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JimLawyer, Solicitor
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UK solicitor please. In June 2020 my car set on fire infront

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UK solicitor please.
Hi
In June 2020 my car set on fire infront of my property. The insurance claim settled by my insurance and I filed claim for GAP insurance which passed to Carco.co.uk for investigation.
1-They are investigating the case since Aug2020
2- I have always helped them with the enquiries
3- at the time of incident I was not in the town(I live in south). As I go to see my son over the weekends(in Windsor) and sometimes I stay with him over thenight
4- I had to buy a door from B&Q to take to our property in London and install that therefore I took our estate car which I could fold seats to fit the door in the car (it wouldnt fit in my saloon car which was set on fire)
5- I had a GAP claim in 2015 when thrid party came from side road and drove into near side of my wife's car. we were driving in main road.
6- up until recently the Carco.co.uk were telling me that they are looking to validate my claim shortly however I spoke to them yesterday and they said, I am the only person who benefit from this claim and:
a: they have concern about previous GAP claim
b: they have concern about my not being at home on that night
c: they have concern that I used the other car
d: they have concern that my brother in law was there on that night
and they want to interview everyone again
They will get details of previous GAP claim from insurance company, the case of arsoning my car was a simple and straight forward case which took them about 8 months sofar to investigate and I have helped them in every enquiries to accelerate that and still they havent completed that. If they go into investigating previous GAP claim that will open a whole new case and apart from me no one else is willing to help them including the person who drove into my car, people who were involved,.... and you can imagine while this is a good source of income for Carco, it will delay my case by another few months/year.
my questions are:
1- while previous GAP claim was also totally genuine, Do I have to help them in their investigation in previous GAP claim?
2- Can they invalidate a claim because reasons mentioned above?(b,c,d)thanks
Hello,

I've been working hard to find a Professional to assist you with your question, but sometimes finding the right Professional can take a little longer than expected.

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Thank you!

Hello, this is Jim and welcome to JustAnswer. I will be the lawyer working with you today.
Sorry to hear of the issue. I will set out my written answer shortly. It is normal for an insurer to investigate a claim, especially if you have had a previous claim.

Insurers do try to find a way to get out of paying a claim if they have concerns. Fraud is the main issue for them, or non-declaration of a material fact - as insurance contracts are contracts of the "utmost good faith".

They can invalidate a claim if you were in breach of the terms in the contract, e.g. you didn't declare something, or they have evidence of fraud. You do need to co-operate with them - this will be a term in the contract that you need to co-operate with them.

You are at their mercy in effect. You cannot speed up their investigation but there is an Insurance Ombudsman to help if they drag this out. You would first have to make a complaint to the insurer first of all.

You are covered under the Consumer Rights Act 2015 here which means you have a right to expect a service (from the insurer) carried out with reasonable care and skill. Furthermore, the policy should be “fit for purpose” and “as described”. If it isn’t then you can allege breach of your consumer rights and breach of contract.

You should now make a formal complaint and if that does not resolve the matter ask them for a "deadlock letter", which is a letter giving their final response. Their complaints procedure will be available on their website.

Once you have the deadlock letter the next step would be to escalate this to the Ombudsman - they will investigate and liaise with the insurer which would hopefully result in a reinstatement of cover under the policy. They can order the insurer to make a financial award for inconvenience if they have acted poorly or unnecessarily prolonged the investigation.

Once you have the insurer's final response, you can make the complaint to the Ombudsman here : www.financial-ombudsman.org.uk/consumers/how-to-complain

Or by email:***@******.***

Based on the circumstances, assuming the insurer does not uphold your complaint, I am sure the Ombudsman will do. The Ombudsman will look at this case independently and will make a decision based on what happened. Their decision is binding on the insurer. If the Ombudsman did not find in your favour, therefore, you then have the option of suing the insurer for breach of your consumer rights and you have up to 6 years to bring a claim to the court (the limitation period is 6 years from your date of loss, to when you need to issue a claim).

I hope this helps and answers the question - my goal is to ensure you are happy with the answer and have the information you need. If you have any follow up questions then please let me know. I will reply as soon as I can to help with any further queries.

Many thanks,
Jim

Please let me know if the answer helped or if you need me to cover anything else?. I am happy to clarify the answer or if you have any follow up questions. If so, I’d be grateful if you would let me know. I am free most days, including weekends, so feel free to ask me anything you are unsure of.

