Will failure to declare a speeding fine affect my ability to claim?

Will failure to declare a speeding fine affect my ability to claim?

Speeding. It’s something that can happen all-too-often on a motorcycle and should you ever be caught for it, it is imperative that you advise your insurance company.  

This is because failure to declare such information could create serious repercussions, should you ever need to make a claim.

Insurers handle these issues in their own way, but most will need to know when you take out a new policy or renew an existing one if you have any convictions, fixed penalty points and even a pending prosecution.

 Some insurers will disregard Speed Awareness Courses; strictly speaking they are not convictions but an alternative to a conviction, but some want to know about the entire history of you and any other riders named on the policy.

To help breakdown the reasons why this is so important, we have enlisted the help of solicitor, Andrew Campbell, who has written MCN’s long-standing weekly law column for the last eight years.

Be transparent

Speaking about this eventuality, Campbell said: “When you enter a contract of insurance you have a duty to answer all of the insurer’s questions accurately.

“Where any misrepresentation was deliberate or reckless – for example, where the customer knew, or did not care, that the information provided was untrue or misleading – then the insurer can refuse all claims.

“Where the misrepresentation was careless, the outcome depends on what would have happened if the insurer was given the correct information. If they still would have insured the customer but at a higher cost or on different terms (for example, a higher excess), then they can reduce any pay-out by the additional cost or based on the different terms.

“If they would not have offered insurance, they can refuse to pay out, but must return the insurance premium.”

Realising you’ve not been completely accurate

MCN reader David Bramwell, from Birmingham, fell foul of such carelessness; forgetting to declare his three points for speeding, before needing to claim for the theft of his motorcycle.

Replying to Bramwell’s problem in a column, Campbell went onto say: “I would call your insurer and explain the situation.

“Before doing so, run your details, with the three points, through an insurance comparison website. If your insurer comes up in the results then you can be fairly confident they would have provided cover.

“If there is a dispute you can refer it to the Financial Ombudsman to arbitrate,” he added. 

Speed awareness course

In some circumstances you may have the opportunity to attend a speed awareness course as an alternative to receiving points on your licence. But, not every speeding offence will result in the offer of an option to attend a course. In fact, if you’re driving over 10% plus 9mph you’re in danger of receiving a court summons. But for minor first-time speeding offences this can be an option.

What if I disagree with the speeding ticket?

If you get a speeding ticket through the post, which you really disagree with, you are able to request details of the camera used to capture you and its calibration certificate.

You are also entitled to request the photograph and video (if a video exists). You can do so before pleading not guilty, though they do not have to give it to you before then.

If you do plead not guilty, you will have to turn down any offer of a fixed penalty.

You should accept a fixed penalty if you feel that you have committed the offence, but not if you feel not. We appreciate that the reality of the situation may be difficult, but if you turn down a fixed penalty then you will be looking at a court appearance.

If you are convicted later then you will be looking at around six points and a fine around the figure of a week’s salary.

It’s good to note if you are unsure of what to do in any of the above circumstances you can obtain legal advice before pleading or accepting a prosecution. Some insurance brokers even offer specialist Motoring Defence Policies that have advice helplines available and can provide a specialist motoring solicitor to represent you in court in the unfortunate event of a speeding offence. 

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Written by Jon Urry, MCN Journalist.
Reviewed on 14th February 2019 by Andrew Campbell, MCN Legal Advisor.
Edited by Sian Daly, MCN Compare content editor.