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Stopped for not having car insurance, we thought we did, please HELP

(24 Posts)
pinkbraces Wed 21-Nov-12 14:15:43

Im hoping someone can offer me advice. Last night my husband was pulled over and told he doesnt have car insurance, he produced the certificate of insurance which he had on him, it runs out end of August 2013. The police were adamant we did not have insurance, the car was impounded.

It turns out that esure, who we took the insurance out with two months ago had cancelled the policy, we did not know this.

We have the confirmation email from them stating the start date, along with monthly payments. We have the credit card receipt which shows the initial two month payment, and we have the certificate of insurance.

The insurance company asked DH for proof on no claims, he sent the insurance certificate from the company we were changing over from, it turns out this wasnt enough evidence of no claims. The insurance company are saying they wrote to us asking for more evidence of no claims and as they didnt hear from us they cancelled the policy and refunded a small amount onto our credit card. I have checked the card and we did receive a refund, I just never noticed. We never ever received a letter from them, no communication whatsoever asking us for more information, which we could have supplied as DH has full no claims.

I fully understand we should have made sure that the direct debit had been set up and the payments were going out to the insurance company, that was my responsibilty and I didnt to it. However surely the insurance company should have tried harder to contact us before cancelling.

We have spoken to a solicitor and are going to fight it as we believed our insurance was in place, the solicitor fully expects us to win

Our biggest problem at the moment is getting insurance for my DH whilst this is going on. Can anyone suggest how he can get car insurance that isnt over £2000. Normal insurance is £700. He has to have the car for work.

Im sorry its so long but Im desperate for help and thought it better not to drip feed.

RedHelenB Wed 21-Nov-12 15:15:20

I think it would more be mitigating circumstances rather than not being guilty tbh unless the insurance company admit to not sending a letter. Surely you realised the monthly premiums hadn't come out? Has your husband got his car back now?

STIDW Wed 21-Nov-12 15:15:41

I don't think the Insurance Certificate is proof of no claims discount but something similar happened to me a few months ago when I took out insurance and sent a Renewal Notice as proof of my no claims discount. The notice was lost in the post and I only found out because I checked my credit card statement and most of the annual premium was credited back. By that time I had been driving 6 weeks without any insurance. I phoned the insurance company, they reinstated the policy and gave me 14 days to get another copy of the renewal notice.

RedHelenB Wed 21-Nov-12 15:17:17

BTW, what evidence of no claims did they want as I've only ever sent my existing renewal offer off?

prettybird Wed 21-Nov-12 18:45:06

This sounds like something that one of the financial advice columns (Sunday Times/Guardian/Observer) and/or Which? might help with.

When was the credit made - or more importantly, when did you get the statement showing the credit?

When did they say that they sent the letter saying that the evidence was not sufficient? Why was it not sufficient? Did he send the certificate and not the renewal notice? Why didn't they email you?

pinkbraces Wed 21-Nov-12 21:53:30

After an awful lot of drama we are now insured, with another insurer but our original insurer is issuing us a letter stating we were insured on the day we were stopped . We still have to go to court and pay to get car from police pound angry

1sassylassy Wed 21-Nov-12 22:04:25

I had something similar but car was not impounded ,I just received a summons about 6 weeks later,my insurance company faxed a proof of insurance letter to the dept that issued the summons and it was withdrawn and I didnt have to go to court,I still have the paperwork and can drag it out tomorrow if you need to know what actual dept it was.The ironic thing was I was the victim of a road rage hit and run incident,she got away with it because lack of an independent witness and due to a balls up at the police station I got charged with driving with no insurance when I was actually insured.

bunchamunchycrunchycarrots Thu 22-Nov-12 00:52:53

OP I think you may have grounds for a massive complaint against the insurer who cancelled your policy. As far as I'm aware (and I am a bit rusty on this so you need to get proper advice on this) there is a specific process that has to be followed before an insurance policy can be voided/cancelled. What you have described does not sound to me like the process that should have been followed, and I would question how that insurance company was able to remove its details from the MID (Motor Insurers Database) when you were still in possession of the certificate of insurance - that's a legal document, and again AFAIK that means you should still be considered as insured (at least TP cover which is the legal minimum cover required to drive) if you are in possession of the COI. I would suggest you contact the insurer who cancelled your policy and ask them for their complaints procedure, and confirmation of the legal steps that are required to follow in order for them to cancel a motor insurance policy. Once you get that information, you should be able to see where they went wrong.