Best wishes,

Jim

Customer: replied 4 days ago.
Thanks for your reply, as always very precise and detailed.
I have always been helping them willingly and may be tooooo willingly so every piece of given information caused delay in their investigation, for example, Although the car was arsoned infront of our home at midnight, on the same day my wife used the car to go to londong to pickup her brother on the way to Gosport they stopped for few minutes, I showed them the mobile app which clearly shows last journey was 28 miles, (from their stop point to Gosport) and they are asking me to go back on the road and findout exactly where they stopped and give them the location. would that in anyway changing the fact that someone has arsoned the car?
I have never been dishonest and helped them with their investigation but speaking to CarCo investigator, I can feel the negative attitude and lots of heat. they dont have anything to prove I have given incorrect information, but they say have concern about almost everything as I am the only person who benefit from this claim.
I have made a complaint to them 2 months after their investigation as nothing was moving, and they given me final response, before the 6 months expire, I was liaising with Carco and they said they will validate the claim shortly, in 2 weeks, end of the week, early next week, and soon as my 6 months expired they want to open investigation to previous GAP claim.
I contacted FinancialOmbudsment to ask if these emails which eventually made me thinking this is towards the end, could be an exception for being 10-14 days late?(beyond 6months) and they said that it is not and also insurance investigation is not a regulated activity and can last as long as they want.
If I want to go back to insurance company and complain, I need to complain about somethingelse and not the delay in investigation.
below is the email that I sent them when I complained about delay, can you please advise if there is anything else I can complaint about? which could give me another 6months to go to ombudsment service?Dear CarCareplan
I am absolutely disappointed with the level of care and support I received from yourself and underwriters.
I have had few emails asking questions on behalf of your underwriters every few days. I have been told the claim has been sent to supervisors to authorize then I found out that it was referred to Crawco earlier in Sept,
couple of weeks after I got an email from Crawco saying they instructed someone else to deal with statement.
after 10 days I even didnt have a call from those people never mind completing the statement.
From the begining I have always been available to provide information and have had no problem in helping you in your investigation however I feel there is too much of delay and deliberate postponements which prevents claim to flow smoothly.As I dont feel my claim is dealt with properly and fair therefore please help me with your complaint process/procedure including raising my concerns to financial ombudsmen service.Regards

I don't think there is anything else to complaint about apart from the delays and the Ombudsman is right about the fact the insurer can take as long as they want (unfortunately). You could use a law firm who specialises in insurance litigation if you get nowhere with this - I have details of firms if you need them.
I am about to log off until tomorrow morning, if you have any follow up questions I will pick them up then, many thanks

Customer: replied 4 days ago.
I think I am more concern about outcome rather than delay.
Can they or would they invalidate my claim based on just -as he said- having concern? or does it need to be beyond reasonable doubt?
I say this because they dont have anything to prove it wasnt a genuine accident and everything they say is CONCERN rather than PROOF
thanks

They need to justify their concern otherwise the Ombudsman will side with you as it'd be unfair to deny a claim due to a "concern" with no real substance to say why. No, not beyond reasonable doubt as that's a criminal standard - it'd be "on the balance of probabilities" or "more likely than not".

JimLawyer, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 13526
Experience: Senior Associate Solicitor
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Customer: replied 16 hours ago.
I have given them a copy of video footage of the crime.
as it has happened around midnight the visibility is not so good.
They have asked experts to analyze the video and they concluded that thedoor was unlocked and the window was left open.
This is absolutely incorrect as I have another video footage which clearly shows my wife came out of car and locked the car and windows been up. the video has time stamp and is continous to the time of incident.
I think they have already made their mind, they had the case for 8 months and delayed that until COPART destroyed the salvage. They had the video footage from day1 and could easily obtain the key and read the key which could say car was locked however they delayed until there is no key to read.
here is my question,
If I send the video footage now, they possibly find another way to invalidate my claim.
I want to say nothing and let them finish their investigation until I go to Ombudsmen service. I show the video to them and prove that they report after 8-9 months of investigation is faulty and inaccurate.
I have never had any experience dealing with Ombudsmen service, What is the best way to win the case?

The Ombudsman simply weights up the evidence and the insurer's decision (and how it arrived at that decision). So you cannot win the case so to speak, as it's entirely up to the Ombudsman. If the Ombudsman didn't uphold your complaint then you would have to sue the insurer for breach of the Consumer Rights Act 2015 as I mentioned before. Your claim would be based on the policy not being fit for purpose / not being as described. The Ombudsman may uphold your complaint though, given the facts. You do need to wait for their response before you consider court action through.

Customer: replied 16 hours ago.
Would I be able to provide more evidences(like extra video footage) and explanation when I go to Ombudsman? or do they only look at what is currently on file?

You can provide further evidence, yes, as they will want to ensure the insurer's decision was valid and reasonable. So yes, you should provide further evidence if you have it.

Customer: replied 16 hours ago.
One last bit, you mentioned before that insurance is based on trust. while I am helping them in their investigation, if I dont give them video footage that shows the car was locked at this stage, do they see this as being dishonest?or withholding information? obviously I dont mislead them
you are one of few who properly read questions and your answers are always detailed. thank you very much for providing such a great service

It would give them more reason to refuse the claim if you withhold evidence. Bear in mind if you had to pursue court action the court would insist you disclose the footage to them.
My pleasure and thanks for the feedback, it can be difficult to know if someone is happy with the answer with it all being in type - so thank you.