AAMI insurance

Submitted: Monday, Jun 16, 2003 at 21:40
ThreadID: 5489 Views:8864 Replies:9 FollowUps:17
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As an addendum to some recent posts about insurance and a number of comments/statements about AAMI, I reproduce below a transcript of a series of emails I had with AAMI Customer Service. It took 6 emails and 6 responses to get an answer to my 5 original questions. Some of the specific points may/will be of interest to you all. The witten advice, contrary to written advice rec'd from GaryinOz (? I think) states that AAMI do cover you when on a club organised outing. I was intrigued at how quick they were to suggest I look elsewhere for insurance, rather than trying to find a way to satisfy my requirements and keep me as a customer. I seem to remember that Gary was also given the same (verbatim) response. Also, I love the bit about allowing only 3 modifications. At least their definition of a modification is pretty narrow so lots of things fall into the category of "accessories".

Anyway, here it is ...

Good morning AAMI. I have 2 vehicles comprehensively insured with you. One of those vehicles is a Four Wheel Drive vehicle and I have some questions about my policy.

1) Does the policy specifically cover the vehicle and occupants, and 3rd parties and 3rd party property, when I am 4WD'ing on un-gazetted tracks?
2) Are there any limitations on, or exclusions from, the cover when 4WD'ing. For example, I understand I am not covered if participating in a competition, but what constitutes a competition?
3) Am I covered if 4WD'ing with an organised group such as on a tag-a-long tour or a club outing?
4) If I make modifications to my vehicle, what information do you require? For example, I have fitted PolyAir springs (an airbag suspension support to level the vehicle when loaded) to the rear suspension. If I fit new (more expensive) "off-road" tyres, do I need to tell you, in order to have them covered? If I make suspension, or other mechanical modifications, what do you require from me to ensure ongoing cover?
5) Do you have any restrictions on modifications I can make?

Regards and thanks
Rohan

Dear Rohan,
thank you for your email. AAMI will not cover your vehicle if it was being used or tested in or for a race, trial, test or contest or if the vehicle was being used on a competition circuit, course or arena. However if you are 4WD'ing with an organised group or club, then you are covered, providing that the outing did not incorporate a race for example. The cover that AAMI provides is nation wide and will cover you regardless if you are on a track or a main road. However we anticipate that the driver does take all reasonable precautions to secure the safety of the vehicle. The legal liability cover will also apply when you are 4WD'ing. However injury to occupants and other third parties is generally covered by your Compulsory Third Party Insurance when you purchase car registration. If you make modifications to your car, AAMI must be notified of these to ensure that they are covered in the event of a claim. Changes to 'off road' tyres will not need to be noted on the policy, they will be automatically covered. AAMI does have restrictions on the number of modifications that you make to your car, however these generally related to performance enhancing modifications. However to be sure that you are adequately covered, it is best to disclose all details to AAMI. If you have any further queries, please do not hesitate to email us. If you would like to update your car insurance policy, please reply to this email with your policy number and/or car registration number, your date of birth and mailing address as it appears on your policy.

Regards,
D
AAMI eBusiness aami.com.au

D, thanks for the reply. Can you please clarify the first point, in relation to use of the vehicle `on a competition circuit, course or arena'? I have no immediate intention to do any of these things. However, if I were to travel to one of the recognised private 4WD "parks" such a (Toyota) Landcruiser Park in QLD (which is a privately owned camping and 4wheeling property), and drive along a 4WD track that had been used earlier that day as a competition/contest course, even though I was not competing, would I be covered? This is an important question to many 4x4 owners as they attend these parks to watch events and then use the same tracks after the event has finished. Also, a recent inquiry from a potential AAMI customer regarding coverage whilst on an organised 4WD club trip was met with a "you are not covered whilst on organised club trips" response from AAMI. As I am considering club membership, to perhaps travel with others (more safely), I need to ensure I have the definitive answer regarding coverage. If not covered, I will not be able to participate in club outings, which is a result contrary to the whole concept of increasing safety and reducing the risk of cost/damage. Regarding vehicle modifications: I propose fitment of a roof-rack (as distinct from roof bars); improving the suspension for towing/load carrying with after-market suspension (this will probably result in an increase in the vehicle height of less than 50 mm when unloaded) and replacing the inadequate standard tyres with All Terrain type tyres (this will require an engineers certificate to meet ADR requirements. Would you require a copy?), replacing the plastic under-body front protection plate with a stronger (better protection) alloy plate, fitting appropriate recovery hooks/points to the front of the vehicle and, last but not least, fitting some decent driving lights. Can you confirm if these proposed vehicle enhancements are acceptable or not, to retain fully coverage, please. Regards, and thanks for your assistance.