I might be out of touch on this, and I'm not a legal expert, but if I was you, I'd be going nuts at that insurance company for what they've done here.

ProcrastinatingPanda Thu 22-Nov-12 01:10:14

This happened to us too but we were on holiday at the time and were stopped driving on the way home. They were going to impound our car but luckily realised we were so far from home so let us drive home in it. DP it a solicitor and went to court but he was given points and a fine as apparently was still our responsibility to check the direct debit despite never having a problem and being told that we were insured before going on holiday.

RyleDup Thu 22-Nov-12 01:19:13

I had this with sheilas wheels. They asked for information, which I sent, and they kept saying no thats not what we asked for, even though it was. So I kept sending them more and more stuff to satisfy their needs, and then one day they just cancelled my policy. Saying I hadn't sent what they wanted, even though I had. What was worse though was that they sent me a letter by recorded delivery informing me they had decided to cancel my policy, 2 weeks prior to them sending the letter. I am sure that can't be legal. Sheilas wheels are rubbish.

bunchamunchycrunchycarrots Thu 22-Nov-12 01:34:22

The thing is, if you had your policy cancelled like a few of you had described, and had been involved in an accident, the insurer who cancelled the policy could not legally escape responsibility for third party claims for damage/injuries etc. because they did not ensure the certificate of insurance was destroyed, or took the legal steps to cancel the policy in the event they were unable to retrieve the COI. They would be considered RTA insurers, and therefore legally they still cover you for TP damage/injuries so legally you are still insured to drive. The fact that the insurer who cancelled the policy are now back tracking in issuing a letter saying that the policy cover was in force when the police impounded the car, still doesn't explain how they actually removed their details from the MID if the policy was still in force (which it was because they cannot just cancel a policy the way they appear to have done here - there is more to it than just pressing a button that says 'cancel'). It seems to me that the insurer has tried, and failed, to cancel the insurance in a way they know doesn't actually void the policy, but if the worse happens and you get the police impounding your car 'cos the MID says you aren't insured, then they know they won't get away with stating for a fact that their policy was not in force at the time the police stopped the OP's car.

pinkbraces Thu 22-Nov-12 22:40:21

It's amazing how many people this has happened to. I am going to wait until after the court case and then pursue the insurance company.

I am still totally flabbergasted how this can happen

RedHelenB Fri 23-Nov-12 07:18:37

Why do you still need to go to court if the insurers are giving you a letter to say you will still insured? Doesn't make sense!

Stinkyminkymoo Fri 23-Nov-12 07:33:04

I too had this with Sheila's wheels but I needed the no claims proof from them to send to Axa. They kept insisting they'd sent it when they blatantly hadn't.

I then got 2 no claim letters a day apart 6weeks later. Fortunately for me Axa accepted a photo of the letter on my phone and I emailed it to them. I was due to give birth any day so was really anxious about it!

fluffacloud Fri 23-Nov-12 07:50:35

Sorry OP but the only obligation the insurer has is to send you a letter giving 7 days notice of cancellation. This is in accordance with the Road Traffic Act. The letter doesn't need to be sent by Special or Recorded delivery.

If any refund is due this should be credited to your account 'in good time' according to the Financial Services Authority.

You could try making a complaint with the insurer directly and if you remain dissatisfied you can request that it is looked at by the FOS or Lloyds. Details of how to make a complaint will be in your insurance documents.

HTH

fluffacloud Fri 23-Nov-12 08:06:22

I've just seen that your insurer has agreed indemnity by giving you a letter to say that you were insured - that changes things.

By giving you indemnity they have, in a way, accepted liability and you can try to push for your impound costs to be covered by them.

