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Club 4x4 insurance new excess

Discussion in 'General 4x4 Discussion' started by CaptainBanana, Mar 8, 2018.

  1. CaptainBanana

    CaptainBanana Active Member

    So I've written twice to club 4x4 this fortnight to see if their policies were at all competitive with my current insurers but they didn't bother to respond or call back nor was I able go speak to a real person which was frustrating... Anyway I wake up today to an email from them which means my email address worked on the forms submitted but more importantly it absolutely concreted the fact I won't be going with them even if they did drop their premiums to a competitive Level.

    It's a huge spiel trying to justify their amendments so be prepared for the dullest reading of your life but the punch line is a ripper... These guys are already the most expensive insurer I spoke to by a long mile and have now added more excess charges and not insignificant ones, in my case it would equate to about $5000 excess (actually this is above the base excess)... wow, I get this won't worry many as they won't go near water but I don't want to get somewhere hours down a road and then turn around and drive hours back because my specialist offroad insurer wants me to pay for my own damage in the event it goes wrong...anyway talk amongst yourselves.

    Policy Changes – Water Crossing Claims
    Those of you that follow our blogs regularly would have come across our Club 4X4 Crash Index that we published in 2017. In that article, we divulged with transparency how our growing portfolio has performed from a claims perspective and outlined where the majority of our losses were coming from. Single vehicle incidents led the way, with a significant representation of water damage resulting from failed water crossings.

    The challenge with these sorts of claims is that a water ingress claim often leads to a total loss, while single vehicle incidents mean there is no third party to recover any of the costs from. When you factor in the way we assign a value to your four-by-four – with the generous inclusion of modification and accessories added to your total sum insured, total losses cause much more damage to us than they do for a normal motor insurer. Furthermore, the costs that we can recover from salvage, if we can manage to sell the water damaged four-by–four is generally not much more than a standard model of the same vintage and variant.

    Rest assured, we are not whinging. We just need to clearly convey that a general insurer may have a few water ingress claims from failed water crossing attempts a month – but as they are not specialised, they only have to pay out the value of the vehicle anyway. No portable valuables are covered, no financial cover for the accessories and that’s if you’re even covered driving where you were! Amongst the lot of the general insurers across the country, the total exposure of real 4×4 touring enthusiasts would be three fifths of the proverbial – in short, they don’t really care and paying out a few a year isn’t going to affect them too much.

    But we at Club 4×4 have no other interest but in being the Insurer of choice for the 4X4 Enthusiast. ALL of our customers go off-road rather than a small handful (and we wouldn’t have it any other way!) Basically we are concentrating the risk associated with off-road driving into our portfolio. All good, “that’s what we chose” as we often hear you say, right?

    The fundamentals of insurance revolve around the concept of community funding. Everyone pays a small proportion of the value of their risk, which goes into a pool which is invested to then pay claims as required. This, combined with a deductible or excess then facilitates the management of a claim, be it the costs of repair or payment of the total value of the risk. Whilst a combination of excess and premium is required, the premium is what holds the most weight and carries the largest contribution towards future costs.

    SO WHAT?

    Well, we’ve had to make changes. Without some intervention, the book would become unsustainable, which may have led to the need to remove coverage for such events – hardly an ideal scenario for a 4X4 Insurer! So by rejecting the option to remove the coverage, there are only two levers that remain available; premium and excess.

    Let me digress for a moment. We have all seen the videos, a new one is posted online seemingly everyday. Usually involving someone who either doesn’t know or doesn’t care about the consequences of unprepared or irresponsible water crossing. We even shared one following our disbelief, and surprisingly had a number of you actually posting comments like “ hope you guys don’t cover this sort of irresponsibility – I don’t want to be paying for that”. That sentiment was EXACTLY why we chose not to go down the path of increasing premiums across the board – although in reality that would’ve been the most reliable and quickest option.

