How to Contest a Refused
Car Insurance Claim
insurance claim contested can be a real punch to the guts.
It is bad enough to have suffered an accident or damage to
your vehicle without having some bureaucratically-minded
bean counter tell you that your claim is invalid even though
you filled in the proposal form honestly and accurately and
paid your premium.
Thankfully, suffering a refused claim does not mean that the
story has to end. There are several possible courses of
action that anyone can take when they are faced with this
distressing and demoralising situation.
First of all, though, before taking any other action, check
the reasons that the insurance company has given for
rejecting your claim. There is a chance that you might have
omitted something from the claim process, or filled in a
form incorrectly. Always ensure that all the details and
paperwork are properly completed, as many insurance
companies can be frustratingly inflexible when it comes to
You also need to make sure that the insurance company has
worded their documents clearly and precisely. Make a note of
the wording in the policy that you feel proves that you are
covered. You may well need this later to argue your case.
One driver, for example, had his car stolen after being on a
date with woman, who grabbed his car keys while he was in
the toilet. Although the insurer initially refused his
claim, they had to backtrack when it was clarified that the
burden of proving careless or reckless behaviour fell on
As long as you have taken reasonable care in answering all
questions to the best of your knowledge when you took out
the policy, you were driving within the criteria laid down
in your policy and your behaviour prior to the loss was not
criminal or negligent, then the rules in the UK state that a
company normally cannot reject your claim. If any of these
conditions were not met, however, things could get a little
It is important to
check that the insurer did not ask for information which
they claim that you should have provided voluntarily, as
this could be important in proving your case. If you
carefully check all the documents, though, and are still
unhappy that their reasons for refusing it are invalid, then
you need to contact the insurance company to make a formal
The best way of doing this is with a formal complaint letter
sent by recorded delivery. The letter needs to be correctly
dated, with all relevant personal details, policy numbers
and your address and telephone number included. Your reasons
for contesting the insurer's decision must be clearly
stated, as should a clear explanation of the situation which
led to the claim being made.
It is vital that this offers as much clarity and honesty as
possible, otherwise your complaint may be complicated. If
the complaint is still not resolved to your satisfaction,
then you need to contact the Financial Ombudsman Service.
Having an independent expert assess your claim is also
useful. The Citizens Advice Bureau can point you in right
direction, should your dispute reach this stage.
Anecdotal evidence suggests that many insurers are being
somewhat obstructive when it comes to settling many car
insurance claims. The Daily Telegraph reported a case where
an individual's BMW 5 Series went missing overnight from
their drive. Due to the owner not being able to find his
spare key, the insurer insisted that he was somehow involved
in the vehicle's disappearance.
Later, the motorist found the key stored away with his car's
documents. He then also had to prove that recent problems
with the vehicle's locking systems had been fixed. Finally,
his neighbour testified that he had heard the sound of a
powerful car being driven away in the night, which finally
persuaded the insurers that it had, indeed, been stolen.
This case shows just how important collecting and keeping
safe all relevant data is.
Finally, and perhaps
most importantly, be persistent. Many companies rely on the
fact that aggrieved clients often give up in the face of
blank refusals to negotiate but a dogged determination to
pursue every legal remedy can often work wonders. Remember
that fighting legal cases and spending staff time on fending
off claimants can be very expensive for them and bad
publicity if they were to lose a court case could be
disastrous. They are there to make money not to spend it on
lawyers so they may well cut their losses and settle even if
they feel your case is shaky.
Maureen Davey 2014 All Rights Reserved