Was my in­surer ripped off?

The Daily Telegraph - Your Money - - FRONT PAGE -

I re­ported a mi­nor mo­tor­ing in­ci­dent “for in­for­ma­tion only” and was sub­se­quently ad­vised by my in­surer, LV=, that the other party’s in­sur­ance com­pany had no in­ter­est in mak­ing a claim.

It said it was clos­ing its file but that later in­volve­ment of a third party was a pos­si­bil­ity. This sub­se­quently oc­curred.

I hotly dis­pute that I am in any way cul­pa­ble. ME, CEN­TRAL ENG­LAND

You ex­plained that the ac­ci­dent oc­curred when the other car came around a cor­ner of the coun­try road at speed and tried to over­take you as, mov­ing slowly, you started to turn into a gate­way.

The other car did not stop im­me­di­ately but re­turned later.

You said you were sig­nalling, but ad­mit­ted that, al­though you had checked the mir­ror for traf­fic be­hind be­fore be­gin­ning to turn, you had not looked at the wing mir­ror or cov­ered the blind spot.

LV= con­sulted its ex­ter­nal lawyers and the case was agreed on a 70pc/30pc ba­sis with you be­ing as­sessed as the lesser cul­prit.

Your pas­sen­ger’s wit­ness ac­count was not ac­cepted as it was deemed that, as a friend, he would not be in­de­pen­dent.

You felt the in­surer had been bul­lied by an ac­ci­dent man­age­ment com­pany into pay­ing the full £3,648 cost of re­pairs to the other driver’s very high-spec car.

This was paid up­front to save on­go­ing losses, such as in­ter­est pay­ments, while LV= started to ne­go­ti­ate with the other in­surer for a split pay­ment.

You also felt it had paid too much based on a lo­cal car body­work spe­cial­ist who ad­vised you that the cost should not have ex­ceeded £350.

You have not claimed for your own car as the dam­age was min­i­mal.

LV= in­sisted it was “happy” that it han­dled your case cor­rectly. It said the cost of re­pair­ing “mod­ern pres­tige ve­hi­cles is in­creas­ing due to tech­nol­ogy, com­plex paints and the costs as­so­ci­ated with im­port­ing those parts”.

The in­surer said the costs in­curred were rea­son­able and were paid out to the re­pair firm to stop on­go­ing losses as a re­sult of you be­ing at least par­tially at fault.

I feel it was afraid the claims man­age­ment com­pany might ex­tend the claim in some way, such as some phys­i­cal or men­tal dam­age to the other driver.

You de­cided to take the mat­ter to the Fi­nan­cial Om­buds­man Ser­vice.

It said: “In­sur­ers are en­ti­tled to make a com­mer­cial de­ci­sion about whether it’s rea­son­able for them to con­test a claim or bet­ter for them to set­tle it.”

You had fur­ther reser­va­tions about the other party’s driv­ing. As LV= set­tled li­a­bil­ity on a “with­out prej­u­dice” ba­sis it re­mains open to you to pur­sue in court. This is some­thing you say you can­not af­ford to do.

I un­der­stand the in­ci­dent has been logged on your claims his­tory.

Your no-claims dis­count will be re­duced by 15pc for what the in­surer calls “a claim for which we are un­able to re­cover the cost in full”.

More than a year on, the split cost point still had not been re­solved. You re­main un­easy that LV= had paid out what seemed a dis­pro­por­tion­ate sum even though the amount and the split cost is­sue with the other in­surer wouldn’t af­fect you per­son­ally.

When all is said and done it seems a prag­matic ap­proach has been taken over this claim in what is some­times an un­just world.

Pru­den­tial and have not even had the cour­tesy of an ac­knowl­edge­ment.

It wor­ries me that the mighty Pru should have al­lowed its stan­dards to plum­met like this. PM, KENT

In fact it turns out that you had writ­ten to a very old ad­dress for Pru­den­tial that you will have taken from old pa­per­work.

Pru­den­tial said post had been redi­rected from that ad­dress for a num­ber of years but this stopped in March 2015.

Pru­den­tial said it could not trace your emails al­though it had tried to.

It said they should have been sent on to M&G, the part of Pru­den­tial that, fur­ther to my in­volve­ment,

was iden­ti­fied as where the in­vest­ment was.

You say M&G has been most help­ful since you have been in touch with it.

It looks as if you may not have re­alised that this in­vest­ment was the same prod­uct as one you are al­ready get­ting yearly state­ments for.

In fu­ture, try to avoid re­ly­ing on old ma­te­rial to source ad­dresses.

Now you know what hap­pened you feel bet­ter about things.

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