Insurance Questions Answered

If I am hurt in an accident where my husband is driving my car can I be compensated?

Yes. It is unusual to get a clear answer from a Solicitor but this issue was decided in a famous case involving the actress Merle Oberon. In 1937 Ms. Oberon suffered facial injuries in an accident in her own car, driven by her chauffer Mr. Digby. The House of Lords decided that the Australian born film actress was entitled to £5,000 compensation that had to be paid by her own insurance company.
This case has set a precedent that is accepted law. Our office has many cases involving family members, for example children, having to take proceedings against their parents. At the end of the day it is the insurance company that will pay, but the driver who was negligent has to be named as a defendant in the case.

What does my household Insurance policy cover?

This is not as straight forward a question to answer. Essentially your home insurance policy is a contract between you and the company that you buy the policy from. The insurance cover you get will depend on what you buy in the insurance contract. The two most important reasons to get home insurance are:

  • For buildings and contents cover and
  • For public and personal liability for accidents.

Buildings and contents: This is essentially where your insurance company will provide cover for damage to your buildings and contents caused by fires, explosions, smoke, storm or flood, falling trees, subsidence, theft etc..
Quite often basic policies have a lot of extra cover that we don’t know about. Examples of these are:

  • Jury benefit—a daily benefit can be paid to you or your partner to sit on a jury
  • Domestic employees or visitors’ belongings
  • Credit and debit cards. Policies can cover members of the family who become legally liable for costs following the loss of their credit and debit cards up to a given amount
  • Frozen Food. If your deep freezer breaks down or the electricity is cut off you may be able to recover this loss

Public and Personal Liability: This is an overlooked part of an insurance policy that is extremely important. Essentially most policies will cover the house occupier, all people living in the house and domestic employees. Therefore you are covered for children’s birthday parties or other injuries that could occur while in the house. Most policies would also cover members of the household if they injure a person outside of the house. For example if you were walking on the street with an umbrella and stuck somebody in the eye, you would probably be covered under your home insurance policy.
Another important part of this cover is that most policies also protect you if there is any injury to any domestic employees, temporary and occasional employees carrying out repairs or decorations. For example if you bring in a painter or a plumber who gets hurt, your home insurance will cover you.
These answers are a mere guide to alert readers to various aspects of insurance law. It is important if you have any concern about whether you have insurance cover that you read the
policy associated with what you have purchased.