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unity scout insurance   Using your own car  
Useful advice on using your own car for Scouting activities.
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Using your own car for Scouting activities

Generally, the use of private cars should pose few problems if commonsense and care is taken. It is really no different from any other time when parents act as glorified taxi drivers for their children and friends.

Many Groups rely on the use of Leaders’ and parents’ cars to transport Beavers, Cubs and Scouts on activities. It is important that people be aware of the potential complications which can arise with regard to insurance and that they acknowledge their potential responsibilities.

Under United Kingdom law, the driver of a motor vehicle must hold a suitable third party insurance (including indemnity to passengers) and the minimum levels of cover have to be provided by any motor insurer. As this is a statutory requirement, The Scout Association does not provide any cover to individuals in respect of their liability as car drivers as this would be a pointless duplication of cover.

It therefore follows that an individual driver must consider whether their use of their vehicle falls within the terms of their agreement with their insurer.

Most motor insurers recognise that policyholders want to help their communities through volunteer driving. Scouting is usually classified as a social, domestic or pleasure activity and, as such, would be included as covered by United Kingdom motor policies. It is not normally classified as ‘business use’. But remember that when you declare your annual mileage when buying insurance, you should include your volunteer driving in that.

Some insurers have suggested it might be, but this is usually because they think Scout Leaders are paid! When the facts are explained their view often concurs with the opening sentence of this paragraph. You should check with your own motor insurer.

However some insurers might have conditions around volunteer driving. Some insurers want you to contact them to let them know if you do volunteer. Information can be found on the Association of British Insurers (ABI) website at the following page:


or contact your insurer.

The only potential blight on this otherwise happy situation is the ‘hire or reward’ exclusion contained in most policies. Most insurers named will insure their policyholders to carry out voluntary driving, where payment does not exceed the HMRC mileage rates in force at that time. Current HMRC mileage rates can be found at www.hmrc.gov.uk/rates/travel.htm.

Other insurers take a more absolute interpretation and could view a £5.00 contribution to a £12.00 fuel bill as use of the vehicle for reward. You must check with your insurer.

As the driver, you are responsible for anything carried on, in or attached to your vehicle. If you agree to tow the Group’s trailer, make sure it is properly maintained and attached because it will be your insurer who pick up the bill if the thing flies off and demolishes someone’s Jaguar. For similar reasons, make sure children do not open doors without instruction. A passing cyclist and his bike will not appreciate little Jimmy’s assistance in coming to an abrupt halt.

‘How many Cubs can you get in a Mini’ is not a game to be indulged in. Insurers must provide unlimited cover for bodily injury but there could be serious problems if you overload the car. Most cars are considered five seaters and that is what you should stick to. When organising transport try to arrange ‘one car too many’ to guard against ending up with too few.

Parents and Leaders should be made aware of the facts and asked to confirm that they have suitable insurance. After all, Jimmy’s mum will want to know that when he is in someone else’s car, that person is meeting their legal obligation and are correctly insured. If everyone is asked to produce evidence of cover (including Leaders) and the reasons are explained, any reasonable adult should have no cause to object.

If anyone is in any doubt as to how their insurers will react, they should speak to them. If their insurers query the nature of Scouting, it might be an idea to copy this note to them. If any insurer really gets shirty, ask yourself how he might handle your claim! It may pay to find someone who is more reasonable.

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Loss of no motor claims bonus protection

Unity (Scout Insurance Services) can arrange a degree of protection to Scout Leaders or helpers which will pay for any reduction in or loss of their no claims bonus.

If this cover is purchased and a Scout Leader or helper has an accident in their own vehicle on Scouting activities, they would be be compensated towards any policy excess under their private motor insurance policy.

For more details on the cover and how to buy it, please click here

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