Gardeners who use sit-on lawnmowers could be forced to buy motor insurance – even if their lawnmower never leaves their garden – should a European ruling set to take place next month get the green light.
Sit-on mower owners could have to take out insurance to cover against accidents on their own property, after a legal case involving a Slovenian man who was injured after being knocked off a ladder by a reversing tractor. Motor insurers refused to cover the claim, as it had taken place on private land. The European Court of Justice based in Luxembourg will rule on this case next month.
People have the right to expect to be able to cut the grass on private property without being clobbered for it.
Should Europe make insurance obligatory for sit-on mowers, owners could have to pay hefty premiums. Tim Price, rural affairs spokesman for insurer NFU Mutual told the Telegraph: “It would be likely to cost at least £100 extra a year to take out a separate motor policy, and that would be for a small mower.”
Transport secretary, Patrick McLoughlin however, has indicated that he will contest any new plans. A figure close to McLoughlin said: “People have the right to expect to be able to cut the grass on private property without being clobbered for it. We have home insurance in place for these kind of things and it works fine.
“Once we have seen the ruling we’ll take whatever action necessary to head off anything that hurts people’s personal finances.”
Under current laws those using sit-on mowers on their own land are normally covered against accidents by their home insurance policy. This isn’t the first lawnmower incident to come into the spotlight. Last year a worker on the Queen’s Sandringham Estate suffered life-threatening injuries after the sit-on mower he was using toppled on top of him, trapping him underwater for several minutes. He was airlifted to hospital in critical condition, but has since made a full recovery.
Picture: Fotolia – Evgeniya Moroz