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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Traffic Law
Satisfied Customers: 71154
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice.
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I was involved in a vehicle accident last year and was entitled

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I was involved in a vehicle accident last year and was entitled to a hire car from my insurance company, so I hired a car from Enterprise. The sales person asked me before I could get take the vehicle that I must have current insurance and that he need to call and verify. The reason for this he said that people were hiring vehicles taking them abroad and not returning them. He wanted to be sure I was a UK resident with valid vehicle insurance. I said he could check with my insurer but I made it very clear that I didn't want the hire vehicle to be insured against my current insurance company. I also said that I wanted to have additional insurance through the hire company including a damage waiver. He replied that it will be done.

He issued the agreement which I signed. The following day I had an accident in the vehicle. I notified the hire company immediately. Provided my details and thought that was the end of the matter. I called my insurance company a few months later to for an unrelated matter. I was advised that there was an active claim relating to the hire of a vehicle through Enterprise which was involved in an accident. Apparently the sales person at Enterprise had used my insurance to cover the use of their hire vehicle without me agreeing to do so. They had mis-sold the hire agreement and now my insurance company have made a payment to stop any further charges being incurred from the other party while it's sorted out.

What can I do with regards XXXXX XXXXX mis-selling the agreement. I've notified my insurance company about this and my policy did not at the time allow me to hire a vehicle on the policy. Could I perhaps sue them in the county court.

Thank you for your question. My name is XXXXX XXXXX I will try to help with this.

Why did you not want to use your existing insurance?

I understand that you did not want to use it and that is your prerogative but what is the net overall cost to you of this error?

Did you sign an agreement agreeing to use your own insurance?

Have you got a copy of the agreement and did you read it before you signed it?

Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Hello Jo,

Anytime I use a hire car I always purchase insurance from the hire company. It's something I've always done and thought if I ever had an accident it wouldn't affect my insurance policy. Besides my insurance policy did not cover me for hiring a car.

My excess is £3000. My insurance paid about £2700 to stop any further charges from the other party but this is not a settlement. I think they may have called it an indemnity payment. They have not asked me for the money yet and this happened last summer and I dispute the incident and also the fact that Enterprise should not have used my insurance to cover the hire.

What I thought I signed for was the damage waiver which was clear to see. However within the agreement which I did not see was that my own insurance was being used to cover the hire. This was stated by use of my policy number. The sales person ensured that I had paid the additional cover to keep my insurance company out of it, instead he tricked me into signing the agreement.

I do have the agreement and I signed it. Is there anything I can do to resolve it?

The problem you may have if you go to court with this is convincing the judge that you instructed the hire company to use their own insurance and not your own insurance and not that you have now only raised this issue because you have had another accident.

You must remember that regardless of the fact that you may have had an accident with another insurance company, that is still discloseable on renewal of this policy even though it should not affect your bonus.

It is likely that the hire company will allege that you did not want their insurance because you did not want to pay the extra for their insurance and it is only the accident which has made you change your mind.

It would therefore be for the judge to decide whose version of events he believes. One of the things that would not support a claim by you is the question as to why you would pay extra for the hire company insurance when you already have your own insurance in place.

What would support your claim would be if, as you say, every time you hired a car you always buy insurance from the hire company and you had other agreements to support that.

So there is an argument to be had in court as to whether the hire company is in breach of contract or not. That would be decided one way or the other by the judge.

What you then have to do is decide how much this breach of contract (if the breach of contract is proved) has cost you. That would be the difference between the cost of the claim going through your own insurance company and the cost of it going through the hire company insurance company.

It is not going to be particularly easy litigation although provided the amount claimed is under £10,000 it will be Small Claims Court and therefore if you lose for any reason you will only pay court costs and not solicitors costs apart from a small nominal amount

Can I clarify anything for you?

Customer: replied 4 years ago.
I made it very clear to the hire company that I wanted to take out additional insurance and that I didn't want it to go through my insurance company. I did mention that in my last message. It was more than ten years ago since I last hired a car. I do not have previous hire agreements.
I fully appreciate that you say you made it clear to the hire company but unfortunately you signed a document that said otherwise and if this ends up in court, there is no guarantee that the car hire person is going to say that you did tell him that.

To say that whenever you hire a car you will always have separate insurance would not really help if you do not hire cars regularly and the last occasion was over 10 years ago
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Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Thank you Jo

No problem.

All the best.