Garage Clause

JZH

VFR Club Bodger
#1
Just a head's up. I've been looking around for a multi-bike policy to replace the old "eBike" policy I had covering four of my bikes. The policy expired last month, but eBike is now Brightside Bike and this monumental change (having nothing to do with me) naturally meant that my premium increased by about £200. I was about to go on holiday so after getting another couple of quotes (one, MCE, via an 0844 number that cost me £7 to call on my mobile...), none of which were lower I agreed to renew it and resolved to revisit the issue when I got back (still within the 14-day cooling-off period).

So today I got on the phone (most brokers won't quote multi-bike policies online) and did some shopping... In the end I got quotes from:

Brightside
Carole Nash
Bennetts
MCE
Bikesure
BeWiser

and

Motorcycle Direct

I did not get quotes from Footman James, Peter James or Hastings Direct, because (in the case of the first two) I already knew that they had strict garage clauses and (in the case of the latter) they have a two-bike maximum on their "multi-bike" policy.

The problem with a strict garage clause (or garage endorsement, to be more precise) is that the insurer pays NOTHING if your bike is stolen at night from your property (or anywhere nearby, usually), which is a very high price to pay for forgetting to move the bike inside one night. However, some insurers simply double the applicable excess if the bike is not garaged, which is a lot more reasonable in my book (but this probably depends on the level of the existing excess!) Fortunately, the excesses on my bikes are £175 and £250.

I was never very happy with eBike (their website was down for a couple of YEARS a few years ago, which meant long waits on the telephone simply to find out policy information or download documents), but they were one of the few brokers who could get me on an Ageas policy with a 2x excess garage clause, so I stuck with them. But when eBike became Brightside, the Ageas policy was no longer available, and the new insurer was Novitas.

Carole Nash nearly doubled the quote I'd had from Brightside, so I never asked about their garage clause.
Bennetts was also more expensive, by at least £100 (but did have a 2x excess garage clause).
MCE was relatively inexpensive, but with a bruising £825 excess--and then confusingly told me that their garage clause was 2x excess plus £110, or no cover at all?!?
Bikesure was about the same price as Brightside, but had much larger excesses--and a strict garage clause.
BeWiser was nearly as expensive as Carole Nash (the insurer they used was Novitas, the same as Brightside, so they probably also had a 2x excess garage clause, though I didn't confirm this, given the high quote).

Finally, Motorcycle Direct. They use Aviva, and have a 2x excess garage clause. Even better, their quote was more than £200 lower than my Brightside policy, which meant that I was essentially back where I was before with eBike. That was good enough for me to call Brightside and cancel...

But, if you know anything about insurance these days, you know that's where it starts to get interesting! Brightside told me on the telephone that my policy premium would be refunded, less £200 (for 14 days cover, which seems a bit excessive). Brightside has a £25 cancellation fee for cancellations made within the cooling off period, so they told me that the bulk of the non-refunded premium was down to Novitas. Checking my policy documents I later confirmed that Novitas was only supposed to charge a £15 cancellation fee for cancellations within the cooling off period. And the premium for the 14 days of the policy I used was supposed to be deducted "pro rata" from the refund. That was about £25, by my calculation, amounting in total to about £65, vs the £200 I was being charged. Further investigation revealed that Novitas charges 20% of the premium for "short-term" policy cancellations, in addition to a cancellation fee, so it appears that they may have calculated my refund without accounting for the fact that the policy had been cancelled within the cooling off period. Which means I will likely have to complain, first to Brightside, then to Novitas, and finally to the Financial Ombudsman, in order to get my money back...

And then Brightside sent me this confirmation email:

We are sorry to hear that you have chosen to leave us. We would like to take this opportunity to thank you for insuring your vehicle(s) with us. You will be more than welcome to return to Brightside bike insurance in the future. Your policy has been cancelled with effect from 06 November 2018.

The cancellation has resulted in a credit which is owed to you of £0.00.

Please allow 30 days from this date in order for us to issue the refund.

Under our Terms of Business, any outstanding premium or refund due is subject to a £25.00 cancellation fee; full details of all our charges can be found in our Terms of Business, which can be accessed from your online account.
:crybaby2:

[TBC]

Ciao,

JZH
 

Letchie

Registered User
#2
Used to go to eBike, but they were charlatans!

Both bikes now with Hastings, but I will do plenty of research well in advance before renewing next year. My bikes are always in garage, but I must admit that, though I have noticed the question about garaging the bikes, I never realised the effect this might have on my cover.

*Note to self - check this next year
 

advancing age

Registered User
Site Sponsor
#3
Aviva and Motorcycle Direct sounds a good combination and a result! Thx for passing on the info.

I think I’d be referring to the Ombudsman rather rapidly on the shysters.....! Cheers, AA :beer-toast1:
 

JZH

VFR Club Bodger
#4
Aviva and Motorcycle Direct sounds a good combination and a result! Thx for passing on the info.

I think I’d be referring to the Ombudsman rather rapidly on the shysters.....! Cheers, AA :beer-toast1:
The Ombudsman process requires giving the broker and insurer the chance to resolve the issue, otherwise I wouldn't hesitate to go straight there.

I'm giving them a few more hours to respond...

Ciao,

JZH
 
#5
I once went to an ombudsman about Scottish Power cocking up my electric bill.

They’d had new software and swapped my day and night time meter readings round the wrong way, claimed I was in debit by over £1000 and raised my direct debit up to 200 a month which I promptly cancelled.

The ombudsman man did precisely nothing and Scottish Power eventually got round to putting right 18 months after their initial error.

Not had much faith in ombudsmen since then.
 

saintrommel

saintrommel
Site Sponsor
#8
I am with Peter James usually three bikes VFR750,VFR800,GB 500 all fully comp agreed value for £135 it's a classic policy so no
no claims bonus but I don't intend ever buying anything newer and I don't leave my bikes outside my home not these days for sure.
They are very good with taking a bike off and charge usually a £20 admin fee ,never tried to claim though .
 

Pete/48

Registered User
Site Sponsor
#9
I am with Peter James usually three bikes VFR750,VFR800,GB 500 all fully comp agreed value for £135 it's a classic policy so no
no claims bonus but I don't intend ever buying anything newer and I don't leave my bikes outside my home not these days for sure.
They are very good with taking a bike off and charge usually a £20 admin fee ,never tried to claim though .
Same as Saintrommel, Also with agreed valuation, Been with them for well over (10)yrs now, (well it was Footman James at the start, until it got taken over, at which point I jumped ship and followed Peter James when he set up his new company) So Far Never Had Any reason to complain about anything,
 

JZH

VFR Club Bodger
#10
The £0.00 was (obviously!) an error, for which they have not apologised, but there is still a £90 discrepancy between what I believe they (and Novitas) are entitled to and what they have said they are refunding. Still trying to get an explanation/breakdown.

Ciao,

JZH
 
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