Currently reading: UK insurers in retreat from side-seat Defenders
Direct Line and Churchill, both owned by RBS, are refusing to insure both 90 and 110 Defenders when they have side-facing seats

The UK’s biggest motor insurers will no longer offer cover for older models of one of Britain’s most iconic vehicles: the Land Rover Defender.

Direct Line and Churchill, both owned by RBS, are refusing to insure both 90 and 110 Defenders when they have side-facing seats. This will affect all Station Wagon models built before 2007 — the bulk of Defender production.

“We are currently unable to insure Defenders fitted with sideways-mounted bench seats as we believe these present an unacceptable risk of bodily injury,” said a spokesman.

The clarity of this advice is not reflected by the websites of the two insurers, which continue to provide quotes and methods of paying for policies for the six-seat 90 and nine-seat 110 models that came as standard with bench seats.

An Autocar investigation discovered this anomaly, which only came to light when the underwriters themselves were contacted in connection with an online quotation.

In response, both Direct Line and Churchill have promised to update their websites. The companies have pledged to honour any policies — which individually could easily stretch to £2000 — already sold for Defenders with bench seats.

The insurers refuse to say how many drivers this will affect because the number is “commercially sensitive”.

Other insurers, such as Land Rover-friendly company NFU Mutual, will cover Defenders  equipped with bench seats. But more mainstream underwriters could yet follow the market leaders.

In response, Land Rover said: “All Land Rover series production vehicles past and present are manufactured in compliance with the European whole vehicle type approval. This is the European standard.”

In 2007 the Defender had a significant upgrade, including the introduction of a pair of forward-facing seats in the rear to comply with changed type approval requirements.

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Robert 13 July 2013

The refusal of not insuring

The refusal of not insuring 90 and 110 defenders when they have side-facing seats is definitely going to affect all Station wagon models built before 2007. And the insurers are refusing to say how many drivers this will affect. However some other providers are still going with their previous service and providing insurances. Good article. Commercial Insurance Covina



petegeoff 15 August 2012


Buses rarely crash in this country. If they do and there are injuries we tend to hear about it on the news. Regards.

Flatus senex 10 August 2012

Please find the cause and tone down the indignation

Insurance companies exist to make money so normally a higher risk (and they possess claim statistics in vast measure) can be dealt with by an increase  in premiums. If lucrative business is to be had they will take it.

 Withdrawing all cover thus suggests Land Rovers of this kind generate a particular kind of problem, Owners of such vehicles would do well to find out what it is and, if it involves matters of behaviour on their part, rectify them.