Jump to content
DrBob

Warning to those with or planning to buy an 8ft wide caravan

Recommended Posts

SWMBO has just purchased a new 20 plate car.  Whilst informing our Insurers of the details of the vehicle change I asked them to note on the policy that it might be used to tow our caravan. I was told that, to my surprise, whilst all towing was included on all their policies as standard, cover was limited to trailers/caravans less than 2.3m wide, thus excluding increasingly popular 8ft wide models.

 

Searching through all the Policy Documents provided to me to did not reveal any mention of this restriction so I rang them again for clarification. The operator was not aware of it either but when pressed discovered that it was specified  in documents covering the relationship between the Insurers (Saga in this case) and their Underwriters: these documents are not provided to Policy Holders.

 

So it is quite possible that when towing your 8ft wide van you may think you are covered but are completely at risk from “small print” that you have never been made aware of. Apparently there are also a host of other technical requirements such as lighting, brakes etc etc which they consider are wrapped up in a blanket “roadworthy condition” requirement in your Policy documents.

 

Caveat emptor!

 

Dr Bob

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have an 8'2" wide caravan, granted I'm in Germany but I previously had AXA insurance (Changed companies now as the quote was cheaper) and they didn't care how wide my caravan was. If AXA Germany don't care I would be surprised if AXA UK did??

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If it ain't in the policy document how could they enforce it?

  • I agree completely 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
26 minutes ago, DrBob said:

SWMBO has just purchased a new 20 plate car.  Whilst informing our Insurers of the details of the vehicle change I asked them to note on the policy that it might be used to tow our caravan. I was told that, to my surprise, whilst all towing was included on all their policies as standard, cover was limited to trailers/caravans less than 2.3m wide, thus excluding increasingly popular 8ft wide models.

 

Searching through all the Policy Documents provided to me to did not reveal any mention of this restriction so I rang them again for clarification. The operator was not aware of it either but when pressed discovered that it was specified  in documents covering the relationship between the Insurers (Saga in this case) and their Underwriters: these documents are not provided to Policy Holders.

 

So it is quite possible that when towing your 8ft wide van you may think you are covered but are completely at risk from “small print” that you have never been made aware of. Apparently there are also a host of other technical requirements such as lighting, brakes etc etc which they consider are wrapped up in a blanket “roadworthy condition” requirement in your Policy documents.

 

Caveat emptor!

 

Dr Bob

Considering legislation passed by the UK government allows a vehicle to tow a trailer wider than 2.3m I cannot understand why they think they can have such an unfair clause in the policy.  I would look elsewhere.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 minutes ago, Durbanite said:

Considering legislation passed by the UK government allows a vehicle to tow a trailer wider than 2.3m I cannot understand why they think they can have such an unfair clause in the policy.  I would look elsewhere.

Probably nothing more than a relic from before 2.55m became the legal maximum width.  When originally written it would have  effectively been saying that anything up to but not greater than the (then) legal 2.3m maximum width was insured.

 

Hopefully and no doubt Saga are sorting the anomaly out but otherwise, as you say, look elsewhere for an up-to-date insurer. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If it is not in the policy document it is not an exclusion and cannot be enforced. Of course when you reveal the width of the caravan they could endorse the policy to exclude, it so do watch out for this. The policy and any endorsements show the extent and limit of the cover and nothing else matters.

  • I agree completely 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

I have never been asked whether I would be towing a trailer, the width or weight of a trailer.  I have stated that I have a tow bar which has made no difference to the quote.  I can understand a clause regarding the MTPLM of the trailer exceeding the MIRO of the towing vehicle even though legally the car is capable.

Edited by Durbanite
  • I agree completely 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, ReggiePerrin said:

Probably nothing more than a relic from before 2.55m became the legal maximum width.  When originally written it would have  effectively been saying that anything up to but not greater than the (then) legal 2.3m maximum width was insured.

 

Hopefully and no doubt Saga are sorting the anomaly out but otherwise, as you say, look elsewhere for an up-to-date insurer. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I agree sounds like old information pre 2010 when it was changed to 2.55 m .

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dave

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I guess it could be construed as an unfair condition as the van is legal and roadworthy. It would be difficult to enforce if it's not written down in the policy documents.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am with Saga, will look deeper into it now.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The same width restriction applies to many (most?) breakdown cover policies. When queried you are usually told "take of leave it".  Whilst the length of a trailer may restrict certain types of slide bed recovery vehicles being used the 2.55m width applies to all vehicles of every category so why the restriction?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The contract between you and any insurer is legally defined in the Policy Document. (NOT the Certificate) 

 

Unless there is something in the policy that limits the width of any trailer (or a caravan)  over a certain size then, in law, there is no exclusion (providing of course that it’s legal in regards to Con & Use Regs) 

 

Insurance companies are VERY specific in their policy documents because they are the basis of a contract and can be used AGAINST, as well as for, them.

