Inadvertently leaving the ignition key in a motorcycle parked in a paid parking lot does not amount to negligence on the part of the owner, and he is eligible for insurance cover for the theft of such a vehicle, the Pune District Consumer Forum has ruled.

A Forum bench directed ICICI Lombard General Insurance Company and the owner of the parking lot at the famous Khandoba temple here to jointly refund the complainant, Prakash K Shinde, a sum of Rs. 31, 566, the declared value of the vehicle, and pay him an additional Rs. 5000 as compensation for deficiency in service.

Shinde submitted that he had parked his motorcycle, leaving the ignition key in place, in the paid parking lot of the temple, from where it was stolen. He lodged an FIR with the police and informed the insurance company about the theft over the telephone. Police filed a report saying investigations were pending as suspects could not be identified.

Subsequently, ICICI Lombard rejected Shinde’s insurance claim, contending that by leaving the key in the motorcycle, the complainant had violated one of the conditions of the policy requiring him to take all reasonable steps to safeguard the vehicle from loss or damage.

The Forum Bench, however, felt that even if the key had been left in the vehicle, Shinde had parked it in a paid parking lot, in the custody of the lot owner, and therefore he could not be said to have acted negligently. “As such, the complainant cannot be said to have violated the terms and condition of insurance policy,” the Bench observed.


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