Category Archives: Motorhome Claims

Brokers Vs. Claims Companies

Image of IphoneAlmost everyone these days knows the frustration when receiving a call from an ‘0800’ number or ‘no caller ID’ and it has even gone as far as receiving texts and WhatsApp messages from these nuisance companies. Whether it be a real person or a recorded message at the other end of the phone it normally starts with something along the lines of ‘have you been in an accident recently’? Most people will just hang up the phone however there are some that have actually been in an accident and are potentially owed some money.

An ABI commissioned survey has shown that 83% of people are contacted by claims management companies. These companies spend their time encouraging people to claim for compensation for most types of accidents. With 92% of people saying that the call was completely irrelevant to anything in their life and 83% feeling these calls are unacceptable and that something needs to be put into place to stop them.

James Dalton, the ABI’s Director of General Insurance Policy, said: “These shocking findings show that, despite recent reforms, the UK’s compensation culture is alive and well and continues to thrive. For too long, too many people have been plagued by these nuisance calls and action is needed to clamp down on them. The industry fully supports genuine claimants receiving compensation in a timely and proportionate manner, which is why we have campaigned for the changes to our civil litigation system.

“But the continued behavior of some claims management companies encourages fraudulent and frivolous claims that push up the costs of insurance for honest customers. We will be working with the Government in their review of the claims management sector to ensure that this day-to-day nuisance is tackled once and for all.”

False claims are not only harming the regular customer but also insurance brokers too. These companies are pushing people to claim which could eventually make the insurance industry more expensive. There is a vast amount of money being paid out that perhaps would not be if customers were not being pushed into claims they had not even considered previously.

Brokers are reminded to work closely with their underwriters to ensure that any claims being paid out are legitimate. The more people who claim means a bigger loss ratio which will inevitably lead to an increase in premiums and encourage customers to shop around when looking at policies.

Previously, the Government has cracked down on false whiplash claims in which apparent ‘tough new rules’ were set by the Claims Management Regulation to prevent regulation companies presenting poor quality claims. These claims cause delays to genuine applications which, in turn, slows down the whole process.

Therefore, tougher rules must be set for claims companies to ensure none of these issues occur. They should not be able to pester people about false claims and should not be allowed to offer “no win, no fee” bonuses.

Recently laws have been put in place for any claim companies that are breaking these rules. A director of a claims firm who are producing documentations that are not real could receive a 12-month jail sentence. Claims company The Hearing Clinic has been found to constantly pester people by calling them and encouraging them to make a claim and has been fined £220,000 after hundreds of complaints. These measures will hopefully be the stick companies need to prevent them behaving this way in future.

Photo by Pixabay

Animals responsible for hundreds of claims each year

The danger posed by animals to motorhome enthusiasts has been brought into sharp focus by a report from a leading motor caravan insurance company.

Although most people would only associate danger to motorists from animals deriving from a trip abroad or to a safari park, in fact 8 motorists died last year on the roads of the UK due to an accident involving an animal, an increase of 800% on the previous year. The danger is particularly relevant to mobile home users as by far the most dangerous encounters are those that involve deer. And of course the animals are usually found in rural areas often frequented by campers exploring the countryside. Incredibly motor insurance experts reckon over 450 people are injured each year due to motor accidents involving deer and the carnage becomes apparent when the same experts calculate that 40,000 deer die each year after being hit by vehicles.

One would imagine that a mobile home would be big enough to protect its occupants from danger with collisions from animals but one must remember that deer, sheep and cattle are all big animals and a sudden impact with any of them will almost certainly cause a driver to veer across or off the road, and that is where the danger lies. In fact the AA, who collated the report, says they received 30 claims in November alone for incidents involving, deer, foxes, badgers and dogs. Of course dark mornings and dusk are the most dangerous times and the Highway Code requests the farming fraternity to desist from herding cattle or sheep after dusk.

It is not only big, heavy animals that can cause damage. Motorhome insurance providers have received claims in the past from drivers stung by wasps who then lost control of their vehicle, and the AA report includes the case of a lady driving an open topped sports car who suddenly found a squirrel in her passenger seat. The lady was so taken aback by her uninvited guest that she lost control of the vehicle and crashed into a roadside tree causing over £5,000 of damage and more than a little embarrassment!

Compensation money could have been better spent

Pot holesAn astounding report concerning the state of the UK’s roads reveals that councils all over the country are paying out massive settlement fees to disgruntled motorists after their vehicles have incurred damage from potholes.

It will come as no surprise to motorhome insurance providers who deal with claims from mobile home owners every year who quote the reason for damage on their vehicles as being caused by damaged road surfaces. The level of the amounts paid out though are shocking, and the report suggests that proactive councils would be better served repairing the potholes rather than paying out costs for damaged vehicles.

Motorists including motorhome owners and campervan enthusiasts are amongst 1 in 8 drivers who say their vehicles have suffered damage due to a bad road surface with 45% saying they have encountered problems related to tyre failure, 40% reporting suspension damage, 26% quoting wheel rim damage and 12% falling victim to steering problems brought about by driving over potholes. Over 1 million drivers have broken down in the last two years because of poor road surfaces.

The report says councils have received over 54,000 claims from drivers whose vehicles have been damaged in the last two years and have paid out an incredible £4.8 million in compensation. The figures show that compensation averaged out at just over £130 although some individual claims ran into the thousands. With sources saying that the average pothole costs in the region of £50 to be repaired the compensation bill would have repaired nearly 100,000 potholes! Motoring organisations believe the Government is at fault and statistics suggest they may be right. On average only £17 per driver is spent on road maintenance which is only just over 10% of the revenue collected by the Government in Road Tax. It is a miserly sum compared to some European countries and the combination of wet summers and harsh winters has exposed both the road surfaces and Local Authorities lack of investment in a big way. Of course it is the motorist who has suffered most.

