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How to dispute a car insurance claim

How to dispute a car insurance claim

If you’ve had a car insurance claim rejected and you want to dispute it, here’s what to do. Plus some tips on why claims get rejected, to help you avoid problems in the future. 

Daniel Hutson
From the Motor team
minute read
posted 16 JANUARY 2020

Problems with your car insurance provider

If you need to make an insurance claim, you’d like it to be processed with a minimum of fuss, so you can get on with your life.

But sometimes car insurance claim disputes arise, often when you’re expecting a pay-out but your provider says you aren’t covered. They might refuse to pay entirely, or offer you a smaller sum than you were expecting.

There could also be disputes about who’s at fault in an accident, especially if you and the other driver disagree on what happened.  

Fortunately, there’s a formal process which can help you if you need to dispute a claim.

The car insurance claim dispute process

  1. The first step should always be to check your policy documents, to see if there are exclusions. All policies vary, so don’t assume that something’s covered by your insurance because it was on a previous provider’s policy. 
  2. If your claim dismissal doesn’t explain why the claim was rejected, write to your insurance provider. Ask them for more detail on their decision and keep a hard copy of the letter/s, for your records. 

    Your letter should outline your claim circumstances, what you’d like your insurance provider to do, and when you expect them to reply. 
  3. If you’re unsatisfied with the explanation you’ve received, you can formally complain using the complaints process detailed on your insurance provider’s website, or in your insurance documents.  

  4. If you’ve tried the official complaints process and you’re still unhappy with the outcome, you can use the Financial Ombudsman Service. This is an impartial organisation which can investigate companies covered by the Financial Conduct Authority – including all insurance providers.

    After hearing your case, the Ombudsman may begin a formal investigation and their final decision is legally binding. 

Why do insurance claims get rejected?

There are a few reasons why insurance providers might refuse to pay, or to pay less than expected. These include:

  • Not disclosing information: If you haven’t told your provider about something that affects your chances of making an insurance claim - for example, a DVLA reportable medical condition or a past driving conviction - your insurance could be invalid.
  • Giving incorrect information: If you’ve given information that isn’t 100% true, your provider could refuse a claim. An example is insurance ‘fronting’, where a driver who might be considered a higher risk (such as a young driver, or someone who has a history of making claims on their car insurance, for example) insures their car in a more experienced person’s name – with themselves as a second driver. 

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