Accident on last year's policy - do I have to renew?
I'm hoping you can answer a quick question. My car insurance company are charging me for a full new year's insurance when my car was vandalised (now written off) during last year's policy. The incident happened on 24th December and they were unavailable to contact despite calling every day, until 28th December (the actual date the policy renewed) - I sent them an email to an address they left on their answer-phone message on 27th December which I copied myself into.
They then updated my policy ONE DAY before they wrote to say it would be a write off. increasing the cost of the policy on the car that no longer exists and claim I am liable to pay for the whole year's policy.
I previously asked if this would be the case IF the car would be written off when I spoke to them on 28th and was informed by two members of staff that I would not be liable to pay for the year's policy as the incident occurred during last year's policy, and it's not my fault I was unable to contact them sooner. They are now saying I was mis-informed.
Where do I stand legally?
Assumingly, they wrote to you on the 27th advising you it was a write-off, and then took a years premium on the 28th? What Category of write-off have they advised? You cannot re-insure Cat A or B, but you can insure C and D. (There are other Cats, but your car is most likely to fall into one of these.) There is also a question of 'salvage'. Did you tell them you wanted to keep the car? Without the answers to these three questions, I don't think any real response can be given.
The car was taken away from me on 28th, they increased anthe cost of my policy on 3rd Jan, and wrote the car off on the 4th so it's all really overlapping. I wrote to them on 27th to inform them of the incident as this was the first time I could contact them at all, there was no-one on their phones until 28th typically the day of the renewal.
Of course none of us knew at that point it would be a write off - but two of their staff informed me that if it was written off, because teh incident happened before my policy renewal the whole incident would come under that year's cover and that I wouldn't be expected to renew for this year.
It was a total loss write off according to them and they are paying me for the value of the car. The tricky bit is that if I had been able to notify them before the policy renewal then I'm 100% sure the renewal could have been stopped, but because of the seasonal closure they now say it that because I didn't inform them until I was on techinally on this year's policy, through no fault of my own, and because it renewed while it was under investigation I am now liable for the whole even though I don't have the car at all.
Incidentally because I was told they would be paying me the value of the car, and I was informed I wouldn't be liable for the year's insurance, I let them keep the car and it's too late to do anything about that. Had I known that I'd be liable for the insurance I would not have let them scrap the car so I now have no car and a lot of insurance to pay due to their mis-information...
Write to your insurers stating your case and making it absolutely clear you do not require another year’s insurance. They should write back settling the matter or state the you must have the policy. If they state the latter, you can now approach the financial services authority. http://www.fsa.gov.uk/ they will help you sort this out.
Any incident that occurs during the life of a policy is covered on that policy; renewal is not requred to keep the cover for that incident valid. The timing of the event was unfortunate, and it is reasonable to expect understanding on both sides. It is a bit late now, but could you not have sent an email to your insurers on the 24th December? That would have recorded a time and date, and you could have taken a print-out for your own records, especially as many companies have a 'no reply' response to acknowledge receipt of an email.
Hope it gets sorted satisfactorily.
I wrote to them on 27th and copied myself in - have just mailed them with my 14 day cooling off period right to cancel and a copy of the email confirming I contacted them on 27th so hopefully that will solve it! Fingers crossed!
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