Insurance hike fears for off-road vehicles after European court ruling on farm death
Owners of quad bikes, golf buggies and motorised lawnmowers and other vehicles on private land could soon be forced to take out third party insurance, industry bodies are warning.
Insurance organisations in Europe are currently pressing the European Commission to implement a proposal to clarify that compulsory motor insurance only applies to vehicles when on a public road, and not when used on private land.
It follows a ruling by the European Court of Justice in 2014 that compensation for injuries suffered by a Slovenian farm worker by a tractor while on private land should have been covered by compulsory motor insurance.
Insurance Ireland has said the ‘Vnuk’ decision by the European Court of Justice has raised the prospect of motor insurance having to cover accidents on private land and not just accidents arising from the use of vehicles in a public place, as is the current case in Ireland.
As well as complicating efforts to tackle uninsured driving, it said any extension of cover to private land could increase the cost of claims in motor insurance which Insurance Ireland has been working to reduce with the Government and other stakeholders through the Cost of Insurance Working Group.
Insurance Ireland said it is supporting the efforts being made through the European Commission’s Motor Insurance Directive to clarify that compulsory motor insurance only applies to vehicles when in traffic and looks forward to early action on behalf of the EU to remedy this anomaly.
The insurance organisations are warning that if the Commission fails to act, Governments would need to change domestic law and extend the scope of compulsory motor insurance - leading to significant disruption and additional costs.
People taking part in motor sports and those with mobility scooters could also be affected.