Rohan

Dear Rohan,
thank you for your reply. As per page 20 of AAMI's Motor Insurance Policy booklet, your vehicle would not be covered if it were being used on a competition circuit, course or arena. This applies even if you are not competing at the time. As AAMI would therefore not be able to provide adequate cover for your four-wheel-driving, we suggest that you seek an alternative insurer. You may wish to visit the Australian National Four Wheel Drive Council (ANFWDC) at

Yours Sincerely,
Z
AAMI eBusiness

Z, thanks for the quick response. I had already read page 20, but don't believe it clarifies this issue sufficiently. Hence my question via email. I am still not sure I understand the logic and so put this to you. If I was driving upon Mount Panorama the day after the Bathurst 1000 motor race and had an accident, am I covered? Mount Panorama is both a public road and a racing (competition) circuit. If the answer were that I would be covered, why is this different to driving on a track after it is no longer being used for competition? What if I unknowingly drove along a track that one week earlier had been used as part of the Outback Challenge (a 4WD competition event)? I do not, at this stage, wish to seek an alternative insurer. I do, however, need to fully understand what is and is not permissible/acceptable under my policy with you so I can avoid doing anything that may void my insurance cover. To that end, would you please provide answers to my questions #2 and #3, below?

Regards
Rohan

Dear Rohan,
thank you for your reply. If you were driving on Mount Panorama when it is used as a public road, you would be fully covered. Similarly, if your were unknowingly driving along a track that was used as part of the Outback Challenge, you would also be fully covered. These two situations may be technically competition circuits, but they are also 'multi-purpose'. When these are used in a public capacity, you are fully covered. In contrast, if you drove your vehicle on a racetrack (specifically built for racing), you would not be covered. This is due to you knowingly driving on a competition circuit that is not multi-purpose. The AAMI comprehensive car policy does not make any distinctions regarding club outings or tag-along tours, you will be fully covered in this regard. If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Regards,
DB
AAMI eBusiness

Thanks for your reply DB. Based upon it, I would also contend, as put in my original email, that if I were to drive upon a 4x4 track that was a multipurpose track and which had been used earlier that day (or even days before) as a competition track, I should be covered, as such a scenario falls within the acceptable usage described by you below. The tracks I mention in my original questions are usually existing tracks, which have been converted to a competition track for a particular event, following which they revert to their original usage. Your second comment confirms that I would be covered whilst on 4WD club outings and/or tag-a-long tours/trips (provided, of course, they were not competitions or on a competition track). All that's left now are responses to my questions #4 and #5, being:
4) If I make modifications to my vehicle, what information do you require? For example, I have fitted PolyAir springs (an airbag suspension support to level the vehicle when loaded) to the rear suspension. If I fit new (more expensive) "off-road" tyres (as distinct from "road tyres"), do I need to tell you, in order to have them covered? If I make suspension, or other mechanical modifications, what do you require from me to ensure ongoing cover?
5) Do you have any restrictions on modifications I can make to my 4x4? Specifically, what are they?

Regards
Rohan

Dear Rohan,
thank you for your reply. AAMI must be made aware of the details of all modifications in order for them to be adequately covered. Please note that AAMI do have restrictions on the number and types of modification fitted to vehicles insured with AAMI. For drivers over the age of 25, AAMI would allow only 3 performance or cosmetic modifications to be fitted to the vehicle. If you vehicle is lowered, then there would be a restriction that no drivers under the age of 25 would be insured to drive the vehicle. AAMI do not allow some modifications, that is why it is important to advise AAMI of all modifications planning to be made to the vehicle, so that we can advise you of your cover accordingly. If AAMI can be of further assistance, please email us at anytime.

Yours Sincerely,
Z
AAMI eBusiness

Thanks again Z. I listed the proposed changes/modifications in an earlier email and have reproduced it below for your review and comment. "Regarding vehicle modifications. I propose: fitment of a roof-rack (as distinct from roof bars); improving the suspension for towing/load carrying with after-market suspension (this will probably result in an increase in the vehicle height of less than 50 mm when unloaded and zero/nil change when loaded); replacing the inadequate standard tyres with All Terrain type tyres (this will require an engineers certificate to meet ADR requirements (would you require a copy?); replacing the plastic under-body front protection plate with a stronger (better protection) alloy plate; fitting appropriate recovery hooks/points to the front of the vehicle (to facilitate safer recovery, should it ever be necessary) and, last but not least, fitting some decent driving lights (to make night-time driving safer)."