I would also contact the officer that issued you the summons and request that as you have been given indemnity you were legally insured - I can't imagine that they will want to continue with your case, however, they could if they wanted to.

babybarrister Fri 23-Nov-12 13:23:23

I had something similar - police chose not to take action though - send them the letter from insurer asap ....

bunchamunchycrunchycarrots Sat 24-Nov-12 12:31:31

OP if you do go down the route of complaining to the insurer, you need to ask them why they removed their details from the MID when you were still in possession of the COI, and they had not taken legal steps to void your policy. It's by doing this, you have been deemed to be driving without insurance when the fact is you had the legal minimum cover required by virtue of being in possession of the COI. I'd also wonder why the police did not consider you to be insured when you were able to produce the COI. it's very difficult for an insurer to detach themselves from being RTA insurer if they don't take the right steps to do that, and in your case, they clearly haven't.

sneezecakesmum Sat 24-Nov-12 15:48:01

My DS had a similar episode with an insurance company and I was organising it all for him (he could not organise a pissup in a brewery!). Stopped by police - no insurance...basically the insurance company lied through their teeth when I took it to the insurance ombudsman - phone calls not recorded because of 'technical fault' etc. Horrendous but the Ombudsman ruled in our favour because I had endless emails etc detailing the situation.

You have my sympathy. The Financial Services ombudsman is the person you contact if the insurance company give a final decision against you. You are in a trickier situation than we were because DDs went out of DSs account. You should have checked, but its easy to be wise after the event! But I will never trust any company again - I take names, numbers, reference numbers etc!

sneezecakesmum Sat 24-Nov-12 15:50:32

bunchamun... Re providing a certificate of insurance to the police, its not proof the policy is valid. We were told people were taking out the insurance, getting the relevant docs, paying the first payment... then cancelling the policy!

bunchamunchycrunchycarrots Sun 25-Nov-12 15:32:24

sneeze, you're right, that sort of thing does happen all the time, and it's a pain for insurers who are left footing the bill on claims against cars where the policy hasn't been paid for. But, the reason they keep having to do that is because they issue COIs and then don't get them back, or don't void the policy the correct way to alleviate themselves of the liability for anything that happens to the car 'insured'. And that is why, in the OP's case, the charge of driving without insurance stems from the insurer's attempt to sever ties to the car, without actually doing the work involved to legally sever those ties IYSWIM. They should not remove their details from the MID until they either have the COI returned, or they have taken the legal steps to cancel/void the policy. By removing their details, when the police check the MID, they see a car without insurance when that isn't the case. The full cover i.e. comp has been cancelled, but the minimum legal cover everyone needs to drive on the roads is still there, still in place by virtue of the COI in the OP's possession, and by virtue of the insurer not taking the legal steps to void the policy. It's a complex issue, but on the main issue the OP posted about i.e. being charged with driving without insurance, they are not guilty of that, and the loss of their car, inconvenience and everything else related to that, has come from the insurer's actions of removing their details from the MID without doing the work required that allows them to do that. Sending a 7 day letter out doesn't quite cut it, for the policy to be fully, legally, cancelled.

bradywasmyfavouriteking Mon 26-Nov-12 11:24:51

I don't get how you were insured on the day you were stopped.

sneezecakesmum Mon 26-Nov-12 16:33:05

bunch. Thanks for explaining. Its obviously very complicated shock. In my DSs case he took the COI to the police station and they accepted this as proof he was insured. So what you say is obviously right. The insurance company had taken his initial payment and the first direct debit (2 days before the police stop) and they released his car from impound. He did have out of pocket expenses hence the insurance ombudsman.

The reason the ins. company said he wasnt insured and removed his name was he couldnt provide his drivers licence (lost). Despite a new one having been requested from DVLA (request and payment also lost!!!) and the insurance company saying to me on the phone "Dont worry send a copy on when it arrives". Which they flatly denied theyd done - hence my neurosis re taking names, numbers etc.

Insurance company were a bunch of liars or so bloody incompetent they managed to 'lose' 2 phone recordings! angry

ThatVikRinA22 Mon 26-Nov-12 16:40:47

im a bobby and i had this happen to me too - i nearly died when i found out that i had been going to work, at a police station, apparently without insurance. luckily i found out before i got stopped - but omg i would have been mortified. our insurance was with direct line and they cancelled hte DD for no apparent reason at all - when i queried it they said it was a computer error and did not answer when i asked what would have happened had i been stopped.

i check the bank statement each month now.

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