Do you need to start buying car insurance for your lawn mower...?

8 April 2015

man_on_toycarAn obscure European law has resurfaced to potentially bite people in the behind, after a European court has ruled that any moving vehicle, whether on public or private land, should be covered by motor insurance in case of an accident. This means that ride-on lawnmowers, mobility scooters and even golf buggies could need an insurance policy- even in your own garden.

This issue, which goes back as far as 1972, has reared its head again after Damijan Vnuk, a farm worker from Slovenia, brought a case to the European courts last year after falling from a ladder when it was hit by a tractor.

The court in Brussels decided that any moving vehicle, whether on public and private land, should have actual motor insurance, the normal proviso that vehicles not driven on the road are exempt ceasing to apply. The argument of the court was that tractors are "consistent with the normal function" of a motor vehicle, so normal insurance rules relating to cars and motorbikes therefore apply.

Under British law, currently only vehicles travelling on a "road or other public place" – with the exception of mobility scooters – are required to be insured, but the ruling would see this extended to any place, including farmyards and golf courses.

The Telegraph reports that the Department for Transport is currently in discussion with the industry body, the Association of British Insurers, to clarify which types of vehicles will need to be insured and at what level. Insurers have already reported a surge in calls from customers worried whether their golf caddies and lawnmowers need to be covered, and if so, whether third party cover is sufficient.

"Everybody is confused as to what the EU is up to," said Mark Effenberg, of Blue Badge, a specialist insurer for mobility scooters. "We're now waiting to see how the directive will be interpreted."

But, although an irritation, and an unnecessary cost, the cost of insuring mobility scooters is not prohibitive, with mobility scooter policies costing around £90 for third party and breakdown, and a determined pensioners in search of this week’s cash could probably do some damage to an unsuspecting passer-by. While mobility scooters are currently regarded as exempt, official guidelines state that mobility scooter drivers are "strongly advised that people take out insurance" to cover accident or theft. While this is (currently) not considered a legal requirement, in some cases forcing the issue could, in some cases, be a good thing.

Celia Frodsham of Stephenson’s Solicitors said: "Uninsured people have, in the past, lost their homes after being sued for negligence because they have injured people with their scooters. Therefore insurance is recommended to avoid this."

TOPICS:   Insurance   World News

8 comments

  • sprout
    interesting but not much different from current situation in that the Road Traffic Act's definition of "public place" (where Third Party cover is compulsory) extends to include anywhere to which the public have access and this could already include private land, golf courses, etc.
  • Lawn W.
    This just seems crazy to me, the need for insurance on a 'non public place' vehicle is absolutely minimal.
  • 1000s j.
    if only they would apply this to bikes and get cyclists to have insurance and a way of tracking them (like a small id plate) when the sh*ts take your wing mirror off forcing through gaps when they shouldn't. that and old and pikey people in those bloody mobility scooters, the bane of ankles on high streets all over this land, those need regulation now as they are dangerous in the hand of people who often either cant see or are two inept to look
  • Albi
    Bit tricky on vehicles without a registration number?
  • Jessie J.
    What about Flymos? Do it like a dude.
  • Another D.
    Let the silly EU make up as many daft rules as they want, All we need do is Ignore these rules completely, let's see what the worst they can do to us is if we just choose not to implement their Knottyash Laws here in the UK. If they Fine us then we Just withold the amount from their Next Free EU Cash grab/demand,. They'll get fed up through time when they realise that the real risk of losing tke UK as a big fat EU cash cow is to risky for pettly rules. It's not about Breaking EU laws, it just that like almost everyone else in the EU does..Ignore them. There is no worst case scenario, If they want us out It would be the best thing for all of us Brits, if they want us to stay then they can go back to what the EU was originally intended to be....a Common Market place, no more and no less.
  • DuyTran
    It seems that this is a bad idea.
  • ThuyBui
    What happens when we have to pay the insurance for all means of transportation. It's too wasteful.

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