A car hit my car, with a towbar fitted, and broke my fuel tank - why won't my insurer cover the cost of repairs?

I was sitting in my Toyota RAV4, with a towbar fitted, at a set of traffic lights when I was rear ended. I thought there was no real damage, but when I went to fill up with petrol the next day, it was pouring out as quick as I put it in. It had been okay the day before and I have a receipt for £26. When I took the car to the insurance, I was informed the differential was cracked and the tank was rusty - so they would not pay. I have since found out it is not the tank, it's the filler neck. They still refuse to pay because there was a towbar fitted and they can't understand how that damage could happen. Repairs to the towbar cost £325.

Asked on 11 October 2017 by matt

Answered by Tim Kelly
It doesn't matter if the tank was rusty or not. If it was operational, and it is now defective, it needs replacing. They cannot argue "wear and tear" as it was fully functional. Should your vehicle become damaged in any way as a result of someone else's negligence, you are entitled to claim for it. Should you be claiming via your own insurance, they cannot act in conflict to your interest and lawful entitlement. This is covered by the Financial Service and Markets Act 2000 and is a FCA regulation under ICOBS 8.3.3: www.handbook.fca.org.uk/handbook/ICOBS/8/3.html

Just because your insurer cannot understand how an item has become to be damaged, does not mean you're not entitled to claim for it. You can always claim via an accident management company or issue proceedings yourself via the small claims court to recover the cost of damages to your vehicle. Complain to your insurer and ask them to prove the damage is not related. They would need too in order to advise they aren't covering. Raise a complaint, then take it to the Financial Ombudsmen Service.
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