Our insurer couldn't recover repair costs after a no fault accident - is it fair they've now increased our premium?

My wife’s car was struck by a metal object which came from an open lorry going in the opposite direction. The damage was estimated at £1600. We contacted the police but there was no CCTV coverage. Our insurer (Esure) stated that we would have to pay the £350 excess, and that our policy would increase as they're unable to recover their costs. Yet, they couldn’t tell us until four weeks before renewal what the increase would be. Will this affect her NCB even though they're protected? Also, if we insist on using our garage instead of one of their recommended garages, we would be charged an additional £200. My wife’s car is a Lexus IS300 with pearlescent finish and therefore needs a repairer who has experience to get the paint match right, that’s why we wish to use them. Are we getting a fair deal from Esure?

Asked on 15 February 2018 by Calvin Clark

Answered by Tim Kelly
You will always have to pay your excess, and your policy will increase if they cannot recover the cost. If the premium goes up, change insurer. If your bonus is protected, you are allowed to make two claims in any three year underwritten period before you lose any no claim bonus obtained. It should remain at full, if you have full. Your premium will go up because you have made a claim, not due to loss of no claims bonus. Any good repairer should be able to match the finish, but you have the right to choose whoever you wish.

Should Esure wish to increase your excess by £200, they will say that it's in your contract. This is not necessarily the case as - in my opinion - its an unfair term and condition in a contract, which was covered under the Unfair Contract Terms Act. This was superseded by the 2015 Consumer Rights Act. It may also be seen to be a breach of the 2002 Enterprise Act (section 8) on unfair commercial trading practices, and a breach of the FCA regulations under UNFCOG: www.handbook.fca.org.uk/handbook/UNFCOG/1/?view=ch...r

Complain to the Financial Ombudsman Service about this, advising you feel you've been mis-sold a policy of insurance as the terms and conditions cause financial detriment and lead to a significant imbalance within the contract. It costs the insurer £500 to go to the FOS, so I suggest everyone complains about these awful restrictive practices insurers are carrying out. Once they start realising it's costing them money, they might change their terms.
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