MOTOR VEHICLE INSURANCE. The growth of motor transport during the last 3o years has resulted in a demand for very specialized insurances to protect private and commercial vehicle owners and motor traders. Each have their own particular risks necessitating widely different forms of cover.
The principal feature of any insurance covering the road risk is obviously that relating to liability to third parties, particularly when it is considered that thousands of persons are killed or in jured by motor vehicles annually, resulting in the majority of cases in a monetary responsibility on the part of the vehicle owner for law costs incurred in his defence in subsequent proceedings, if not for damages eventually awarded to claimants. A feature of im portance of all such third-party insurances is the legal representa tion of the insured by the insurers at any police-court proceedings or coroner's inquest, though this service does not extend to sub sequent criminal proceedings. With few minor exceptions all British motor policies provide an indemnity unlimited in amount as regards the legal liability to third parties for personal injuries, though as regards damage to property of such persons the prac tice varies. Whilst owners using their cars solely for private and professional purposes may obtain an indemnity unlimited in amount in England, this is always limited as regards vehicles other wise used to .1 t o,000. Law costs incurred with the insurer's con sent are invariably included. Elsewhere the limit of indemnity as regards personal injuries and damage to property must be fixed by the proposer at the outset. On signing a proposal form the proposer warrants the truth of his replies to the questions and his answers constitute the basis of the contract. Whilst most of the questions are designed to obtain the necessary information for rating and for the completion of the policy, others relate to the past experience of the risk.
in addition the insured is indemnified, within the limits of the sum insured, for loss of or damage to the car caused by fire, theft or any attempt thereat, any accidental, malicious or wilful dam age. Damage to tyres is not covered unless the car itself is also damaged. Mechanical breakdown risks are excluded, but all dam age to the car and liability to third parties incurred subsequent to, though the result of, the mechanical breakdown are covered. Policies provide for the cost of removal of a car from the scene of the accident to the nearest competent repairers and the cost of redelivery to the insured.
Privileges confined solely to private car policies, in the form of medical and surgical expenses for all occupants and personal ac cident benefits for the owner, may be obtained and the British policy permits three months' Continental use in any one year of insurance. Most modern private car policies extend to indemnify the insured in respect of his third-party liability whilst driving other cars and friends of the insured whilst driving the insured car with the owner's general knowledge and consent. On payment of additional premiums the insured may cover special risks such as the loss of rugs, coats and luggage ; medical and personal accident benefits for himself and other persons; compensation for loss of use ; an indemnity for employer's liability, and mechanical break down.
Reductions of premium are allowed if the car is driven only by a named individual (other than a paid driver) : if more than one car is insured under the policy ; or if the insured bears a first amount of every loss under the damage or all of the sections of the cover. A bonus is allowed if no claim arises during the year of insurance. Private cars are generally rated according to the horse-power and value in England, though for third-party risk horse-power alone is considered.