How to Handle Problems with Car Insurance Companies
The truth about car insurance is that things do not always turn out the way you had planned. In these cases, it is important to look at the situation carefully and then file a complaint, if necessary.
You should never let an insurance company take advantage of you, but you also must learn to take the proper steps to ensure that your complaints are heard. If you believe that you have cause for complaint, make sure that you are aware of these steps before you begin.
Sending Your Complaint
Any complaint that you file will be with the Financial Ombudsman Service or FOS. You can file a complaint against a bank or other financial institution as well, as they handle all types of monetary complaints.
What the FOS will do is take a look at your claim and determine whether or not you have been treated unfairly through your car insurance company. If the FOS decides to rule in your favour, you will be reimbursed for any money that you have lost through this process.
Make sure that you have a case before you decide to file a complaint, as simply being dissatisfied with prices are anything like that is not reason enough to go through with this process.
If you wish to complain, there is a distinct process that you must follow in order to get the best results. Your first course of action should be to write to the car insurance company and let them know about your problem.
Make sure that you are very clear about this problem and then wait for a response from the company. If you are not satisfied with the response that you receive from the car insurance company, write to them again and explain the situation in a different manner.
Ask them if they will reconsider their previous statement regarding the dispute to see if you can come to an agreement. Let them know that you will show an Ombudsman the results of these conversations if you cannot come to an agreement.
If the car insurance company still refuses to address your complaint, you can contact the FOS through a complaint form. The FOS website has these complaint forms and they do not take too long to fill out. Every claim that goes through the FOS is dealt with individually, so it does take some time for the entire process to be completed.
You will find, however, that there are many common disputes that the FOS will have dealt with countless times in the past and these claims will usually go through very quickly, one way or the other.
An example of a case that you might win from your car insurance company is if your car is stolen, but while the company agrees about the car being stolen, there is a disagreement about the contents of the car and what the car insurance should cover.
If you have added a number of different items to the interior of your cars, such as an MP3 player, a GPS system, and a hand’s free device, your car insurance company might argue that those items are modifications, rather than additions, which must be reported to the company.
In some cases, the insurance company might even attempt to void the entire policy, since those additions were not reported.
In the insurance papers that come with your policy, you will find a list of things that will be considered modifications. As long as electronic items that are found on the interior of the vehicle are not listed under these modifications, you will win this type of case over a car insurance company.
Most policies will state that things like engine work, body work, wheels, brakes, and suspension count as modifications while these other items would count as additions.
In this case, the FOS would likely acknowledge that perhaps these additions should have been reported to the insurance company, but since these stipulations were not present in the original agreement, the car insurance company will have to pay for the claim.
Just to be safe, however, you should report any additions that you make to your vehicle to avoid this type of situation.
A similar situation that you might lose when going through an FOS is if you get a bunch of work done after you have filed a claim, but do not receive an agreement from the insurance company first. For example, if you are in an accident and your car insurance company pays for the damage, but you later find that some of the damage were missed, make sure that you have the car inspected again before having these repairs made.
If you go ahead and have repairs done without permission, but then file a complaint with an FOS when the insurance company will not pay for the repairs, you will likely lose the appeal. Even if your repair shop tells you that these repairs will be covered, you should always get permission beforehand.
In the end, most of these disputes can be avoided if you simply report all alternations to your car insurance company before signing a new agreement.
Most of these companies simply want what is fair and will pay out your claim quickly and efficiently, as long as all of your paperwork is in order. Let the company know whenever you add something new to your vehicle and you can avoid many of the problems that people deal with every year.