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JimLawyer
JimLawyer, Solicitor
Category: Law
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Experience:  Senior Associate Solicitor
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I'm seeking help regarding an issue with my car insurance

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Hello. I'm Ahmed and I'm seeking help regarding an issue with my car insurance provider.
JA: Where are you? It matters because laws vary by location.
Customer: Cambridge, UK
JA: What steps have you taken so far?
Customer: Nothing yet. This will be an initial consultation
JA: Is there anything else the Lawyer should know before I connect you? Rest assured that they'll be able to help you.
Customer: Summary of the background: I was involved in a car accident on the 4th of November 2021 (no-fault) and no other vehicle was involved. I hit a signpost that was on the road in a dark unnamed country road just before midnight. My vehicle tax expired on the 1st of November and I did not remember to renew it until a couple of days later. I paid the tax and my DVLA record shows that it is insured from the 1st of November.

Hello, this is Jim and welcome to JustAnswer.

Thank you for the question, I am reviewing the details now and I will aim to resolve it as quickly as possible for you.

Sorry to hear of the issue. I presume the insurer is refusing to provide cover given the car tax issue.

The policy terms and conditions are likely to say that cover is contingent on the car being roadworthy and taxed. So there could be an issue if the evidence is the car was untaxed on 4th November. You say that the record shows the car insured from 1st November which is fine - the issue is the lack of tax.

Given the dispute with the insurer, you can avail of the Financial Ombudsman Service dispute resolution scheme - which is much quicker than court action and free to use. You have to go through a complaints procedure first.

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. Details of how to make a compact will be on your insurer's website if you take a look.

When you do make the complaint, tell the insurer you plan to report them to the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) who regulates them. You can reach the FCA to report them on 0800(###) ###-####if you wish. It may speed matters up.

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.

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

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

The Ombudsman will look at this case independently and will make a decision based on what happened. Their decision is binding on the insurer.

This process would not require a lawyer either. If the Ombudsman did not see it your way, you could consider court action though a full assessment of the facts would need to be made by a lawyer ideally, before the court is involved.

I hope this answers the question. If you have any follow up questions then please do let me know.

Many thanks,
Jim

Just a final note that I am free most days and would be happy to assist with any other queries you may have.

Best wishes,

Jim

Customer: replied 8 days ago.
Thank you Jim. The insurer not just rejected my claim but also cancelled my policy with immediate effect. The policy wording does not actually say anything about vehicle tax that's why I'm seeking a legal advice. I explain myself better in the formal complaint I have just written. I will attach it as well as the policy wording and the cancellation letter they issued me
Customer: replied 8 days ago.
File attached (517451T)

Thanks, ***** ***** terms would say that - they seem to say that Section 5 of the terms and conditions mentions the tax issue. I have checked however and it does not actually mention tax, it reads:

  • being driven in an unroadworthy, unsafe or damaged condition or where the vehicle does not

    have a Department of Transport MOT if one is required by law, or

So it seems they are in breach of contract by not honouring the policy. I recommend you ask them for their final response letter and then ask the Ombudsman to help - it's the only way forwards at this stage. I am sure the Ombudsman will agree with you as in the letter they added in the word tax but it's not actually stated within their terms at section 5.

I would therefore agree with you and to pursue it. I would not pursue court action at this stage - the court will want to know you have obtained the Ombudsman's opinion first of all (which may resolve this and in any event is much quicker than court action).

Customer: replied 8 days ago.
Thank you so much Jim. Much appreciated. I will submit the complaint now

Yes, they have not accurately quoted their own terms and conditions and it looks to me that they have inserted the word "tax" in to section 5 - which was not the correct term at the time the policy was incepted. So I see no reason why they have refused cover - I also recommend you report them to the FCA on 0800(###) ###-####/p>

JimLawyer and other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 8 days ago.
I really appreciate your advice