Dodgems need car insurance

The government has this week launched a 14-week consultation to determine whether the current definition of a vehicle should be extended. It will question which type of vehicles should be covered by compulsory insurance.

BLM’s director of policy and government affairs tells us what this means in a podcast which can be accessed by clicking on the image below.

vnuk-consultation

There is no new draconian EU Directive requiring dodgems and children’s cars to be insured. The Directive in question is seven years old and the culmination of a body of work that dates back nearly 70 years to a “green card” system that ensured that UK motorists traveling to Europe and European motorists travelling to the UK had the “right” insurance. (And incidentally the UK was a founder member of the “green card” system and the first “green card” was issued to the Head of the UK’s Motor Insurers’ Bureau).

Mr Vnuk’s ECJ case, being an example of unusual facts needing interpretation, does throw up challenges to UK motor insurance law and indeed a number of European jurisdictions. This is understood by the Commission that itself initiated a Consultation that in turn requires EU member states to consult and this is what DfT are doing.

The more interesting question thrown up by Vnuk is whether and how the UK wants to maintain a system that ensures the UK motorist abroad has the right insurance cover for not just the EU but 49 countries in total and also that those in the UK injured in motor accidents involving vehicles from those 49 countries will receive their due compensation because that vehicle is appropriately insured.

Brexit does offer the opportunity to “opt out” but the issues are wider and the process (where the EU may be “opting in” to the UK position) does need to be understood in a broader context than an article in The Times today allows. Responding to the consultation and engaging with the EU may lead to a better outcome than assuming that it will be fine because we can opt out in 2019.


Terry Renouf, partner, BLM Written by Terry Renouf, consultant

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