Fires and cars – spontaneous combustion is “use”

Today’s decision of the Court of Justice of the EU holds that fire damage due caused by a car catching fire more than 24 hours after it had been parked in a garage was “use of a vehicle” and therefore within the scope of compulsory insurance set down in the relevant directive. As a result, the motor insurer would be required to meet the fire damage claim of around €45,000.

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Spontaneous combustion – fire damage and motor insurance in Europe

Linea Directa v Segurcaixa is a straightforward subrogation claim between two insurers, but its facts make it unusual: the claim was made against a motor insurer for reimbursement of fire damage resulting from a parked car catching fire over 24 hours after it had last been driven.

Previous blogs about the European Court’s wide interpretation of the scope of compulsory insurance required by the Motor Insurance Directive (2009/103) have highlighted the court’s expansionist approach which runs through the case law since its key decision in Vnuk v Zararovalnica in 2014. This latest development is no exception to that.

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European Parliament adopts welcome pragmatic approach to motor insurance reform

Despite Brexit being very much to the foreground, the usual business of the European institutions goes on in the background. This week, for example, the Parliament voted in plenary session on a range of reforms to the Motor Insurance Directive.

Matters have been developing ever since the Court’s decision in Vnuk v Zararovalnica in 2014 and gained fresh momentum with publication of the Commission’s recommendations last May. We have covered this topic extensively as it progressed.

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