    Nope, we felt the most equitable way to handle this situation was to impose a special excess on claims that occur as a result of failed crossings. This way the “penalty” only applies where a claim is made. As we all know, a claim for water ingress or hydrolock is something that can be controlled. Many of the clips we alluded too before boggle the mind. People entering waterways that would be way in excess of the manufacturer fording depth, at times with no snorkel, no water bra, in water that you couldn’t walk through with concrete blocks for shoes! We agreed with you all, that people who choose to put themselves and vehicles at risk in these conditions should be the ones penalised. Those who do the right thing by walking it first, assessing depth and what the base feels like– or who choose to go around the crossing or wait things out should not have to fund those who don’t take the appropriate precuations. After all, the goal is to get to the destination not do the most damage possible right?

    From today onwards, all new business policies and all renewals generated will include this new excess. The excess will consist of a $2000 flat amount, with 5% of the total sum insured on top. So if you drive a vehicle that’s insured for $50,0000 and drown it – that will be a flat $2000 + 5% of $50,0000 ($2500) – a total of $4500. This will be charged above and beyond any excesses that may already apply to the claim. These will be noted on your Certificate of Insurance and are specific to your policy.

    Thank you to all of you who have chosen to support us. Our vision is To Protect the Lifestyle of the 4X4 Enthusiast and you’re the reason why we continue to find ways to keep this product sustainable and available for many years to come.

    In the coming weeks and months we will be increasing focus on responsible water crossing practise – in the meantime please read this blog we posted earlier to give you some summary insight on responsible water crossing.

    Happy Touring

    Kalen Ziflian
    General Manager
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2018
    Spooner likes this.
  2. Kmarsh

    Kmarsh Member

    Yeah once again having their cake and eating it to

    Hey we are a specialist 4x4 insurer and we know what you expect and what you do, it’s gonna cost you a little more upfront but we will be there when others won’t.......

    But if you make a claim it’s also gonna cost you more, we will be far more stringent and if we can we won’t pay at all, because as a specialist 4x4 insurer it’s actually costing us money to conduct the business we are so proud to be able to offer, but don’t forget, we are better than all the other mobs who don’t understand 4x4ers

    I think I’ll have a go at their future marketing slogan

    “Club 4x4, cover for people who have 4x4s, not for people who use them”

    I know what I’m doing come renewal in may
    underdog, phs, Spooner and 2 others like this.
  3. Kmarsh

    Kmarsh Member

    Oh, and let’s not miss the $2000 base plus 5% of the total sum the vehicle is insured for

    But hang on, isn’t my premium based on what the vehicle is insured for?

    So in effect I’m paying a cost monthly or yearly based on what I’ve got the vehicle insured for, determined by the insurer (which would lead one to believe that it’s an appropriate cost to run a profitable and successful business) and then get stung again for a percentage of what it’s insured for?

    It doesn’t work that way, how do I get stung on the value of my car twice? Especially when one of the instances is when it comes time to make a claim on a policy I’m paying a premium for
    phs and Spooner like this.
  4. Big-Trev

    Big-Trev Well-Known Member

    I guess if your silly enough to drive into a creek without checking the depth , you should carry the responsibility for your actions .
    Batts88 and Club 4x4 like this.
  5. Kmarsh

    Kmarsh Member

    And everybody who has an accident on or off road does it deliberately do they?
    LCV8VICTORIA, phs and filcar like this.
  6. Club 4x4

    Club 4x4 Active Member

    CaptainBanana and Kmarsh.

    Thanks for your comments - they're not dissimilar to what we are seeing in responses to the article itself. You may want to post the link so so that everyone can see what's being said there too. You may be surprised to see the number of people praising us on this move...

    Firstly - i have said this before on this forum. If the cost of your coverage is the most important thing, then our policy may not be for you. We have spoken extensively about what makes us different; including a clear view of where you're covered, the way we cover your modifications and accessories, covering your portable valuables and off-road recovery. I'm not so sure it is reasonable to think these things can be added to a policy at no cost. Anyone who does think this doesn't value these features and benefits, as such a policy with a budget insurer may be more appropriate.

    Secondly - what we have done today is add a an excess into our policy that aims to deal with a significant issue that needed to be addressed. The issue is that we were having a large number of cars being drowned, and each of these cars (like 99% of the cars we insured) was overvalued. You may or may not know that we can and will insure a car for multiples of what the public will pay for it.

