Consumer wants compensation for inconvenience and delays in claim on car insurance

Motor Insurance Distress and inconvenience Up to £300

Farzana contacted us after facing multiple issues with her car insurer, and felt that she should get compensation for the distress caused and ongoing impact it would have.

What happened

Farzana contacted her insurer after her car was hit while parked and unattended, causing superficial damage. A witness had let Farzana know that her car had been hit after someone had pulled out of a driveway opposite. The witness knew the colour of the third party’s car but not the registration. A claim was raised and the insurer paid for the damage to repair her car. Whilst the claim was recorded against Farzana’s policy she stood to lose her no claims bonus and pay the excess. But the insurer said it would try and trace the third party involved in the incident to see if they would accept liability - to avoid Farzana having to pay the excess and to protect her no claims bonus.

Five months passed without hearing anything, so Farzana chased her insurer for an update on its efforts. It hadn’t heard back from the letter it had sent to the insurer of the other driver it suspected of being involved, but it also hadn’t sent any chasers. It apologised for the delay and promised to follow up on its investigation.

Another five months passed and when Farzana chased her insurer again it said it had forgotten to send a chaser to the suspected third party’s insurer. It wrote again, and this time her insurer made contact – but the other driver denied being involved in the incident.

Given the time that had elapsed, the witness also told Farzana they were no longer willing to be involved in the claim. The insurer apologised for the delay but didn’t do anything further.

Farzana asked us to consider compensation for the distress caused and ongoing impact this would have on her premiums – as she felt the delays had caused the case to collapse.

What we said

On the issue of liability, we asked the insurer to refer the matter to its legal team. The insurer came back and said its panel of solicitors likely wouldn’t have been able to demonstrate in court that the other driver was to blame – even if the witness was willing to testify. So we didn’t consider the insurer had acted unfairly in ultimately recording the claim against Farzana’s policy.

Though the claim would always have been recorded as a fault claim, we felt the matter could have been resolved many months sooner – and this had resulted in a greater loss of expectation for Farzana. Having to chase the insurer twice had also been inconvenient, and she was frustrated that the insurer hadn’t kept its promise to send a chaser letter when she’d called after the first delay period.

Given everything that’s happened we thought the insurer should pay Farzana £300 on top of the apology.