Regards
Rohan

Dear Rohan,
thank you for your reply. To ensure that you will be adequately covered with the modifications to your vehicle please reply to this email with your current AAMI policy number, registration number and mailing address as it currently appears on your policy.

Regards,
L
AAMI eBusiness

L, please note that most of the modification mentioned below are proposed and not yet performed. Please advise if any are not acceptable under the policy. Details are xxxxx

Regards
Rohan

Dear Rohan,
thank you for your email. AAMI allow for 3 modifications on a vehicle for customers over 25 years of age. Of the list that you have provided, the only modification would be the suspension. All the others are classed as accessories and would be covered on the policy. If you have further questions, please email us at anytime.

Regards,
J
AAMI eBusiness
Talk is cheap ...
Rohan (Sydney)
Back Expand Un-Read 0 Moderator

Reply By: Truckster (Vic) - Monday, Jun 16, 2003 at 22:21

Monday, Jun 16, 2003 at 22:21
Its amazing how its so hard to get a straight answer... Its not like your asking for their wifes sexual performance rating...

Also amazing how everytime this comes up, people are told different things in writing, like Gary not covered and you are..

I think making an appointment, going into one of their offices, and talking face to face with the manager and a Video camera over your shoulder is the only way to get anywhere. Then put everything they say in writing and get his signature on it while you wait.

Sadly, I just dont trust them at all.
AnswerID: 22723

Follow Up By: Member - Rohan K - Tuesday, Jun 17, 2003 at 18:36

Tuesday, Jun 17, 2003 at 18:36
Sadly, neither do I. I'm not sure I'll go the video route, but i do intend sending these emails to their claims manager to get his/her written agreement to what I have been told.

I reckon we should all start bombarding them (all insurers) with such email requests. If nothing else, we could then compare exactly what each of them will and won't do for us.Talk is cheap ...
Rohan (Sydney)
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FollowupID: 15038

Follow Up By: Truckster (Vic) - Tuesday, Jun 17, 2003 at 19:37

Tuesday, Jun 17, 2003 at 19:37
The problem would be if we are all told different things... Sort of like now ;)~

Where do you go then? The thing is they dont care.

If they pulled their heads out of their a$$e$ they would see how many 4wds are on the roads, and how much $$$ there is to be made.

Then again if the 4wd Association would give a bleep , they would be getting better for us.
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FollowupID: 15049

Reply By: Leroy - Monday, Jun 16, 2003 at 22:40

Monday, Jun 16, 2003 at 22:40
Hi Rohan,

I read your post with intrest as I am a AAMI customer. I had the same problem trying to get information and clarification about their policy. But I did get the ok when I told them of all my mods and accessories. I also wanted to ask if my vehicle would be covered in the Pajero Challenge but thought it too difficult. The event is not timed so it's not a race so theoretically one would assume it would be fine ;-) But I bet they would fight to the bitter end if you had to make a claim!
(I just hate insurance companies and like to give them a hard time)

Leroy
AnswerID: 22728

Follow Up By: Member - Rohan K - Tuesday, Jun 17, 2003 at 18:38

Tuesday, Jun 17, 2003 at 18:38
Leroy, I'd put the question to them. My guess is they'd say you're not covered, but you never know. Also, the more of us that throw these questions/needs at them, the more thought they MAY give to what they provide to their customers.Talk is cheap ...
Rohan (Sydney)
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FollowupID: 15039

Reply By: GaryInOz (Vic) - Monday, Jun 16, 2003 at 22:40

Monday, Jun 16, 2003 at 22:40
Slippery as a bucket full of eels, aren't they???

Isn't it funny that the consider the suspension ok as a modification (no engineers cetificate needed), but it's the tyres that need the engineers certificate and that is considered an "accessory".

...and you didnt have continuous contact with ONE person in their organization. VERY POOR management systems in place at AAMI.

