Must I always disclose my error?
Some years ago I decided to renew my car insurance online with One Call Insurance Services, a broker. I thought I had succeeded in reinsuring my car at a very reasonable cost of £452.
I then went on holiday, very pleased with myself.
On my return I received a letter stating that I had given incorrect information. Unfortunately I had ticked a box saying I had not been at fault in an accident, thinking this question applied to the third party.
I immediately telephoned One Call Insurance Services and tried to explain that anything I had done wrong had been unintentional, but I had no luck. I then received another letter voiding the policy and stating: “You must disclose this to any future insurer.”
Subsequently I telephoned One Call again. It offered to insure me with a different insurer at a vastly inflated price. I panicked and accepted. My daughter-inlaw instantly cancelled this insurance and found me cover elsewhere at a much more reasonable price.
Do I have to disclose this information to any future insurer for the rest of my life? This would mean this small error will always impede me from getting a more reasonable premium.
Is there any way you can disentangle me from this situation, please? TM, MIDDLESEX
Inadvertently you had misinterpreted a question on a comparison site about who had caused a minor accident and ticked the wrong box so it appeared you had not been to blame.
In fact a third party had claimed £1,468 for repairs to their car when, although you had been at fault, no damage had been caused to yours. The insurer with whom the policy had been placed does not accept cover for any drivers with fault or pending claims occurring within the past three years as part of its criteria. Had this been disclosed, the first insurer would never have quoted.
The letter you had from One Call advised you that your policy had been voided from inception on the grounds of nondisclosure of material facts. It added that you must disclose this to any future insurer.
The alternative cover One Call offered cost £2,251, which included additional products. Luckily you escaped that one, but the disclosure requirement remained like an albatross around your neck and has adversely affected your premiums ever since.
Time moves on though and, as a result of changes that have come in, the system has become more lenient. Now, One Call explains, if a misrepresentation such as this was made and it meant cover was provided that otherwise would not have been, your policy might not as a standard measure have been rendered void.
One Call says it has no record of your letter setting out the facts and indeed has not found the file. You have kept all the correspondence including a copy of the handwritten letter.
With my involvement, One Call is now revoking the void incident. You no longer have to mention it when applying for insurance. You have just renewed your cover with another insurer and your premium is lower than it would otherwise have been.
This is an example of how mistakes like this can spiral in their consequences when they come up against rigorous procedures.
As in any exam, this is a salient lesson to always read any question twice and think very carefully how you answer it.
brought in to ensure that those whose only income came from benefits, like me, cannot be charged any penalties. LM, BUCKS
You still have the Basic Current Account you started with in 2005, which does not allow borrowing.
No contactless card is provided, and no fees chargeable. That, therefore, should keep you out of trouble.
In 2009 you also opened a Santander Everyday Current Account. Santander said that, as a gesture of goodwill, it has on numerous occasions (almost always, it said) refunded unarranged overdraft fees on your account. So you have not, I understand, paid anything like the amount you refer to in your letter.
Recently you changed to a Choice current account. You pay a £10 monthly fee and are kept, where possible, out of an unarranged overdraft situation. Payments that would take the account beyond a zero balance or over an authorised overdraft limit are stopped. This reduces the chance of incurring unauthorised overdraft fees.
You thought that section 187 of the Social Security Administration Act 1992 meant that Santander was not able to debit charges from your benefits. This you also presumably had in mind for the monthly fee.
However Santander counters that, while the Act states that “every agreement to assign or charge such benefit shall be void”, the idea is to stop third parties from taking benefit payments as security for a debt by means of a charge over such payments.
This is not intended to relate to charges on benefit payments and does not refer to payments for services such as bank charges.
It seems you do not understand the situation. For example, with regard to the basic bank account, you are now asking for an overdraft facility of £500. This is not how the account works.
From subsequent correspondence I don’t think you will be letting this go, but I suspect Santander is losing sympathy with you.
Debt advice is available from the National Debtline on 0808 808 4000 and at nationaldebtline.org.uk. You have not provided a phone number, which has made your query all the more difficult to tackle.