My wife passed away and her car insurer told me they would transfer the policy - but never did.

My wife passed away recently and her car was insured in her name with me as named driver. I contacted the insurer, AA insurance, who told me they could transfer the policy over to me until renewal when I would have to apply for a new policy. They sent me a new Statement of Insurance and Certificate in the name of "Executors" my late wife, valid until January 29th 2018 at the same annual premium.

Two weeks later I received a letter from AA insurance saying that the insurer would only continue cover until 28th September 2017 after which the policy would be cancelled and a pro rata refund would be issued upon closure. I would be receiving new policy documents within 5 – 7 days. I queried this by email and they confirmed it was the underwriters' policy but that there would be no administration fees charged for cancellation under these circumstances.

I never received the new documents and returned the insurance certificate on 20th September having made alternative arrangements. I have now received a refund cheque for £45.39. An email questioning the refund amount went unanswered. The annual premium paid for the policy was £202.09 and was over four months from expiry. I therefore believe that I am paying a financial penalty for their underwriters’ decision to breach our contract.

I know it’s not a lot in monetary terms but it is a matter of principle and I would welcome advice on whether and how I should pursue the extra refund.

Asked on 6 October 2017 by Ian Donald

Answered by Tim Kelly
Hi Ian, Firstly, accept our condolences, we are sorry for your loss.

From a legal stance, the contract of insurance was in your wife's name and she was the legal entity within the contract. When your wife passed away so did the right to contract. It would appear the first person made an error in the advice given as you had no lawful right to continue the contract. In this situation, the policy ended when your wife passed away, and the insurer should reimburse premiums from the point the contract was no longer enforceable. If the annual premium was £202.90 then that would be £16.90 per month, the insurer should have re-imbursed at least £67.63, .

For what it is worth, it would cost more in time to pursue than what it is worth. If it is a point in principle, raise a complaint with them advising of the above and then escalate to the Financial Ombudsman Service.
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