Someone must have removed the words "yes" and "no" from their dictionary. The answers seem very similar in phrasing to the answers I got, and I'm wondering if they just select an approximate answer from a drop-down menu from their computer screens. This would also explain why they never answer all of the points raised, and give inappropriate answers ("...lowering suspension...").
AnswerID: 22729

Follow Up By: Leroy - Monday, Jun 16, 2003 at 22:45

Monday, Jun 16, 2003 at 22:45
Don't you lower the suspension on a 4wd? All off road 4wd vehicles are lowered....hehe

Leroy
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FollowupID: 14996

Reply By: relaxed (Fraser Coast-QLD) - Monday, Jun 16, 2003 at 22:54

Monday, Jun 16, 2003 at 22:54
These insurance companies are definitely a problem and a worry. Rohan, to me, you have taken all reasonable steps to find out what you can and can't have on your vehicle and be insured with this company. I would file these e-mails and forget the worry, because, if in the future you had an accident or have damage done to your 4by and the insurance company wants to reneg on the claim, I believe you would have them in court and win. See or talk to a solicitor and I think he'll tell you the same thing. In a court of law of this nature, it all hinges on the balance of probabilities.
Relaxed
AnswerID: 22732

Follow Up By: Member - Rohan K - Tuesday, Jun 17, 2003 at 18:39

Tuesday, Jun 17, 2003 at 18:39
Once I have their claims manager's signature confirming everything I've been told, that's exactly what I intend to do.Talk is cheap ...
Rohan (Sydney)
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FollowupID: 15041

Reply By: kevin - Monday, Jun 16, 2003 at 22:54

Monday, Jun 16, 2003 at 22:54
Hi Rohan,

Just out of interest I tipped a Landcruiser over on the Birdsville Track in extremely wet and slippery conditions (in 4WD Low, at 40 km/hr) about two years ago. AAMI were very good and covered the problem, and I had roof racks and OME suspension, (up 50 mm on standard) on the vehicle at the time. The road was churned up as a result of a large number of "rally" cars on the road at the same time, but I guess that it still would not qualify as a race track, although many that day thought it was.

At the time I was quite worried about whether they would cover it, but everything turned out fine. My advice however is simply to save yourself the worry and make sure that your modifications are written onto the policy.

Hope this helps.

Have fun in the bush!

Kevin
AnswerID: 22733

Follow Up By: Member - Rohan K - Tuesday, Jun 17, 2003 at 18:41

Tuesday, Jun 17, 2003 at 18:41
Kevin, that doesn't surprise me really. My experience with them on claims is that they are pretty good. I'm just making sure I have all the ts crossed, especially with the specialist nature of 4x4.Talk is cheap ...
Rohan (Sydney)
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FollowupID: 15042

Reply By: Andrew - Tuesday, Jun 17, 2003 at 01:04

Tuesday, Jun 17, 2003 at 01:04
Good thread that one

Just a suggestion for future reference....

If anyone has a claim in the future (or past for that matter) with their insurers which is knocked back, they should post it on the forum for the info of others.

It's good for info but it may also be good for this....One person may make a claim one day and get paid out while another may make the same or similar claim later and get knocked back.

The person who got knocked back may be able to use the info as a bit of leverage to get his claim satisfied (did it before, why not now??) that sort of thing. Particulaly good with like to like insurers.

As your thread demostrates, it can be who you get on the day that dictates whether you get paid out or not.!!!

Just a thought.

cheers crew
AnswerID: 22741

Follow Up By: Leroy - Tuesday, Jun 17, 2003 at 11:23

Tuesday, Jun 17, 2003 at 11:23
Also if a claim is rejected when it is shown that another has been accepted a precedent has been set but would only apply if it was the same insurance co.

Leroy
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FollowupID: 15016

Reply By: Old Soldier - Tuesday, Jun 17, 2003 at 10:58

Tuesday, Jun 17, 2003 at 10:58
G'day Rohan,

Thanks for an interesting and thought provoking thread.

If it does nothing else, at least it should make everyone here just stop and consider their own insurance situation a wee bit more closely.

Once again, thanks mate.

Enjoy the bush

DennisN
AnswerID: 22768

Follow Up By: Member - Rohan K - Tuesday, Jun 17, 2003 at 18:44

Tuesday, Jun 17, 2003 at 18:44
Thanks Dennis. I think we should all start asking a few questions of the insurers. Doing it via email ensures a written response to which they can be held, so it couldn't hurt. It would be good to see other insurers answers to the same questions.Talk is cheap ...
Rohan (Sydney)
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FollowupID: 15043

Reply By: Old Soldier - Tuesday, Jun 17, 2003 at 10:59

Tuesday, Jun 17, 2003 at 10:59
G'day Rohan,

Thanks for an interesting and thought provoking thread.

If it does nothing else, at least it should make everyone here just stop and consider their own insurance situation a wee bit more closely.

Once again, thanks mate.

Enjoy the bush

DennisN
AnswerID: 22769

Reply By: flappan - Tuesday, Jun 17, 2003 at 12:25

Tuesday, Jun 17, 2003 at 12:25
Very interesting thread.