    Thirdly - there are three ways to address such a situation. 1) remove coverage for water crossings 2) implement a significant increase in everyone's policies to cover for the minority who cause the dramas 3) impose and excess.

    Now - if you are the type who will go into a crossing willy nilly - you should be worried. If you are risk averse and take the time the practise best practise precautions and technique and, ultimately, make the choice not to cross if you aren't 100% sure, then you will need to pay the excess.

    This was deemed to be the fairest way - we didn't want to hit everyone with increases because motor insurance premiums are going up across the industry anyway.

    Hope this answers your concerns. We have an amazing product designed to protect off-road tourers and we want to continue to offer the product long term. Adjustments like this will help ensure it is sustainable.


    filcar likes this.
  7. smitty_r51

    smitty_r51 Well-Known Member

    Given the amount of emails i get from Mr Callahan's enterprises i don't want (rv daily, unsealed, pat, magazine) i am concerned that this one involving a change to my policy i didn't get.

    I trust you are not using your insurance membership list email group for your marketing and vice versa and me unsubscribing from the spam now means i don't get policy emails!
  8. mac_man_luke

    mac_man_luke Well-Known Member

    Exactly part of the reason why i didnt go with club4x4 (or any "specific") insurance.
    I pay half what club4x4 quoted, with lower excesses, with less 4x4 specific terms but still covered for what i need including off road use etc
    akin, phs, Spooner and 1 other person like this.
  9. Choook

    Choook Well-Known Member

    Well I was considering having a look at Club 4x4 as I don't really get that much coverage from my "budget insurer". But now I'm not so sure. My vehicle is 18 years old and I have probably bolted on and carry more in value than I paid for it, are the higher premiums worth it?
    Club 4x4 likes this.
  10. ToyPrado

    ToyPrado Active Member

    It should be on the book value!
  11. ToyPrado

    ToyPrado Active Member

    HI Kalen,
    Does this include damage and loss in water that is accidental and where care has been taken?
    Eg , snorkel, lift, tyres, plus preparation of assessing the water

    Club 4x4 likes this.
  12. Club 4x4

    Club 4x4 Active Member

    G'day Choook,

    The premiums are only worth how much you value the extra cover. Best bet to give us a call and we can walk through the differences. Once you have your head around it you may find that your current insurer doesn't measure up.

  13. Club 4x4

    Club 4x4 Active Member


    Yes it does. But i suspect if all of the appropriate due diligence is done - ie walking the crossing, checking for the bottom and any holes wearing a water bra and ensuring your have a properly sealed snorkel then you would be 99% sure.

    Its about how much you place on the 1% unknown and that can only be determined by being there and using judgement

  14. Kmarsh

    Kmarsh Member

    And what if we are driving a track that may have risk of damage or rollover? What if the track has deteriorated since last time you drove it and it results in the above?

    How long until you apply the same excess on that scenario?

    It’s not a big leap, and then what kind of insurance product do you offer if this becomes the case?

    Like I said, cover for people who own 4wds, not for people who use them
  15. Tink

    Tink Well-Known Member

    Thanks for the info @Club 4x4
    I personally think your reasoning for an excess increase is both sound and just.
    Club 4x4 likes this.
  16. Club 4x4

    Club 4x4 Active Member

    G'day Smitty,

    Club 4X4 is a separate entity to the others you noted above. if you unsubscribed from our list then you will not receive any emails other than your renewals or new business noitifcations
    Heres the article in case you wanted to read it

  17. Toddyh

    Toddyh Well-Known Member

  18. Club 4x4

    Club 4x4 Active Member

    G'day Toddyh,

    The benefit is that this is documented in video. Generally the view would be that the excess would apply. With the video you can see that hes simply driving down the road and comes across a flooded road/river broken its banks and despite trying hasn't been able to stop in time.

    If he had stopped then chosen to go in and drowned it it would definitely be a claim that is exposed to the new excess.

    smitty_r51 likes this.
  19. Toddyh

    Toddyh Well-Known Member

    Do you mean excess would NOT apply?
  20. Jackolux

    Jackolux Active Member

    Yes Kal not sure what you mean there , only std excess would apply or the new excess
    Also if there was no video would you accept his word that it was accidental .

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