Toy mini bus

ACCORDING to recent reports, the cost of insuring a car dropped this year. But before you put out the bunting and start celebrating, motor insurance is still at almost record levels.
I’m always being asked about motor insurance problems – from scooters to caravans as well as cars. Yet weirdly, people are often really reluctant to make a complaint about a claim that hasn’t been resolved to their satisfaction.

So just for the record, your insurer can’t punish you for complaining about a claim! Don’t be disheartened, it’s dead easy and loads of complaints get upheld – and there’s the free financial ombudsman too. Here’s a short guide to the main problems in my postbag:

1. Repairs. Resolver has so many complaints about garages we’ve got a separate category for them! Check your policy to see if your insurer gives you the cash for a repair or insists on arranging it through one of their mechanics or garages. If they authorise the garage, they’re responsible for problems with the repair. It pays to be realistic though. If your car is older, it may still have a rattle or a dicky cup holder. But if your vehicle comes out of the garage worse than when it went in, or the repairs are poor or don’t last, make a complaint.

2. Non-disclosure: A fixture on every insurance policy, disclosure is where you have to answer the insurer’s questions about everything from driving convictions to health issues. But if the questions they ask aren’t clear or fair, you’ve got a valid complaint.

3. Modifications: I could have done a separate column on car mods! If you change your vehicle in a way that could affect its value, you need to tell the insurer. But they need to make it clear to you what that might involve. Some mods are obvious, like souped-up engines or chrome finishes. But others, like roof racks, go faster stripes, even some stickers (if they advocate things people might not agree with) can have an impact. This is such a subjective subject that your insurer needs to be crystal clear about exclusions – or risk losing a claim.

4. Valuations. So most of us know that as soon as you drive the car off the forecourt, it’s lost value. But when it comes to a claim it’s not always black and white. Your insurer will use an industry guidebook (they’ll tell you the one) to assess the current value of your car. But if you want to dispute it, just do a bit of research of the same model, millage and age and put your case.

5. Renewals. Cheeky insurers always sneak your price up at renewal. You may have heard recently that the industry has not only had to admit to these dodgy practices but in some cases, they’ve been forced to refund people when it was clear there were no grounds for the price hikes. If you think you’ve been a victim, check online to see if they’ve been offering much lower prices to other customers. If they have, make a claim.

6. No claims. The no claims bonus is an industry-wide scheme to save you cash. However, the ‘bonus’ is the source of much teeth gnashing over reductions, transfers to new insurers and other disputes about how fairly the bonus is applied. Even if you mention a claimable incident that’s not your fault, you can lose it. However, some insurers are breaking ranks on this, so shop around!

So if you feel your insurer hasn’t treated you fairly, don’t put up with it – get it sorted!

Don’t suffer in silence if you’re unhappy with your insurer! Get it sorted with McGrady Insurance


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