Car accident not at fault my insurance

When I received my annual renewal notice for a multi-car insurance policy with Equity Red Star, I found my premium had risen by 50%. On checking, I discovered that a £1,350 claim had been made against me six months previously and my no-claims discount had been affected.

What had happened six months ago, was that a bus had tried to overtake a cyclist as both approached a width restriction. The back of the bus caught the front of my car as I approached in the opposite direction. We stopped and exchanged details but there was no sign of damage to either vehicle. The next morning I called the insurance company which filed a “for information only” report.

I also informed the bus company and was assured no further action would be taken. It appears that three months later the bus company lodged a claim (for £208). Equity Red Star did not inform me or even ask for a claim form to be completed.

I now have to renew my insurance at the inflated premium as the issue won’t be resolved before the renewal deadline and, if I go elsewhere, I have to declare this as an “at fault claim”.

Quite apart from the fact that I was not given a chance to contest this claim, how can an insurer value it at £1,350 when the bus company is only claiming £208? If I were to make a false declaration it, rightly, can invalidate my insurance.AB, Beckenham, Kent

Equity Red Star explains that your premium has not been hiked by £1,350 – that’s the standard amount they place as a reserve against a claim before all the details are confirmed. Once they have the relevant information the figure is adjusted, in your case to £208. It insists your premium only increased by 27% due to inflation and the claim.

But the real concern is why you were not informed of the claim nor given the chance to contest it. The problem seems to be the layers of bureaucracy involved in insurance. You arranged your cover through a broker which, in turn, outsources claims to another company. ERS says it informed both of these of the claim, so it assumed you had been told.

However, it accepts that it should have ensured this was the case and has adjusted the claim to “no-fault” status so your no-claims discount is unaffected and you will only need to disclose to other insurers that you have been involved in a “no-fault” incident.

As for the impudent bus company, its claim is still being assessed.

If you need help email Anna Tims at[email protected]or write to Your Problems, The Observer, Kings Place, 90 York Way, London N1 9GU. Include an address and phone number.

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