Hold the phone: a simple query can increase your insurance premiums
There are loads of reasons why you might want to call your insurer – because you’re VERY lonely and you want to speak to nodding bulldog with the voice of Vic Reeves, because you want to know what your cover includes, or because you’re thinking of making a claim and wondering whether it’s worth it.
But STOP. Phoning that little red phone on wheels, or that call centre staffed by a caring sharing lady who ‘understands’ when you’ve been burgled, could cause your premiums to rise in the future – even if you simply contact them with a query.
Some people have been finding that if they’ve already called their existing insurer to enquire about making a claim, that call is logged and can affect the cost of future policies. One woman found that on a price comparison website, the cost of a different policy shot up from £213 to £425.50 when it was revealed she’d contacted her original insurer - Esure - twice about possible claims that were then settled for less than the excess. Any ‘incident’ is included on a database used by the Claims and Underwriting Exchange, and could count against you.
Adrian Webb, spokesman for Esure, said that it’s relatively rare that future premiums can be affected, but acknowledged that it can happen: ‘Unfortunately, incident records are not like a credit record that can be corrected,’ says Webb, ‘and insurers take a broad brush approach. They have to, because they cannot justify the cost of going into detail over the personal histories of every applicant.’
So don’t be too eager to pick up the phone to your insurer until you work out how much the cost will be to replace your pipes/fix your wet patch/get a new sink. The ghost of Michael Winner could be watching your every move...