As they have become more affordable the popularity of drones, quad bikes and motorboats has increased alongside a myriad of other grown-up ‘toys’; but what do you need to think about when insuring?
You might assume that as far as insurance goes they would generally fall under the definition of ‘General Contents’ but this isn’t always the case.
After leaving the European Union the UK will avoid an estimated £50 per person, per annum increase in motor insurance costs as the government confirmed it will not enact the controversial EU ‘Vnuk’ law. The Vnuk law would have meant that a wider range of vehicles would require insurance including golf buggies, mobility scooters and quad bikes. The law would have also extended to vehicles on private land, meaning people with ride-on lawnmowers would have required insurance where it has never been required before.
We have talked to insurers about insuring quad bikes, mobility vehicles and other land vehicles and there is no common commitment to include these within the definition of ‘General Contents’. Most policies will include Electric Bikes, Quad bikes & Motorcycles, but cover is usually limited – for example up to a monetary value of £5,000 or vehicles not exceeding an engine capacity of 51cc. In addition, there are often exclusions on risk for anyone who is under 18 years old. These guidelines are by no means universal so if you own vehicles of this type and you want to protect them and yourself, check with your adviser to make sure that they are not excluded under your current policy.
Currently, privately owned electric scooters are not road legal in the UK. You are only allowed to use an e-scooter on UK roads if they form part of government trials which are taking place within a few hand-picked cities, such as Norwich, York, Oxford and Cambridge. Even if you are renting an e-scooter under these trial schemes you need a category Q entitlement on your driving licence.
E-scooters are being viewed as a possible solution to some of the environmental and pollution issues surrounding city journeys and fossil fuel emissions from standard vehicles. However, we will have to wait to see if regulations will be relaxed to allow for personal ownership and use further down the line.
If you have an e-scooter that you are using on private land consult your adviser, who will be able to tell you whether you are effectively insured under your household policy.
Motorboats, yachts, dinghies and jet skis are usually covered under ‘General Contents’ whilst on land, and in transit on a trailer, but there are often limitations on overall length, horsepower and perhaps most importantly value, particularly when on the move. If you are storing your vessel somewhere other than your home, for example in a boatyard, then you may not be covered under your household policy and it is important to speak to your adviser.
While it is not a legal requirement in the UK to have insurance when your vessel is on the water (with a few exceptions) as it is for vehicles on the road, we would recommend you do. The most common claims tend to be third-party claims and to protect yourself, as well as your vessel, insurance is crucial. There are plenty of excellent specialist policies on the market which will incorporate some of the more specific risks associated with watercraft; for example, a standard yacht policy might include lifting and launching protection or engine damage. If you intend to race your boat, where the vessel is pushed to the limit, additional cover for rigging and mast might be required for this specific use.
Traditionally most household insurance policies had a general exclusion on any aircraft. However, the more widespread use of drones for personal use has meant that insurers have had to consider whether to cover them as part of the contents of household policies.
Some insurers have maintained a total exclusion of all aircraft, while others will exclude drones used for commercial use. There are insurers who will accept private drones but limit the areas and heights that they are prepared to cover.
Once again there are very specific risks associated with the use of drones – particularly public liability and personal injury. The insurance market has naturally adapted to this and there are many specialist policies available online that cover commercial and recreational drones with liability limits of up to £10 million. Policies are adaptable to individual flights, a six-month season or can be taken out on an annual basis. If you are using the drone for recreational use check with your adviser to see if it is covered under your existing policy.
Frustratingly household policies don’t always give you the cover on these ‘grown up’ toys that you might anticipate, particularly when it comes to public liability so it is always worth talking to your adviser, who can assist with the detailed wording on your household policy and help you find a specialist insurance policy if required.
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