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Insurance cancellation

dave559
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Insurance cancellation

#232876

Postby dave559 » June 30th, 2019, 11:07 am

(Apologies if this is not quite the right board, but there isn't one for insurance, so I'm just treating it as an extension of everyday banking)

I am changing my home insurance policy, and having been sent a reminder to renew, I have now cancelled the direct debit in advance of the policy expiry date. I have now received a snotty letter from the insurance company demanding that I phone them "to avoid unnecessary premiums being charged to your account".

As I have not taken any step to actively renew my policy, and as I have clearly cancelled my payment arrangement, surely the logical conclusion is that I have not taken them up on their invitation to renew, and therefore have indeed cancelled.

Is the insurance company just being awkward and trying to phish me into phoning them to try to give me a hard sell so as not to change (too late!)? Can I safely ignore the letter, or do I really have to phone them to confirm that I am not renewing, so that they don't attempt to charge me?

I hate having to communicate with companies by phone, in real time. To avoid this problem, this is why humanity invented writing, and nowadays, why we have secure messaging via websites. Unfortunately, insurance companies seem to like to be deliberately behind the times in this regard.

(With the ability to request your mobile phone PAC code by text now coming into being, I would hope that the appropriate ombudsman would now also turn their attention towards something similar for policy cancellations, so that you can completely skip hard sell discussions.)

Are there any insurance companies which don't act like leeches which you have to burn off in order to be free of them, who don't keep increasing prices for existing customers, and who you can communicate with online and never have to phone (unless you actually want to)?

Slarti
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Re: Insurance cancellation

#232880

Postby Slarti » June 30th, 2019, 11:27 am

dave559 wrote:Are there any insurance companies which don't act like leeches which you have to burn off in order to be free of them, who don't keep increasing prices for existing customers, and who you can communicate with online and never have to phone (unless you actually want to)?


Well with my motor insurance, through QouteMeHappy, in the renewal process there is a check box to prevent automatic renewals. Mind you, I've just started my 3rd year with them as their renewal quotes have been better than the opposition.

QMH are an online only organisation and you only phone re claims. But they are not competitive on my household insurance.

Slarti

EssDeeAitch
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Re: Insurance cancellation

#232894

Postby EssDeeAitch » June 30th, 2019, 1:00 pm

So as to avoid confusion, I always call companies where I am not renewing so as to have a record of my instruction.

I also ask if the call is being recorded and take note of the persons name and the date and time of the conversation.

Maybe it should not be necessary but I have never had to try to claw back money taken in "error"

PinkDalek
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Re: Insurance cancellation

#232898

Postby PinkDalek » June 30th, 2019, 1:23 pm

dave559 wrote:I am changing my home insurance policy, and having been sent a reminder to renew, I have now cancelled the direct debit in advance of the policy expiry date. ...


Cancelling the direct debit doesn't inform the insurance company until they try to collect.

It is unclear from your OP if you also wrote to them to cancel, despite mentioning your understandable preference for writing letters.

In any event, what does your policy say about cancelling at renewal?

swill453
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Re: Insurance cancellation

#232940

Postby swill453 » June 30th, 2019, 3:38 pm

PinkDalek wrote:Cancelling the direct debit doesn't inform the insurance company until they try to collect.

I don't think that's true, in general.

Many times I've cancelled DDs and had machine generated letters sent more or less immediately asking me to reinstate them, definitely before any payment is due.

The only explanation is that the bank informs the payee when it's cancelled.

Scott.

PinkDalek
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Re: Insurance cancellation

#232950

Postby PinkDalek » June 30th, 2019, 5:04 pm

swill453 wrote:
PinkDalek wrote:Cancelling the direct debit doesn't inform the insurance company until they try to collect.

I don't think that's true, in general.

Many times I've cancelled DDs and had machine generated letters sent more or less immediately asking me to reinstate them, definitely before any payment is due.

The only explanation is that the bank informs the payee when it's cancelled.

Scott.


Thanks, that makes sense and is possibly why the OP received the letter from the insurance company demanding that I phone them "to avoid unnecessary premiums being charged to your account", not that I understand what is meant by unnecessary premiums. Perhaps the timing of the various events may assist.

Slarti
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Re: Insurance cancellation

#232955

Postby Slarti » June 30th, 2019, 5:21 pm

EssDeeAitch wrote:So as to avoid confusion, I always call companies where I am not renewing so as to have a record of my instruction.

I also ask if the call is being recorded and take note of the persons name and the date and time of the conversation.

Maybe it should not be necessary but I have never had to try to claw back money taken in "error"


Thinking about it, I always inform an insurer if I am not taking up their renewal offer a) as a matter of courtesy b) to reduce the risk of errors from when they all auto-renewed.

Slarti

dave559
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Re: Insurance cancellation

#233007

Postby dave559 » June 30th, 2019, 10:53 pm

PinkDalek wrote:Thanks, that makes sense and is possibly why the OP received the letter from the insurance company demanding that I phone them "to avoid unnecessary premiums being charged to your account", not that I understand what is meant by unnecessary premiums. Perhaps the timing of the various events may assist.


Yes, that is what happened (I cancelled the DD, the insurance company was automatically notified of this, and they then sent me the snotty letter). Sorry if my original post wasn't clear.

It annoys me very much that a contract which can be easily entered into online cannot (in this case) also be easily cancelled online. I'd almost go so far as to regard that as an unfair contract, and I really wish (as per mobile phone contracts) that the government would do something about this. I have better things to do than spend 15 minutes in a phone queue just to do something that would and should take me only 30 seconds online.

As long as many/most/all insurance companies continue to treat customers like dirt in this way, I am afraid I will also treat them likewise. Receiving notification of my cancelling the DD (without my having set up a new payment arrangement) should be all the information that they need to make it clear that I am not renewing the policy.

Slarti
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Re: Insurance cancellation

#233116

Postby Slarti » July 1st, 2019, 12:00 pm

dave559 wrote:Receiving notification of my cancelling the DD (without my having set up a new payment arrangement) should be all the information that they need to make it clear that I am not renewing the policy.


Not necessarily. Banks do make mistakes.

I did have a DD cancelled, long ago, by my bank who then insisted that I had instructed them to do so, but could produce no evidence of this.

Slarti

gryffron
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Re: Insurance cancellation

#233129

Postby gryffron » July 1st, 2019, 12:46 pm

dave559 wrote:It annoys me very much that a contract which can be easily entered into online cannot (in this case) also be easily cancelled online. I'd almost go so far as to regard that as an unfair contract, and I really wish (as per mobile phone contracts) that the government would do something about this. I have better things to do than spend 15 minutes in a phone queue just to do something that would and should take me only 30 seconds online.

Concur completely. Particularly difficult with CC recurring payments, which are notoriously difficult to cancel, and which you often don't even know you've signed up for. Several companies ask "Can we contact you about your insurance next year?" and take this to mean "Can we auto-renew your payment next year?" To me, those statements are not nearly equivalent.

The only defence for the consumer is to assume every contract is recurring and explicitly cancel it. But it shouldn't be necessary. Such contracts should at the very least be made to explicitly state whether they are one-off or recurring.

Gryff


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