I was horrified to hear a story this week of a couple who have really ended up in a bit of a mess, having arranged their Home Insurance on one of the online comparison websites.
Whilst I’m sure (or at least I hope) there are lots of happy customers that use the comparison websites, this story worried me more than most, as I will explain.
When filling in the online form to get a quote, the client had answered ”Yes” to a question about whether the property had ever suffered flood damage in the past.
This was exactly the right thing to do, as anything like this must be declared and of course the customer must always answer truthfully.
Having seen the quotes that the quote engine spat out, the couple took out a policy and paid the premium. A few weeks later, a flood occurred and they tried to make a claim on their policy.
The insurance company refused to pay the claim, on the basis that the client answered ”No” to the flood question mentioned above, and having done a search of flood history in the area, it was apparent there had been.
The customer had answered the question truthfully, but they didn’t receive any paperwork to support this.
Faced with a £50,000 loss, the customers took the next step to refer the claim to the Financial Ombudsmen.
The couple are now left with a £50,000 loss and no insurance to help them.
Needless to say, a quality Insurance Broker can help you get the right cover with a quality insurance company, that is within reach of the Ombudsmen, should you ever need to escalate an issue that far.
Usually when I rant about buying Insurance policies online, the focus us on answering the questions correctly and disclosing all material facts, but in this case I am at a loss, because the customer did everything right – but has lost out.
Perhaps the biggest question here is, is it right for an online comparison website to offer products of an insurance company that is exempt from the powers of the Ombudsman?
Of course, as ever, these are just my own views and opinions – have you had a good experience with an online insurance policy? We’d love to hear about that, too.