Brought to you by:

Not covered: driver's claim denied after high-speed smash

Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Google

A man who wrote off his car after approaching a roundabout at speeds of up to 180kmh has lost his bid to secure an insurance payout.

The driver lost control of the vehicle at 9.45pm on January 1 2020 at Bongaree, Queensland, and claimed for a total loss.

But Suncorp denied the claim based on policy exclusions relating to reckless acts and failing to take reasonable precautions.

The man took his case to the Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA), which said to deny the claim the insurer must prove the complainant was aware of the risk of his actions and deliberately or recklessly courted the risk.

AFCA says the incident was investigated and police charged the complainant with dangerous operation of a vehicle.

The complainant was found guilty of the offence and his driving licence was suspended for six months. He was believed to be travelling at approximately 150kmh to 180kmh in a 70-80kmh zone leading up to the accident.

Passengers in the vehicle reported the man driving at excessive speed and failing to use his brakes.

But the complainant argued the passengers were intoxicated and their evidence could not be relied upon.

AFCA says five other witnesses at a service station also provided similar estimates of the man’s speed.

“According to the police report, the vehicle struck the gutter of a roundabout, drove straight through it, took out a tree before exiting the roundabout and hitting the opposite side curb on the nature strip.

“The vehicle then struck a large metal stormwater grate, sheering it completely, before coming to a stop on an embankment about 5-10 metres off the road.”

AFCA says the witnesses evidence is consistent and credible, and that weather conditions were good and the roundabout well lit.

“The evidence shows little to no effort was taken to enter the roundabout at a safe and reasonable speed despite the road conditions being favourable and knowing the risks of driving at high speeds,” AFCA’s ombudsman says.

“Given all this, I accept the complainant has failed to take reasonable precautions in the way he operated the vehicle. I also accept the accident was caused by this failure.

AFCA says Suncorp is entitled to decline the claim.

Click here to read the full ruling.