For absurd reasons that we’ll place on the same shelf as “Why are the Kardashians famous,” Malaysians are besotted with new car models crashing. Case in point, an accident you would’ve heard of over the weekend of a sales advisor (SA) crashing a brand-new Proton X50 while driving it to the new owner; leaving the car a totaled.
If you haven’t, here’s a little recap of the unfortunate episode before we delve into the follow-up action after a wretched occurrence such as this.
Most of the details are from a Facebook page of former Proton SA Puteri Sajeda Hussein; one of three parties involved.
Here’s the alleged timeline of events:
- about four months ago, a customer in Johor Bahru ordered a new X50 from Puteri, who at the time was attached to a Proton dealership in Ampang
- in the four months between the order and the X50 being ready, Puteri had tendered her resignation from said dealership
- still, Puteri took on the responsibility of handing over the X50 to the customer in JB. The Ampang dealership’s manager assigned an active SA to drive the car as Puteri wasn’t officially an employee anymore
- Puteri and the active SA; Azmi Irawan, agreed to convoy to JB from Ampang with Puteri driving Azmi’s car and him in the X50 on 6 March 2021.
- for reasons unbeknownst, Azmi left for JB in the X50 earlier. When contacted, he told Puteri he’ll meet her at the designated meet-up point in Johor.
- when Puteri arrived in JB that night, Azmi; and more importantly, the X50, were nowhere in sight. Azmi said he was still at Segamat; quite a distance from JB. Then he went silent.
- after numerous calls and texts went unanswered, Puteri and the customer got news that the X50 was involved in a massive crash that saw it roll over into a ditch off the highway
- the X50 was declared a total loss at the scene but the five-star Asean NCAP rating kept Azmi alive
- a police report regarding the accident was then lodged by Azmi. Puteri and the customer were horrified to learn the X50 was being driven about 180kph when the crash happened
- details are scarce and the true story may never be revealed as this is a literal case of “he said, she said”
What happens next?
Now that we’ve recapped the tragic tale, the million dollar question needs to be addressed; that being is there an insurance payout for the customer's totaled brand-new X50 that she didn’t even lay eyes on?
It’s quite a grey area this one and to gain some clarity, we spoke to an insurance adjuster about the possible scenarios following the accident. Sadly, almost all outcomes appear bleak for the owner.
Since the detariffication of insurance in Malaysia, insurers gained more freedom in setting policies and premiums. However, one thing that should be noted is that almost all policies (we say almost all as we can’t be certain) will require that policy holders declare all the drivers to be covered by the policy.
This means that anyone potentially driving the car such as the spouse, children or housemates will need to be named in the policy. As per Ringgit Plus:
Does my car insurance pay if someone else is driving my car?
Insurance companies require that policy holders declare all drivers that are covered. This could be individual persons and/or everyone in your household. Technically, there is no insurance coverage for someone driving your car, who is not listed and therefore covered - very dangerous and very expensive!
Every vehicle insurance policy allows two additional drivers to be included in the coverage for free. There’s also the Additional Named Driver add-on feature that see’s slots for an additional four drivers at a fee of RM10 per name. That’s six drivers for an extra RM40 that can be covered by the policy.
Seeing that the SA likely wasn’t in this list, an insurance payout for the totaled X50 seems unlikely. Furthermore, the insurer will obviously be very keen to explore the claims of driving approximately 180kph. Dangerous or reckless driving resulting in an accident can also nullify and void insurance claims.
Hence, that’s already strike two for any hopes of making a claim. First being the undeclared driver and the second being excessive speeding.
Does all this spell doom and gloom for the owner here? Seeing that a payout would be unlikely and the likelihood of the loan to be serviced, what are the options here?
Well, according to the insurance adjuster we spoke to, this incident isn’t quite as uncommon as you would’ve imagined. Nonetheless, the severity of the damage is. New vehicles being transported to their owners by SAs do occasionally experience a brush or more with other surfaces.
Usually, the SA themselves or the dealership will cover the damage and absorb the cost. However, seeing the X50 is totaled, the sum involved makes this unlikely as well.
Some possible outcomes meted by the insurance adjuster includes the possibility that Proton itself may step in and come to an amicable solution. This may include replacing the X50 or meting out a settlement sum.
However, this is entirely on a goodwill basis and is not mandated by any parties whatsoever. Seeing that the SA was representing the brand, this is one possibility to retain a customer and score some brownie points with the public.
According to the insurance adjuster, premium brands have stepped in before in similar situations, so it remains a possibility; albeit unlikely.
Another option is the legal route. Simply put, the customer can engage a lawyer and go to town suing the dealership and any other party the lawyer feels shares responsibility. It goes without saying this will get ugly for all parties; Proton included. Hence, Proton itself stepping in to alleviate the situation might seem like the logical choice.
The lesson to be learnt here is what most carmakers recommend when purchasing a vehicle from their dealerships; always do the deed from the dealership closest to your home. In the unlikely situation that the vehicle needs to be transported some distance, get a flatbed carrier.
Better safe than sorry, so the additional cost of professionally transporting the vehicle is well worth it in avoiding an incident such as this.