Insurance Helpline | Demo plates or not, all autos must be licensed
QUESTION: How does one deal with an accident where the other person was driving a company car with demonstration plates? No documents were handed over by the driver. Is this because cars with demonstration plates are not required by law to have insurance? How does one get redress in a case where a vehicle with demonstration plates causes a collision?
S.G., Kingston 4.
INSURANCE HELPLINE: All vehicles that operate on the public roads in Jamaica are required by law to be insured. There is no exception for vehicles with demonstration plates or other groups of vehicles. The emphasis is on the word 'all'.
Section 4 of the Motor Vehicles Insurance (Third-Party Risks) Act MVI-TP Risks states: "It shall not be lawful for any person to use, or to cause or permit any person to use a motor vehicle on a road unless there is in force in relation to the user of the vehicle by that person or that other person, as the case may be, such a policy of insurance or such a security in respect of third-party risks as complies with the requirements of this Act."
Demonstration plates were created by the authorities to help persons who run businesses involving anything to do with motor vehicles such as buying/selling, repairing and servicing, valeting, or operating a garage.
A certain number of plates go to these business operators on application, allowing them to drive vehicles in their custody on the roads subject to compliance with the existing regulations (including those relating to insurance) without the need for the issuance of individual registration plates like you and I have.
Insurance companies invented motor trade insurance policies to cater to needs of operators in this sector. The third-party section of the motor trade insurance contract provides insurance that complies with Section 4 of the MVI-TP Risks law. It resembles, in many respects, the third-party section of a typical motor policy. Insurers are required under subsection 9 of Section 5 of the law to provide holders of motor trade policies like other policyholders with evidence of insurance in the form of certificates of insurance.
The other driver should, therefore, have shown you his driving licence in addition to a certificate of insurance bearing the demonstration plate number of the vehicle that he was driving.
The process of getting redress should, typically, consist of the seven steps below (also see diagram on this page):
1. Filing a claim with your insurer;
2. Obtaining an estimate from a repairer;
3. Submitting the estimate to your insurer;
4. Repairs are authorised by your insurer after estimate is assessed by a loss adjuster, assuming that your vehicle is insured under a comprehensive policy;
5. Vehicle is repaired, items 5-6 in diagram;
6. Vehicle is delivered to you after you have paid deductible or excess; and
7. Your insurer recovers the costs that were incurred as a result of the accident from the other insurers, including your deductible and/or loss of use expenses.
I sincerely hope that this explanation will put your mind at rest and help remove some of your post-accident anxiety and help you to properly navigate the motor claims process without any big headaches.
Cedric E. Stephens provides independent information and advice about the
management of risks and insurance. For free information or counsel, write to: firstname.lastname@example.org