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Car insurance “airfield” exclusion

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Car insurance “airfield” exclusion

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Old 23rd Nov 2018, 23:29
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Car insurance “airfield” exclusion

Had a fender bender at the field recently, the tractorman backed his pickup into a visiting aircraft in the yard. The elevator took a bit of a knock on one end but the planes brakes were off so it got pushed forward saving it from major damage. Interestingly, in the ensuing pissing match between the insurers the farm worker was informed by his agent that 90% of UK vehicle policies specifically state they do not cover “airside” accidents but his policy went even further by stating any accidents with aircraft anywhere aircraft are operating is excluded. The upshot is the aircraft owner got the insurer to write off the plane with a hull buyback for a nominal fee and as expected the insurers have hired some ambulance chaser to persue the pickup owner for the full value they paid the owner minus the buyback.

Bottom line, don't assume your vehicle is insured anywhere near an aircraft no matter where it is.
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Old 23rd Nov 2018, 23:54
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I found the only way to get airside insurance for my cars was to add it to my aircraft insurance policy.
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Old 24th Nov 2018, 06:27
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I asked for airside insurance from my company because the old tower car park at Farnborough had no barrier, apart from a white line on the tarmac, between the car park and the apron.
It came back with the proviso 'except when operating in an area to which aircraft have access'!
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Old 24th Nov 2018, 10:41
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Glider insurance policies usually provide airside cover when the car is airside in support of the insured glider - i.e. towing it out and whilst the policyholder is flying it.
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Old 24th Nov 2018, 12:33
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Our aircraft policy includes airside cover for the car of those named on the insurance policy when operating in support of the aircraft.
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Old 24th Nov 2018, 13:15
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I first came across this clause in the late 1980s after my broker changed my insurance company for the cover on my daily commuter car. I was given a series of cover notes rather than policy documents and I had to repeatedly chase the broker to get it sorted. When I finally received the written policy details, which didn't arrive until about five months after taking out the cover, I read the small print only to discover cover was (quote) "null and void when driving in, on, or around any aviation location".

I immediately phoned the broker only for them to try to fob me off and deflect the blame back on me because they claimed they hadn't realised I might need to drive near an airfield.
I then pointed out that my stated occupation was "RAF Officer (Pilot)" and there was a deafening silence. They eventually got clarification that I could in fact drive to work on the station but not "airside". On the station I worked at "airside" was demarked only by a white line adjacent to the hangar car park. Obviously, I didn't use that broker again!
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Old 24th Nov 2018, 18:37
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Originally Posted by ShyTorque View Post
I first came across this clause in the late 1980s after my broker changed my insurance company for the cover on my daily commuter car. I was given a series of cover notes rather than policy documents and I had to repeatedly chase the broker to get it sorted. When I finally received the written policy details, which didn't arrive until about five months after taking out the cover, I read the small print only to discover cover was (quote) "null and void when driving in, on, or around any aviation location".

I immediately phoned the broker only for them to try to fob me off and deflect the blame back on me because they claimed they hadn't realised I might need to drive near an airfield.
I then pointed out that my stated occupation was "RAF Officer (Pilot)" and there was a deafening silence. They eventually got clarification that I could in fact drive to work on the station but not "airside". On the station I worked at "airside" was demarked only by a white line adjacent to the hangar car park. Obviously, I didn't use that broker again!
I think the pickup owners policy is similar, IIRC it says anywhere aircraft operate, taxi or park. I think his argument may have to show that he wasn’t aware there were aircraft at the farm and that he was conducting his normal business visiting a farmer he provided agricultural services to. He came to meet me to discuss combining, while chatting an aircraft landed and parked on the opposite side of the yard and shutdown, he returned to his pickup and backed up into the previously clear space now occupied by the aircraft and hit it. I wonder what would happen if he decided to visit East Fortune to see the Concorde that’s parked up there and had an accident, the way his policy is written he would not be covered. Interestingly his insurance wrote to the aircraft owner accepting liability and indemnifying their client, then a month later decided upon rereading their own policy to retract their position and advised their client he was not covered. The insurer is one of the largest agricultural insurers in the UK, I wonder if any of their clients are amongst the 400 odd flying farmers and if so do their clients know they are not covered for this type of claim.
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Old 24th Nov 2018, 20:34
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For many years my car policies, from a variety of insurers, have had a clause excluding "anywhere aircraft have access to". They don't know I am a pilot and part-owner of arcraft.
I stay out of airside, parking outside a farm strip and carrying stuff over the fence.
If I find myself in the situation of the US guy, driving to work on a dark morning, who was hit by a Cirrus descending under its parachute, I hope for media support.
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Old 24th Nov 2018, 21:30
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Have you considered you, the farmer, might be sued? Either by the aircraft insurer or the tractorman, who could be facing ruin.
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Old 24th Nov 2018, 21:37
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I think every car insurance policy I've had since my first one (in 1977) has had this sort of clause - I thought they were universal. The argument is that aircraft are fragile and any damage is going to be expensive, so they don't inflict the cost of this liability on the >99% of their customers who never go near aircraft movement areas. I've worked on airfield sites since 1990 and my employer has always made it clear that 3rd-party damage cover whilst on our or our customer's airfields is the company's problem, not mine.

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Old 24th Nov 2018, 22:25
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Originally Posted by Maoraigh1 View Post
Have you considered you, the farmer, might be sued? Either by the aircraft insurer or the tractorman, who could be facing ruin.

No but nothing surprises me, I’ve spent my life getting sued by every bastard and their dog.
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