Car insurance exclusions: our complete guide

Warranty exclusions of an auto insurance policy

The insurer of a car is entitled to refuse the application of a guarantee when the loss occurs under specific conditions. These “coverage exclusions” may be provided by law or imposed by the insurer. What are the main exclusions of an auto insurance policy and how do they work? The complete point with

What is a Warranty Disclaimer?

A disclaimer of warranty is a provision of the auto insurance contract allowing the refusal of compensation by the insurer when the loss occurs in certain circumstances. If the insurer asserts an exclusion, the insured is de facto deprived of the benefit of the guarantee. He must therefore assume alone the reimbursement of the damage suffered by himself or the victim.

The consequences of an exclusion of guarantee are thus very important for the holder of the auto insurance contract. This is why the insurer has an obligation to inform about the number and the exact nature of these contractual clauses. According to article L.112-4 of the Insurance Code, all warranty exclusions must:

  • Be clearly mentioned in the general conditions of the contract;
  • Appear in ” very apparent characters and easily readable for the insured (bold font, colored box, etc.).

Finally, the precise use of the word “exclusion” is required to properly identify the clause. Failing this, the insured would be entitled to contest its validity, which will lead to a dispute with the insurance.

Exclusions and forfeitures of guarantee: what is the difference?

The disclaimer of warrantyare linked to the circumstances in which the incident occurred. Thewarranty lapses , for their part, can be invoked because of the behavior of the insured before or after the claim (non-declaration of a change in risk, late notification of the claim to the insurer, exaggerated damage, etc.). In both cases, the consequence is the same: a refusal or a reduction of the compensation on the part of the insurer.

What are the different types of warranty exclusions?

Two categories of exclusions are traditionally to be distinguished in a contract: those systematically imposed by law and those added by the insurer.

Legal warranty exclusions: mandatory and unavoidable clauses

The so-called “legal” warranty exclusions, as their name suggests, are provided for by law and regulations. They are from public order : this means that all insurance contracts must include them. It is not possible for the insured to negotiate the removal of these clauses.

Article R211-10 of the Insurance Code provides for two main legal exclusions concerning the operation of a vehicle:

  • the lack of driver’s license : the driver “is not of the required age” or “does not have the valid certificates” required for driving the vehicle;
  • the non-compliance with security conditions for passengers, in particular concerning minors.

In this second case, the failure to wear seat beltHowever, this is not a sufficient reason to completely exclude compensation: it will most often be reduced by the insurer. In practice, passenger victims will be fully covered by the insurer, but the latter will then turn against the insured to obtain compensation.

Contractual warranty exclusions: optional and negotiable clauses

Unlike the previous ones, the contractual exclusions are not provided for by law and are freely added by the insurer . Consequently, their exact list is likely to vary from one insurer to another and even from one contract to another.

The most classic contractual exclusionsconcerning the commission of a criminal offense in connection with the disaster . This includes: Driving under the influence of alcohol;

  • Driving under the influence of narcotics;
  • Refusal to comply within the framework of a control by the police, and the escape of the insured causing an accident;
  • Hit and run by the insured after causing an accident on the public highway;
  • A large excess of speed, at least 50 km / h beyond the authorized limit (the offense is then an offense and no longer a simple fine).

Other disclaimers fairly frequent concern the behavior of the insured or the breach of contractual obligations :

  • The unauthorized lending of the vehicle to an uncovered driver, in particular if the policyholder’s contract includes an exclusivity clause;
  • The use of a caravan without having taken out a specific guarantee beforehand;
  • Participation in a car race, even on a track and within a legal framework, if this practice has not been declared to the insurer;
  • Theft without breaking into the interior of the vehicle, the absence of locking of the doors constituting a lack of caution on the part of the insured.

How to avoid a warranty exclusion?

An insured can quite negotiate the removal of a contractual exclusion before affixing his signature to the contract, if he considers it too restrictive. In return, the insurer will however increase the amount of the premium significantly in order to take into account the aggravation of the risk represented by the insured.

It is therefore not necessarily an interesting approach: it is better compare several contracts between them and select the one including the least penalizing exclusions. The use of a voucher car insurance comparatorwill help you filter formulas from dozens of insurers based on personalized criteria, including warranty exclusions.

How do I dispute a warranty exclusion?

An insured who considers himself unfairly injured by an exclusion of cover can first contact his insurer by registered letter with acknowledgment of receipt, as part of an amicable process. He must precisely detail the reason for his dispute. Failing to obtain a satisfactory response from the insurer, he may then seizethe insurance mediatoror even take legal action.

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