When I tried to renew my van insurance policy with Privilege, the premium had increased from £508 to £989. Privilege said a claim had been made against me last year.
In 2022, a car scraped the rear bumper of my van causing minimal damage. I reported the incident to Privilege, but did not make a claim.
When I questioned this, Privilege admitted that the other driver had not made a claim either, but said the price hike was because there was a record of an incident.
I tried another insurer which said the same and quoted me £850.
I now seem to have a mark against my name through no fault of my own.
Drivers are damned if they do – and if they don’t. A policy could be invalidated if an incident is not reported to the insurer, even if no claims arise. Yet customers appear to be penalised for doing the right thing.
Insurers’ pricing criteria are complex and opaque, and algorithms may conclude that, if you report a scrape, you drive in environments that make incidents more likely. We can’t know, because Privilege, part of the Direct Line Group, won’t say.
After I intervened, it told you the 95% premium hike was “in line with our pricing structure”, but that it can’t explain why because of the “commercially sensitive nature of policy pricing”. It did, however, apologise for the delay in confirming there was no claim against you, and paid £75 in goodwill.
The Association of British Insurers tells me it’s a commercial decision for individual companies whether or not a reported incident affects premiums. As for the mark against your name, all potential claims are added to the Claims and Underwriting Exchange, a central database consulted by all insurers.
Privilege assures me the incident is registered as non-fault, but other insurers may take it into account when pricing a quote. Your best bet is to keep shopping around.
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