AXA suing Policyholder for recovery of TP payout when named driver was at fault - advice please?

Convicted Driver Insurance


New member
Seeking advice for a friend in a possibly unusual situation.

His (now ex) GF drove their car drunk into someone else property resulting in a Third Party pay out only.

The car was in the girlfriends name, but he was the policy holder with her as a named driver.

He as policyholder is now being pursued 2.5 years later by the insurance company for recovery of money paid out to 3rd party, iro £12500.

Exact policy wording is: "We will not pay more than our legal liability under compulsory motor insurance legislation for any claim, if the driver of your car at the time of the accident: a) is found to be over the permitted limit for alcohol; b) is unfit to drive through drink or drugs, whether prescribed or otherwise; or c) fails to provide a swab sample or sample of breath, blood or urine when required to do so, without lawful reason. Where we are required to make a payment in such circumstances, we reserve the right to recover any such amounts from you or the driver of your car. "

It seems unjust that they are going after him, the policyholder, to recover the money as he was not at fault, and did not himself breach any policy conditions and policy clearly states "we reserve the right to recover any such amounts from you or the driver of your car" which makes you think that they should only legally be able to sue the person liable?

Also they state "We will not pay more than our legal liability under compulsory motor insurance legislation for any claim" - we've tried to read through the RTA to determine their legal liability as insurers and it seems the Road Traffic Act states that any term in a policy which attempts to invalidate the TP cover in these circumstances has no effect?

Has anyone any personal experience of this or know how lawful the insurers claim against him actually is? It does not seem like fair judgement by the insurance company. Thanks.


TTC Group
There are other threads on here under the label of Admiral.
If you look in the top right had corner you will see a search function and put Admiral insurance into that.
That ill save rehashing lots of comments about this topic.

Under the terms of UK law, an insurance company can refuse to pay out for claims where a person was negligent, and this includes drink driving.
What they do is refuse to pay for your vehicle of injuries, but they are not allowed to pay out for third party costs. The law obliges them to pay out for third party costs under The Road Traffic Act but, as your friend has found out, some insurance companies point out that they reserve the right to claim these costs back afterwards. That is not incompatible with the RT Act.

The wording in the policy does not indicate that they will go after the person who was responsible for the damage, the wording of “Recover those costs from you or the driver of the car.” indicates that they will go after whichever is best able to pay!
The obvious person at fault is the ex girlfriend, as she caused the damage. She could argue that she did not sign any policy and did not agree to those terms. Your friend did sign the policy and therefore did agree to those terms.
Either way, the fairest way would be for the insurance company to make a claim against the driver. Does your friend know if they have done this? That could account for the delay... they have tried to recover their costs, accepted that she has no means to pay and have now turned their attention to you as the policy holder.
In the event that the insurance company were successful, you could then sue the driver to get your costs back as she caused your loss,.....

Look at this another waY. You take out holiday insurance,, you get drunk and jump off your balcony into the pool and damage your neck... the insurance covers injury but they would refuse to pay out because you were negligent and caused your own injuries by being reckless. In the case of cars on the road, the same principal applies, but the Road Traffic Act protects other road users by making it compulsory the Insurance must cover third party losses. BUT that does not mean that they cannot mitigate their losses by claiming what they paid out against the person who caused their loss or, as your friend is finding out, the person who actually took out the policy with that wording in it, and accepted that they and their drivers would be bound by it.
The 2 1/2 year delay is not a reason that the claim is invalid, they have 6 years to commence legal action after a loss.
All in all, you should seek legal advice on this. (But not from Citizens Advice Bureau, they have been shown to be clueless on this before)
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