first time in about three years, the last outing having been before my first kid was born. The venue was the Snetterton 300 circuit, which I thought was excellent. After a nervous first session, really enjoyed it. Plenty of knee-down action. Some great left-hand corners in particular, although unfortunately the photographer didn’t capture a left knee-down pic, so I still haven’t got one. Here are the pictures I did get:

Got the biking mojo back a bit and am keen to do some more days this year.

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Why is rent so expensive?

This story suggesting that private rent is unaffordable struck a chord. I am in the course of selling the two bedroom flat in central London where I have been for the last 10+ years in order to move somewhere more suitable to my current situation (wife and two young kids now). Moving into medium-term rented accommodation was an option that I have been considering in order to ease the chain on a new purchase. But it turns out that a reasonable family house with a sensible commute into London appears to be over £2,000 a month in rent. I can’t afford that and I am a 10 year PQE City lawyer in one of the country’s leading law firms! Now that doesn’t make me anywhere near as well off as some people might imagine (hint: I’m certainly not troubling the top rate tax bracket yet), but if someone in my position can’t afford it, how the hell anyone on the supposedly average salary of about £26k/year is supposed to afford it is beyond me.

I have three options:

1. Buy somewhere via a 25 year mortgage and the capital that I have built up as a result of owning the flat for the last 10 years. The fact that this would cost me less than half what a similar property would cost in rent demonstrates how utterly shafted Generation Y have been by the property market over the last decade.

2. Move my family of four into a two bedroom maisonette.

3. Move somewhere that will require 3-4 hours a day of travel to get to work and back.

Has this country gone utterly mad?

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