Man challenges insurer’s refusal to pay for €49k car

Shane McDonagh: Said 4x4 was burnt out by vandals.

A man is challenging an insurance company’s refusal to pay out or replace a BMW X5 worth €49,000 which he said was burnt out by vandals a few months after he bought it.

Self-employed lorry driver Shane McDonagh claimed in the High Court that the fire was started maliciously after he left the 4x4 parked at the entrance to a field when it broke down in a rural area of north Dublin.

He said Axa Insurance wrongly declined his claim over the fire on the Naul Road on Nov 27, 2008.

Axa said he failed to properly protect the vehicle in accordance with his policy, which also provided him with 24-hour rescue help.

He told the court he locked the 4x4 and got a taxi to his home in Belcamp Lane in Coolock, Dublin, intending to return and recover it the next morning.

However, after getting home, he received a phone call from gardaí to say the 4x4 had been destroyed.

Axa said the fire started inside the vehicle and there was no evidence of a break-in. It also claimed both of the vehicle registration plates had been removed and one of the plates was found by gardaí in a nearby field next to a latex glove.

Mr McDonagh told Mr Justice Michael White there had been problems with the vehicle before the fire and it had been for repairs at Denis Mahony Motors, Finglas, from where it was bought, for some nine days.

Eugene Gilligan, a retired Garda forensic examiner who inspected the vehicle on behalf of Axa, said he found no evidence to show a mechanical fault started the fire.

The hearing continues.


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