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Classic Car Insurance - Major Hassle!

Can anyone suggest a course of action with the following problem that I have.

I currently own a number of cars, one of which is an old Mercedes insured on a 'classic car' policy (i.e. limited mileage, agreed value, doesn't accumulate any NCB). I have had the policy a number of years with the same specialist broker.

Anyway, I now want to 'trade up' to a different classic car. I rang the broker for a quote - which was acceptable. I then asked for the new classic car to be ADDED to my current policy (subject to an extra premium) so that both cars would be insured until the policy comes up for renewal in May. I would then claim a refund if/when I sold the older car in a month or two's time. The broker agreed this and took a credit card payment for the additional amount.

Anyway, this morning I rang the broker because there was an error on the cover note for the new car. Chatting to the girl on the 'phone and she informs me that they have *transferred* the policy and my older car is no longer covered! I explained the situation, but she wouldn't have it and told me that a transfer had been done. When I argued she said that I 'must have implied' that I wanted the policy transferred, and that the situation is irreversable.

This is bad news because I cannot now driver the old Merc to the MoT station, nor give test drives to potential purchasers. I don't want to take out a new seperate short-term policy because of the cost.

Apparently this broker does not record calls so there is no record of what was said. All in all I am very angry about the situation and their 'tough luck' attitude. No wonder insurers have such a bad image!

Comments

Cliff Pope    on 12 February 2005

If they have taken the additional credit card payment for the cost of covering two cars, doesn't that imply that they intended to cover two cars?
Classic policies I know will cover any number of cars in a collection, subject to an overall mileage limit. This is presumably on the assumption that you will only be driving one at a time. Not much help in your situation I know, if your policy is not one of these.
You presumably have ordinary insurance on another car - that is usually a condition of classic insurance. It doesn't cost much to get short term cover on another car - ie the classic, so you could get it MOTed. I suppose a prospective purchaser would be covered to drive it under his own insurance, although I see that might be risky.

Hugo {P}    on 12 February 2005

You need to escalate this through the company.

These call centres encourage their call handlers to "solve" the problem in the best interests of the company, not you. They are partly appraised on the number of issues they resolve without referring to a higher authority. This breeds a very horrid level of arrogance in some, who think they know what they are doing and will do their level best to avoid allowing you to simply escalate the matter in a way which is within your rights as a consumer.

I have had all sorts of experience of this type of behaviour, the most extreme when trying to resolve a complaint with a large electrical retailer was actually being cut off by the operator, who's name I had already taken. I simply phoned straight back ans asked to be put through to the Director's office, whereupon I spoke to a member of his own team who resolved that issue to my satisfaction.

I suggest you take a similar course of action and actually speak to a senior manager within that company. They are the ones that have the authority to put things right. If you're patient with them and talk them through the situation in a chronological way you'll get results.

Hugo

Aprilia    on 12 February 2005

If they have taken the additional credit card payment for the
cost of covering two cars, doesn't that imply that they intended
to cover two cars?


That's what I thought. But the girl on the 'phone told me that extra was only to change cars - not to cover the new one as an *addition*. I've done the maths on the extra they've charged and it comes out higher than it should do for *just* the new car.
They have clearly got it wrong - but getting them to admit it and sort it out will be another matter!
Classic policies I know will cover any number of cars in
a collection, subject to an overall mileage limit. This is
presumably on the assumption that you will only be driving one
at a time. Not much help in your situation I know,
if your policy is not one of these.
You presumably have ordinary insurance on another car - that is
usually a condition of classic insurance. It doesn't cost much to
get short term cover on another car - ie the classic,
so you could get it MOTed.


True maybe - but I've already paid this company for the cover.

frostbite    on 12 February 2005

Is it possible at some stage to bypass the broker and see if you can find someone helpful at the insurance company?

Pugugly {P}    on 12 February 2005

Is it a specialist broker or one of the big ones ? If its an old fashined one surely you can speak to one of the bosses there and get it "sorted".

Avant    on 13 February 2005

If a broker is using a call centre they're much too big to be any use to a customer - you might as well deal directly with an insurance company, which you expect to be big.

Better to go to a high street independent broker who will genuinely do their best for you. I've used Sheraton Insurance Brokers of Wickham, Hants (01329 833250) for many years and they would never do anything like that. I was particularly glad that when I reached 50 they could still undercut SAGA (Send All Grannies Away) for my car insurance. I wasn't too keen on insuring with SAGA, purely for reasons of vanity!

Cliff Pope    on 13 February 2005


I wasn't too
keen on insuring with SAGA, purely for reasons of vanity!


I'd put up with the SAGA stigma if they were cheaper, but I have found other companies able to undercut them on everything - car, house, contents, holiday.

El Hacko    on 13 February 2005

agree with that - asked to be removed from Saga's mailing list 5 years ago ... they were always expensive for all categories of cover

Aprilia    on 13 February 2005

They are actually a specialist broker.

I did ask to speak to 'someone senior', but was told (very abruptly) that no one was available.

I am very annoyed about this matter because I have used these brokers for a number of years and have been a good customer. Just paid up on time and never made a claim.

I have drafted a letter and will send it by Recorded Delivery tomorrow. Needless to say I won't be staying with them when the policy comes up for renewal at the end of May.

martint123    on 13 February 2005

Now that the insurance industry is regulated by the FSA (have you seen th enumber of new forms and 'key features') suggest to them that you may take up the issue with the FSA ombudsman.
ISTR that one of the new rules is that they must have a proper complaints procedure.

Pugugly {P}    on 13 February 2005

I would phone again and ask for someone senior, make an appointment if necessary. Sounds like a clerking error to me. We used to do insurance brokering in the 80s. 99% of stuff could be left to our capable staff, they were reluctant to refer the 1% updwards as it seemed to be an admission of faliure...

nick    on 13 February 2005

Although it doesn't help you with this problem, I can recommend Footman James (hope it's not them!). I've had no problems adding and removing vehicles from my unlimited mileage policy. The extra premium of a vehicle over 20 yrs old and worth a few thousand is under £20 for me. I've currently 2 Morris Minors, unlimited mileage, breakdown cover, agreed value, premium under £90. It cost only £15 to add a Rover 3500S.
The rules may be different for more valuable cars, which I assume the Mercedes is.
I claimed once a few years ago, wife driving, not her fault, and the claims process was smooth and problem-free. Even got the excess back through the uninsured loss cover.

Ex-Moderator    on 13 February 2005

It seems like you've had most of it answered, but on the off-chance...

Find out the price for your new & old cars for 1 year. The additional premium will be calculated as;

current premium for new car - current premium for old car = difference

pro rata difference for amount of year remaining

plus brokers admin charge.


You should then be able to work out what he's charging you for.

It is a fact that most insurers will not accept an additional vehicle and insist on a new 12 month policy for one of the vehicles. These days many of them will not even accept a substantial overlap.

You may find that you have been charged a SOV charge but been thumped on the admin charge as opposed to an additional vehicle charge.

Who is the insurance company (not the broker) ?

And change your broker to a decent one forthwith, tell him you're doing so and why.

Also it is your right to tell your insurance company that you are transferring all your existing policies to a new agent if you prefer not to wait for renewal or prefer not to cancel/replace your existing policies.

>>Apparently this broker does not .........'tough luck' attitude....... No wonder insurers have such a bad image!

Brokers and insurers are different people/companies.

Finally, imagine if you had found this out after you had wrapped the uninsured vehicle around a bus queue. Everything in writing, always.

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