If its completely and utterly true, AAMI will be getting a HEAP of new business.

Rohan, would you mind if we shared some parts of your email around (moreso the "club" issue). There are a lot of folks that would be interested.

May also help later if "we" all take a similar approach.
AnswerID: 22779

Follow Up By: Truckster (Vic) - Tuesday, Jun 17, 2003 at 16:56

Tuesday, Jun 17, 2003 at 16:56
Our club insurance broker, said when I asked about the TCIS huge price increase problem said

"Be cautious of companies like AAMI and RACV with their offroad insurance if your not happy with TCIS..."

Take that meaning what you will, but I think if TCIS come back to earth, sticking with a 'specialized' offroad insurer would be more beneficial to all.. Then they would get more premiums coming back, and then costs *MAY* come down, or stay where they are.. Or am I on drugs?

COuld be wrong wouldnt be the first time.
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FollowupID: 15032

Follow Up By: Member - Rohan K - Tuesday, Jun 17, 2003 at 18:33

Tuesday, Jun 17, 2003 at 18:33
Truckster, I actually agree with you, but it would all hinge on the insurance company (companies?) making the first move and providing us all with the coverage we need at a reasonable premium. Clearly, we can't go with an insurer that doesn't provide sufficient cover, no matter what the cost.

The whole thing is just crazy. Vehicle manufactures make vehicles supposedly to go off road, but insurance companies don't/won't provide appropriate cover. I wonder if they've ever done any statistical analysis to determine the pro-rata frequency and cost of 4x4 accidents compared to road accidents. I doubt it.Talk is cheap ...
Rohan (Sydney)
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FollowupID: 15037

Follow Up By: Member - Rohan K - Tuesday, Jun 17, 2003 at 18:46

Tuesday, Jun 17, 2003 at 18:46
Flappan, I've removed all names and any other "personal" information, so use what you like.Talk is cheap ...
Rohan (Sydney)
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FollowupID: 15044

Follow Up By: Truckster (Vic) - Tuesday, Jun 17, 2003 at 19:34

Tuesday, Jun 17, 2003 at 19:34
"I wonder if they've ever done any statistical analysis to determine the pro-rata frequency and cost of 4x4 accidents compared to road accidents. I doubt it."

That would be logical, and then how would they justify ripping us off? Cleaner if they just leave it as it is, and we have no way of disputing it..

:(
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FollowupID: 15048

Follow Up By: GaryInOz (Vic) - Tuesday, Jun 17, 2003 at 22:34

Tuesday, Jun 17, 2003 at 22:34
I agree with you Rohan K. I would very much like to see the real picture with the Mum's taxi/Toorak tractor figures taken out of the equation to see exactly what sort of a "liability" the true recreational 4WDers are.
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FollowupID: 15065

Follow Up By: flappan - Wednesday, Jun 18, 2003 at 10:38

Wednesday, Jun 18, 2003 at 10:38
Truckster, yeah, agree as well.

I personally would prefer a "proper" offroad policy, but if TCIS keep up the way they are going . . . . .

This might be the kick in the pants they need to get some action.
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FollowupID: 15081

Follow Up By: flappan - Wednesday, Jun 18, 2003 at 10:40

Wednesday, Jun 18, 2003 at 10:40
Thanks Rohan.

I think it may be handy
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FollowupID: 15082

Follow Up By: Truckster (Vic) - Wednesday, Jun 18, 2003 at 10:40

Wednesday, Jun 18, 2003 at 10:40
Flappin, I think its good that everyone here agrees.

Now everyone on EVERY forum, needs to start EMAILING AND SNAIL MAILING TCIS..

No use us all complaining to each other. Let TCIS KNOW that we are phukt off with their tactics.

If they get complaints from 3-10, they wont care, if they get complaints from 100's PROMISING to leave, they will $hit their pants.

Which is good for us!
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FollowupID: 15083

Follow Up By: flappan - Wednesday, Jun 18, 2003 at 12:00

Wednesday, Jun 18, 2003 at 12:00
Truckster, you betcha.

Thats why I asked Rohan if we could use it.

Like yourself, I'm on a few different lists/ and forums, and it would be nice to be able to share it around.

Again, like yourself, its these folks that are in clubs etc etc, and if they change or make enough noise, things will hopefully change.

With all due respect to Joe Public, he couldn't give a stuff about offroad, modded or club insurance. His insurance is just fine.
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FollowupID: 15092

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