Direct Line and Churchill, both owned by RBS, are refusing to insure both 90 and 110 Defenders when they have side-facing seats
Julian Rendell
9 August 2012

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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Comments
15

9 August 2012

Werent there some other manufactuer estate models that also had optional side facing 3rd row of seats in the boot?

9 August 2012

Early Discoveries had folding sideways seats in the luggage area.

9 August 2012

Orangewheels wrote:

Werent there some other manufactuer estate models that also had optional side facing 3rd row of seats in the boot?

I'm pretty sure Diahatsu 4-track's were 2 door 7 seaters with the 2 rearmost side on in the boot?

Pretty much of a joke having a rule change now.Reminds me of latest building regs which effectively mean your average private house build never completes because ever tightening construction rules up-spec electrics etc... quicker than you can fit them.

Couldnt they offer a type of classic insurance, such as they do for all those vehicles with no seatbelts?

9 August 2012

The original UK swb Fourtrack was a 6 seater with two in the front and 4 side facing in the back.  The Diahatsu Fourtrack Diesel Turbo Estate was a seven seater two door with two side facing seats in the boot.  This format continued for the latter LWB versions I believe.  

Also I think early shoguns pre 92 may have had side facing seats but am not sure.

 

 

 

9 August 2012

Orangewheels wrote:

Werent there some other manufactuer estate models that also had optional side facing 3rd row of seats in the boot?

I'm sure there were. If ony Fidji was still here, he'd have driven all of them and could give us an informed opinion.

 

9 August 2012

So why are buses still being supplied with sideways-facing seats if they're so dangerous?

9 August 2012

Phinehas wrote:

So why are buses still being supplied with sideways-facing seats if they're so dangerous?

 

....and you can stand up and not wear a seatbelt while travelling in one...It's lucky buses obviously never crash.

9 August 2012

Although are you insured on a bus!?

Would this include my 1964 Series 2a 88'? It has side facing seats in the rear.

9 August 2012

Maybe it's a request of Land Rover owner's i.e. whiplash claims aren't welcome.  If your not hard enough to break a leg, or lose a limb you shouldn't be riding in a Land Rover.

9 August 2012

Do I really need to say anymore? I think not.

 

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