 

Andy

 

 

  • I agree completely 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote

I am with Saga, will look deeper into it now.

 

You and me both Griff (and probably many others!)

 

Jim

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
20 hours ago, Griff said:

I am with Saga, will look deeper into it now.

We are with RIAS and I could find no such restriction after reading all the policy documents.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
18 hours ago, Mr Plodd said:

The contract between you and any insurer is legally defined in the Policy Document. (NOT the Certificate) 

 

Unless there is something in the policy that limits the width of any trailer (or a caravan)  over a certain size then, in law, there is no exclusion (providing of course that it’s legal in regards to Con & Use Regs) 

 

Insurance companies are VERY specific in their policy documents because they are the basis of a contract and can be used AGAINST, as well as for, them.

 

Andy

 

 

 

Nail very squarely hit. An insurer cannot enforce any condition not specifically noted in your policy document, neither can they use clauses such as "further terms and conditions are available on request" or "a full list of exceptions is available ....". 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 09/03/2020 at 10:24, DrBob said:

Searching through all the Policy Documents provided to me to did not reveal any mention of this restriction so I rang them again for clarification. The operator was not aware of it either but when pressed discovered that it was specified  in documents covering the relationship between the Insurers (Saga in this case) and their Underwriters: these documents are not provided to Policy Holders.

 

Dr Bob

 

Just had a 45 minute conversation the those at Saga, again no problem until pressed and then read from a supplementary information sheet at there end quoting all of the items which basically  would mean conforming to things like indicators, brakes blah, blah, no mention of maximum width until I specifically asked then 2.3metres maximum width was quoted.

 

After explaining the law change  to a maximum of 2.55 metres, the feeling was that Saga information is out of date and a 'higher up' department are supposedly discussing with underwriters this afternoon with a call back before 5pm on the issue, not holding my breath on that one.

 

2 hours ago, Durbanite said:

We are with RIAS and I could find no such restriction after reading all the policy documents.

 

Checked through 50 odd pages of mine with no such restriction, appears to be on some further info sheet at Saga's end that does not get issued!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As was said earlier your contract with the insurer is the schedule, which details any endorsements specific to you, and the policy booklet.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 minutes ago, onewheelonmywagon said:

As was said earlier your contract with the insurer is the schedule, which details any endorsements specific to you, and the policy booklet.

 

Yes I understand that but think Saga need to get things up to date at their end one way or another, could be other insurers.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Saga called me back as they said they would and after talking to their underwriters and checking current legislation, they are completely happy to insure a car towing a caravan meeting current legislation and will amend any documentation at their end to reflect the current maximum width of 2.55 metres.

 

So as ReggiePerrin suggested, just a relic from the 2.3 metre past maximum.

 

  • Like 2
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

Well done Griff, many thanks for all your efforts in (hopefully) finally resolving this issue.  I’m relieved that I had not missed a crucial phrase in Saga’s Policy documents or misunderstood their explanation.

 

I’m sure a lot of CT members and the wider caravanning community will be grateful for all your efforts.  

 

Saga may not be the only Insurers to be 10 years out of date with the law, I can only urge everyone else with an 8 footer to check with their Insurers that they are covered.

 

Fortunately it didn’t affect us with the U3 Pamplona - but who knows, we  might have a brainstorm and go 8ft in the future.

 

Thank you again Griff.

 

Best Regards

 

DrBob

Edited by DrBob
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, DrBob said:

Well done Griff, many thanks for all your efforts in (hopefully) finally resolving this issue.  I’m relieved that I had not missed a crucial phrase in Saga’s Policy documents or misunderstood their explanation.

 

I’m sure a lot of CT members and the wider caravanning community will be grateful for all your efforts.  

 

Saga may not be the only Insurers to be 10 years out of date with the law, I can only urge everyone else with an 8 footer to check with their Insurers that they are covered.

 

Fortunately it didn’t affect us with the U3 Pamplona - but who knows, we  might have a brainstorm and go 8ft in the future.

 

Thank you again Griff.

 

Best Regards

 

DrBob

 

Saga have said that they will write to me to confirm this alteration, when/if they do I will update you, thanks for highlighting this in the first place DrBob.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

For those interested in Saga motor insurance, this is the letter I have received from them in connection with the width restriction query.

image.png

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well done Griff!  Thanks for all your efforts in resolving this.  

 

The downside is that now when SWMBO piles on the pressure for an 8 footer I’ll have one less  excuse not to buy!

 

DrBob

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Mine looked at them and said "you are not towing them down the narrow lanes" so I do not get one. To be honest the next one will be a downsize.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

×
×
  • Create New...