A new ruling from the European Court of Justice could mean that all motor-driven vehicles require full insurance, even lawnmowers.
The EU move follows a ruling in a case where a tractor trailer was involved in an accident in Slovenia, after a man was hurt after the reversing trailer knocked him off a ladder.
New rules could cover all vehicles
Insurers refused to pay out as it happened on private property and involved an “agricultural machine”, but the European courts ruled that it should have been covered by vehicle insurance.
Due to this, motor insurance is now required to cover vehicles used in all situations, and not just those that travel on public roads and motorways.
The definition has also now been broadened to include “any motor vehicle intended for travel on land or propelled by mechanical power”.
As a result, the ruling could spill over to the UK, where Whitehall ministers fear that because the Court’s definition of a “motor vehicle” is so vague, it could end up affecting even garden equipment.
The insurance requirements could mean that drivers will have to purchase full insurance for vehicles like mobility scooters, golf buggies and even ride-on lawnmowers used on private land.
Transport Minister Robert Goodwill said that he was “disappointed with this judgement” due to the potential costs to the British people, who could be left facing even higher insurance bills.
However, a European Commission official said: “We completely understand people’s concerns about this issue. This is a relatively new judgement from the ECJ so the implications haven’t been worked through yet.”
Certain vehicles may be exempt
They also added that the directive being considered allows member states of the European Union to exempt certain categories of vehicle, meaning that certain vehicles mightn’t need compulsory insurance.
The official added: “So the Commission is working through this issue with a number of Governments, including the UK’s, to ensure that we have a solution to any problems that may arise.”
In other good news for motorists, the average price of car insurance has fallen in the past year according to data from the Association of British Insurers (ABI).
On average, the amount paid by drivers for insurance last year was approximately £361, a four per cent drop compared to the average cost in 2013, due to a joint effort from police and the DVLA to tackle fraud.
Despite this, premiums rose in the final three months of last year, with average prices during the October to December period in 2014 clocking in at £372, around £12 more than the overall average.