Helpdesk December - Insurance quote not honoured

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Sarah's having insurance problems
Sarah's having insurance problems
Name Sarah Cain
Car Vauxhall Astra
Problem Insurance premium increased after quote accepted

Price comparison websites can be great places to shop for a keen deal on your car insurance – provided the insurance company stands by its quote.

Sarah Cain and her brother Michael used Moneysupermarket.com to find a low premium for their Vauxhall Astra. Having typed in the relevant details, the best quote was £967 with Bell Direct. Michael phoned Bell Direct to go over some details, and paid for the cover in full.

A few days later, Sarah and Michael received their insurance certificate in the post. ‘We double-checked the details, which were all correct,’ Sarah told What Car?. However, six days after the start of the policy, Sarah and Michael received an e-mail from Bell Direct. It read: ‘The policy has been re-rated in the name of Sarah Cain and also there is an additional premium of £251.’

Sarah and Michael were livid. ‘The insurance company had already been informed, both on the internet and over the phone, that I was the main user of the car and agreed that the car insurance cost £967,’ Sarah said. ‘Surely it’s not fair to increase the price of the insurance, because they have broken the original contract and all details are the same as supplied both over the phone and on Moneysupermarket.com?’

We agreed with Sarah that provided all the details Bell Direct required had been given honestly and accurately, it seemed unfair of them to change the premium.

We asked Bell Direct why the premium had risen. Had a mistake been made with the original quotation, or had the Cains left out information that the company needed to set the right premium?

After looking into the problem, Bell Direct told us: ‘We can see that Miss Cain and her brother entered the correct information on their online quote, but the Bell Direct handler she spoke to over the phone made an administrative error, which resulted in the additional premium. We’ve now changed this information back to the correct details and Miss Cain will not need to pay any additional premium. We have spoken to Miss Cain on the phone and have apologised for our mistake.’

Sarah was delighted that Bell Direct is standing by the original cost. ‘I feel this case would have gone no further without the help of What Car?,’ she said.

If this happens to you
1 After obtaining a quote from a price comparison site, confirm it with the insurance company.
2 Take screen grabs as a record of the details you give.
3 If you’re in dispute with an insurance company, consider a complaint to the Financial Ombudsman (www.financial-ombudsman.org.uk).

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