Older Motorhome Drivers Need to Disclose Any Change in Medication

Research has shown that older motorhome owners who use medication including sleeping pills, anti-depressants and mood stabilisers are 29% much more likely to be involved in an accident. The study examined local hospital/crash statistics to discover the increased danger for older people on the road. The study examined the case history of drivers aged 60 and over and who were hospitalised as the result of an accident over the last 6 years.

Because of the results of the research, mobile home owners are being urged to disclose every tablet they are taking to their motorhome insurance company to avoid finding out too late that their policy has become invalid due to them not disclosing certain types of medication.

Without doubt insurers are aware that some medications have the possibility of slowing reaction times and when age is taken into account, the insurance premiums will need to be adjusted making cheap insurance hard to find. This is where an insurance broker can use their contacts to find a competitive quote that takes medication into account. Up to one million people taking prescribed antidepressants currently hold a valid UK driving licence and although motorhome owners only make up a small percentage of this number, there are calls for the public to be better educated about the dangers of using medication and road safety.

The study is one of the first of its kind in the United Kingdom and has attracted attention internationally both for its results and the method of linking hospital data with the drugs being taken. By linking the data it was possible to see the link between drivers taking particular medications and those who had a crash and who were hospitalised. The results should not see any extra restrictions put on older drivers and it is hoped that the results can be used to make sure older drivers continue to have a better quality of life and continue to enjoy holidays in their motorhome and may in fact improve their longevity.

Motorhome Owners Need to Get Insurance Excess Level Right

Insurance brokers are advising motorhome owners that choosing a higher voluntary excess on their motorcaravan insurance may cost them more in the long term because in some cases the impact on premium prices is minimal. Research analysed the cost of motorhome insurance using a range of voluntary excess levels, from £0 to £500 in order to evaluate the effect on prices of premiums. The research found a difference of around £180 to the yearly cost of premiums when comparing the average cost of a £0 excess to a £500 excess. However, a mobile home owner who opts for lower premiums and sets the excess level at around £500 could be creating a costly false economy should they need to make a claim on their insurance policy. This is because the difference in premiums is only £25 when comparing a £200 excess to a £400 excess. So anyone who is looking for competitive insurance needs to consider whether the short term savings are worth potential higher costs in the future.

Brokers advise drivers who are looking to cut costs to be aware that changing the excess level is not always a cost effective option. It’s crucial to set the total excess at a level the driver can afford to pay, and also one that makes claiming worthwhile. For example, if the driver had a £100 total excess and then made a claim for £500, the driver would have to pay the first £100 and the insurer would pay the remaining £400. However if there was a £500 excess the driver would have pay the entire amount, which makes a claim pointless. A broker can advise about excess levels before any policy is purchased. Drivers then may want to consider other ways to save money on premiums, and there are plenty of options. Fitting an approved alarm and immobiliser, such as a Thatcham 1 or Thatcham 2 should certainly cut premiums as should fitting a “smart box” particularly if you are a younger driver. The smart box monitors driving habits and will enable a young driver without a no claims bonus to demonstrate to insurers that he is a responsible driver more quickly than waiting for years of accident free motoring.

Another option is to ensure the premium charges reflect the mileage a driver will cover in a year; it is pointless paying for 20,000 miles worth of cover if the driver only travels 5,000 miles in the period.

Innocent Motorists are Counting the Cost of Careless Car Parking

The honesty of UK motorists has been brought into question in a big way following the release of a survey on drivers’ attitudes to minor accidents. A recent study has revealed that the cost of accidents caused by careless car parking is thought to have contributed to over one million pounds worth of damage every year that vehicle owners pay for themselves or have to claim on their own insurance policy. The research showed that 1 in 6 drivers would never leave their insurance details when scraping against another vehicle and 45% would only consider it if the damage looked serious, leaving the victim to sort out the repairs at his own expense.

The vast majority of the incidents take place on the public highway on side streets where motorists are either in a rush to get to work or to get their children to and from school and are forced to pull out of tight spots. The consequence of this is that victims on average end up paying out £1000 in repair costs for damage caused by so-called ‘prang and runs’ because they do not want to make a claim on their insurance policy. If they do claim they will also risk losing their no-claims bonus and have to pay what could be a hefty excess charge on top.

Experts who specialise in motorhome insurance are advising mobile home owners to be careful where they park and whenever possible, avoid tight spots where another vehicle might try to squeeze in, making it vulnerable to damage. The research also found that the majority of cases happened when the owner was not in the vehicle. Therefore, when the owner returns to the scene they are normally left with evidence of the accident but with no idea who caused the damage, and in many cases owners don’t realise they have been hit until hours later.

A spokesperson for the company who carried out the research said: “Most of the time these incidents are unfortunately unavoidable, as in busy built-up areas where parking is limited accidents can happen. However, if there is another parking option available or somewhere with more room for tricky manoeuvres, this is probably a much safer option for somewhere to leave your vehicle.” Even those who aren’t involved in an accident are paying the cost for these accidents as every case reported pushes up the cost of motor insurance.

Drivers who find their vehicles damaged in public car parks fare even worse with the report revealing that a massive 96% of motorists end up paying for the damage themselves.