By Andrew Clark
We thought we'd share some of the many questions we've had on a range of aspects of insurance ... so here's a list of what we have judged to be the top 10 insurance questions and answers that cover a comprehensive range of circumstances - and we're positive you'll find them of interest!
1. What do I do if I didn't get a renewal notice for my car insurance and now my car has been stolen?
If your insurance company can prove that they sent a renewal notice to you, then you may have a problem. Otherwise, the insurance company has a legal obligation to continue to hold you covered under the same terms as for the previous year. You should be sure that you have notified your insurer of any change of address because it is your responsibility to advise them of this.
2. Do I need to tell my insurer about things that have happened in the past year if they don't specifically ask about them in the policy?
When renewing your policy, you have a legal obligation to disclose everything to the insurer that may effect the risk that they are covering. This is particularly important when the occurrence increases the insurer's risk. If you have information that you prefer to keep confidential, which is not specifically asked by the insurer and you think that it may be material to your policy, you should seek legal advice.
3. Will the accidental damage cover on our home contents policy include an item that was broken accidentally by my daughter?
If your policy covers accidental damage of household contents, it will most likely include damaged caused accidentally by family members. You should however check the policy wording, including the policy exclusions, and confirm this with your broker or insurer if you are still unsure.
4. I want to know if my housekeeper is covered under my home insurance policy.
It's highly advisable to ensure that any domestic workers are properly covered in the event of an accident or other form of loss. You should check with your insurer or your insurance broker to find out whether domestic workers are covered automatically or whether you need to extend your policy to include them.
5. Does my car insurance company check the accuracy of the information that I provide in my application form?
It is highly likely that your insurer will not verify this information at the time of application because it is your responsibility to provide accurate details. However, if you fail to disclose previous accidents, driving offenses or anything else that may be relevant to the insurer's decision to issue your policy, you can be sure that they will find out if and when you lodge a claim against the policy and you run the very high risk of having your claim rejected.
6. My insurer increases the amount of cover on renewal of my home and contents policy each year. Do I need to review that?
Most certainly you should. The increases in cover being offered to you each year will most likely be inflation adjustments only and will not reflect any additions, improvements, purchases and they will not necessarily allow for changes in replacement values of your items nor accurately reflect the fluctuation in building reinstatement costs as they relate to your home.
7. My income protection insurance application asks whether I have consulted any medical practitioner in the past 5 years. Surely they are not interested in the fact that I had a 'flu' injection last year?
It is important that you disclose everything that is asked of you on any insurance application form, irrespective of whether it seems irrelevant to you. Any omission at application time may result in a future claim being rejected so it is better not to run the risk.
8. I suspect that my insurance company is over-charging me. Should I lodge a complaint with the Insurance Enquiries And Complaints scheme?
You cannot use the IEC to resolve issues relating to premium rates. This service is primarily for claims disputes.
9. The IEC made a ruling in my favour following a rejected car insurance claim. Can I now claim the costs of taxis and hire cars that I had to pay for in the months I had to wait to have this resolved.
The Insurance Enquiries And Complaints scheme can award interest on the amount of the calim as a result of the delay but it cannot require the insurer pay to reimburse additional expenses.
10. Am I responsible to cover the insurer's costs if the IEC rules against my claim dispute.
Fortunately you do not have to pay the insurer in the event that you don't win your claim at the Insurance Enquiries And Complaints. This is one of the benefits of this scheme to the consumer.