VIC Found Out Not Insured After Car Accident - Next Steps?

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31 August 2018
Hi everyone,

Yesterday morning, I was in a car accident with two other cars and found to be at fault. Thankfully, none of us were hurt. In a series of unfortunate events, we came to learn when submitting the claim that we were not insured for drivers under 25 years old - I am currently 23 years old.

I have been in contact with Coles Insurance, who my father had insured the car with, and they have given us the options to either withdraw the claim or persist with internal reviews leading up to the financial ombudsman. We were hoping we might have some grounds for dispute with their Product

Disclosure Statement stating:

Restricted drivers:

We do not cover your car where the driver of your car was under the age of 25 at the time of the loss or damage and you have chosen to limit cover under your policy to drivers 25 years of age or older, unless:

• the driver is not at fault,
• the driver was found guilty of theft or illegal use of your car, • your car was being driven by a car park attendant, or
• your car was being driven by a person paid by you to repair,
service or test your car.

It clearly says that "your car" will not be covered, but we are hoping that we may at least receive some third party insurance for the other two cars that were damaged. I am not sure of the future repercussions of progressing with the dispute and if it will impact me negatively in the future.

I am a student and do not have any assets or any real income. I am not sure what my next course of action should be. I would greatly appreciate any help you guys can give.

Many thanks,


Well-Known Member
12 March 2017
Hello Lisa,

Situations similar to yours have been the subject of Ombudsman determinations a number of times and overwhelmingly have been in favour of the insurance company. Therefore the odds are against you but as every case can have differences (such as the words in the PDS), you have nothing to lose by trying. Neither you nor your father can suffer any penalty or additional cost by referring a dispute for Ombudsman decision.

I think your argument that the restriction applies only to your own damage and not also to your legal liability to the other vehicle owners is unlikely to be a winner but I have seen stranger outcomes. Highlight the fact that it is the driver who incurs the liability, not the car and the PDS states damage to the car and liability to third parties are separate insured events.

The Ombudsman will also consider the circumstances of the accident to determine if your age/experience had the potential to contribute to the incident.

You should inform the other drivers or their insurers of your financial position and inability to pay. You can also request financial hardship assistance from Insurers as set out in the General Insurance Code of Practice. Please google and read what is your entitlement. If the insurer does not fully comply with the Code you may lodge a complaint with the Ombudsman.

Good Luck.

I do not give legal advice, just my opinion based on working for an insurance company for over 20 years.
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Well-Known Member
1 April 2015

I hear these sorts of things all the time whether it be car insurance or life insurance etc. What is similar and crucial to your argument is what was discussed, disclosed at inception of the insurance cover.

Therefore, I would strongly suggest to obtain a copy of the call recording. It is unclear from your summary above on how the car insurance cover was obtained but I am assuming your father telephoned Coles car insurance and obtained the cover? Whatever the method, just call up and ask for a copy of the call or documentation completed, you may need to place this request in writing and there could be a small charge, though if charged, should only be charged to essentially cover the administrative cost of the request as opposed to profit from the request. If they say no, when you go the Ombudsman to appeal the decision, ensure you inform the Ombudsman of this, who will then request a copy and miraculously a copy will appear.

When your father contacted Coles car insurance to take out the cover, if your father mentioned that the insured persons for the cover would be him, you (and anyone else) and mentioned your date of birth, or that you are under 25 (my emphasis), then it is a case that Coles provided your father with the wrong insurance cover. If that is the case:

a) You will stand a greater chance of winning and being covered;

b) Coles will argue ok we got it wrong, but we sent X amount of confirmation letters, Product Disclosure Statements and other statements confirming we don't cover persons under age 25 and you should have informed us if we did get it wrong.

If this is said, your response may be that you do not understand technical insurance terms and required Coles to act in the "best interests" of me when we called and asked that we be covered, and disclosed to Coles that drivers would be under age 25. Also, if this is said, you can ask Coles to explain how it is that they acted "efficiently, honestly and fairly" to comply with their licence obligations when your father appropriately disclosed drivers would be under age 25?

Conversely, if your father did not make such disclosure, than I agree with Zerojay that you may be up the creek (though she puts it more eloquently). Off the top of my head the Insurance Code of Practice is non-binding, which was a big let down from the original intent of the code.