Shimon Cohen – Insurance

Beware of Young Drivers

During the Pesach vacation many young drivers were “back in town” from Yeshiva, Army etc.  Here are two cases regarding young drivers, parents and responsibility.

Case #1 – Ignorance is no excuse!

The following case came before the Tel Aviv district court:

Two teenagers were looking into the prospect of buying a motorcycle from a third teenager. One of them took the bike for “a spin” – and had a major accident in which he was badly hurt.At the time of the accident the cover on the policy was limited to one named driver. [In general, these are times when the regular Compulsory Insurance (Bituach Chova) does not give cover: e.g. a stolen car, an underage driver, a hit-and-run accident. In all these cases there is a government fund called Karnit which fully compensates all innocent victims of road accidents]. However, in the above case, the legal question was – should a normal person assume that there was cover for all drivers or not?

The injured young man claimed that he simply assumed that the policy would cover him as well and therefore did not think to check it out. The court, however, made a distinction between driving a motorbike/car belonging to, say, a family member where one could assume that all the drivers were covered, and between driving a motorbike belonging to a stranger and assuming this. In the second example, it is the responsibility of the driver to ensure that the insurance will cover him properly.

The court decided that Karnit was not liable to pay for this accident and the injured young man was left with a large medical bill.

Case #2 – The power of the word:

We have an arrangement with some of our clients regarding young drivers who are in Yeshiva or in the army. When these boys return home every few weeks, their parents have to contact us and we immediately add cover for young drivers on to the policy. This can be done by phone or e-mail. In this case, the soldier returned home late at night, and wanted to use the car. Not having computer access at that time, and not wanting to disturb us, the parents planned to call us in the morning and add him onto cover. But as these things sometimes happen, that night was the night he was involved in a car smash that resulted in the family’s NIS 85,000 car being totaled.

The insurance company refused to pay the claim, as the soldier was not on cover. However, after frantic inquiries on our part, the police report found that one of the other cars involved had been the cause of the accident. On the basis of this fact, we succeeded in getting our company to pay the claim and, in turn claim from the other party. The power of the word (or the lack of it!)

What should the parents have done? They should have disturbed us or, alternatively should have told their son – no car tonight!

Practical Lessons

  1. Do not lend out your car or borrow someone else’s car without making sure that the insurance cover is sufficient. If you are not sure or cannot contact your insurance agent – do not drive!!!
  2. Teach your driving-age kids (or at least try to!) that borrowing a car even “for only a few minutes” could result in major problems if the insurance is not in place.
  3. Today all insurance companies give reductions for limited number of drivers on cover. Make absolutely sure that your motor policy is exactly suitable for your family’s drivers (some of the available options all young drivers under 21, over 21, new drivers over 24, etc. etc.)

We hope you all had a Pesach Kasher Ve’Sameach (and a safe one).

Call us with any questions: 02-6232546



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