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European laws could hit motorists

Shropshire motorists could now have to pay an extra £20 a year to insure their cars – and it’s all Europe’s fault, according to a county insurance specialist.

Dave Williams of Henshalls Insurance Brokers, in Newport and Shrewsbury, said the ruling by the European Court of Justice could have a direct impact on the cost of policies across the UK.

“The ruling – known as the Vnuk judgement – says that off-road vehicles and racing cars have to be insured, even if they never enter a public highway, and it even includes tractors and mobility scooters," said Mr Williams.

“But insurers do not believe it is possible to make all drivers of off-road vehicles buy insurance cover, so ordinary motorists are set to face the costs of the levy instead on top of their policy charge.”

Mr Williams said the Department of Transport had tried to stall the implementation of the new rules, and the Government was currently consulting with its European counterparts to try to hold off the levy.

He added: “Insurers are also calling on the European Commission to intervene and exclude off-road vehicles as requiring potentially a million off-road users to have compulsory third party cover is just a non-starter.

“It would be impossible to enforce the rules, and introducing the new criteria would potentially increase claims from uninsured off-road users.

“This would mean that for dangerous activities such as motor sports, unlimited third party cover could be so expensive that it would make some events completely uninsurable.”

Mr Williams said it could also lead to claimant lawyers and claims management companies encouraging claims that would ultimately be paid for by insured motorists through their premiums.

“We can only hope that the European Commission will see sense and step in to resolve the situation with a simple amendment to the directive to confirm it only applies to road traffic.

“If not, the Vnuk ruling is yet another blow for motorists just months after they were hit by an increase in insurance costs after the Government decided to increase compensation payouts.

“It’s a price hike too far and motorists will be looking for the Commission to show some common sense in clarifying the situation.”

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