OK I've just watched Watchdog (should be on BBC iPlayer I think).
They were looking at C.U.E., which is stands for the Claims and Underwriting Exchange ... it's a massive database shared/contributed to by insurance companies to prevent fraud. It includes details about home, vehicle and life insurance and ALL of your dealings with insurance companies.
The stories on Watchdog gave great examples of why we should be aware of the existence of CUE. For instance:
The story of the woman who rang her home insurance company to find out what the excess would be if she were to claim for the laptop she'd just broken by dropping it down the stairs. The insurance excess was higher than the cost of getting it repaired so she didn't claim. It was recorded on CUE as a "loss" and when she went to renew she tried to move to an alternative insurer and the issue of the laptop came up and her premium went up by £50.
The guy who insured his car through Budget. Two months into the policy Budget cancelled it because he hadn't notified them of 2 claims. He didn't know what they were talking about. Turned out that his previous insurers had notified Budget of a windscreen repair and once where he'd driven over a pothole and reported it but hadn't claimed. After discussing the matter, Budget agreed to continue the policy - but the cost went up from £442 to £900. Neither were "claims" and yet he's been penalised.
In both those cases the insurers have backed down and offered to "discuss" things with the people after Watchdog got involved
There was also the case of an 83yo woman whose garden wall collapsed following flooding. She had never claimed on anything ... but what she had done was ring in twice to ask questions about her insurance cover relating to the wall. Those were logged as "losses" and instead of paying up, the insurance company cancelled her insurance. As she's had insurance refused (i.e. cancelled) she now has to declare that and very few insurers will insure her (those that will charge a lot more than normal). Plus she had to use her life savings for the £23k cost of repairing the wall!!!!!
Another point to be aware of is that if you or anyone who lives with you has been declared bankrupt then it voids insurance unless you declare it and you'll be penalised with much higher quotes when you do.
I know that I've had a windscreen repair done ... but I've never declared it as a loss/claim because they say that when you have it done it "doesn't affect your no claims discount".
Many years ago I had a car nicked, and I had a real fight with the insurance company over the fact that I hadn't declared the theft of a motorbike about 2yrs previously because they'd asked me if I had any claims on my "car insurance" (plus bear in mind it was in two different countries!!). They said I should've known that they meant "vehicle insurance" Considering the policy covered my car and not my bike I argued that it was like including a claim on house insurance too ... eventually they backed down though.
Talk about "big brother" watching us ...
and a big warning to us all ... be very very careful what you say to insurance companies, even if you are just ringing them for a quote or some information. It is documented and can/will be used against you.
Anti-Theft Devices & Insurance related issues...
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