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Sheila's Wheels Cancelled my house insurance - any help please?


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Hi, am hoping somebody can offer some advice on my recent house insurance cancellation by Sheilas Wheels.

 

Brief background...I moved into the house in November 2009 and took buildings & contents with Sheilas Wheels. On 31st January 2010 I suffered an 'escape of water' from the washing machine water intake pipe which damaged one of the kitchen cupboards and the laminate floor and floorboards. This took 3 months to authorise the repairs! However, when the repair work was started and the floorboards were lifted it was apparent that there was another leak under the floor from a waste pipe. Although there was no damage, I had to get a specialist drying company in to dry the floor (this was now classed as an additional claim and a further £200 excess was paid). In late June 2010 the repairs to the kitchen were finally completed.

 

To add insult to injury, in July I accidentally dropped my laptop on the coffee table and damaged the screen. I simply reported the damage to Sheila's Wheels, but did not make a claim. Within 2 days I received a letter to say that they were cancelling my policy as I am now deemed a high risk and I need to find alternative cover.

 

Of course, whenever you look for insurance, you get the usual question "Have you ever had insurance cancelled"

 

I have written to Sheila's Wheels to complain, but they will not change their mind about the decision. I dont want to be insured by them ever again, but I would like the 'Cancellation of Insurance' removed from my file. I have also taken this to the financial ombudsman, but they have finally written back advising that Sheilas Wheels have no case to answer as it states in their T&C's that they can invoke a 7 day cancellation at any time.

 

I find this really annoying, as I have not comitted any criminal offence, made any fraudulent claims or missed any payments. I have NO problem disclosing my previous two claims either. I feel like I am blacklisted for life because of this 'shoddy' insurance outfit!

 

Any advice please?

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Unfortunately SW and other parts of Esure are taking a very harsh stance and cancelling loads of policies they don't want to keep. They are allowed to do this and there is not much you can do about it.

 

You have not been blacklisted as such, because this is not a case of non disclosure or fraud. It is a decision about risk.

 

So you can shop around as normal by phoning companies and brokers. Many will request a letter of explanation from SW to confirm the reason for cancellation to be sent to them, so ask SW for a letter of explanation.

 

Best bet is to speak to a decent local broker (not Swintons). Find using BIBA. http://www.biba.org.uk/ConsumerHome.aspx

 

A company called Bureau Insurance services will be able to arrange cover, but try a local broker first.

We could do with some help from you.

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Thanks for the info; it just means that its going to make life harder for me now as I wont be able to use price comparison websites. Its a shame that they dont get 'blacklisted' when a client cancels their policy! All very one sided :( I could understand it if they said to me at renewal that they were not prepared to cover me the following year.

 

Do I need to disclose this information when looking for car insurance too? or is it purely for house insurance ?

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SE/Esure report the cancellation to IH (Insurance Hunter) a little known industry database that is used for much more than 'fraud', as they often use it to get a profile of the insured. If you apply to another company and do not disclose, cover will not normally be refused... BUT if you claim, then IH will be consulted, and they will then cancel the policy, from the date prior to your latest claim. The reason will be non-disclosure.

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Thanks for the info; it just means that its going to make life harder for me now as I wont be able to use price comparison websites. Its a shame that they dont get 'blacklisted' when a client cancels their policy! All very one sided :( I could understand it if they said to me at renewal that they were not prepared to cover me the following year.

 

Do I need to disclose this information when looking for car insurance too? or is it purely for house insurance ?

 

Yes, as most declarations will ask whether you have ever had Insurance cancelled. So you have to phone companies and once you provide the details, this should be a problem for Car Insurance. It is just a pain that you can't use comparison sites.

 

I would suggest that you write to the Chief Executive and question the way they are acting. Mention the number of posts to online forums complaining about policies being cancelled. I agree with you that they should have waited until renewal and then either impossed relevant terms or declined to invite renewal.

We could do with some help from you.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hello, this is also another cancellation like the gentleman above. Any help at all would be appreciated. I took out my home insurance in Feb of this year. Everthing was answered completley honestly and I never made a claim with them.

 

In March of this year my husband punched somebody for calling him a name. The punch was reported to the police and two weeks later he was convicted of ABH and fined £1000. This was his first ever offence. Roughly a month ago somebody informed me that you must report this to your insurance as any claim made would be voided. I was not aware of this and promptly rang the compwny to inform them, expecting my premium would increase. The customer service employee then told me that my insurance would be cancelled straight away due to conviction and as of that instance i no longe had home insurance with them. I was mortified and spent overnight without any cover as it had taken place in the evening. I managed to get cover elsewhere in the morning and rang the underwriter also to query this. He simply said that they do not cover offenders and apologised that I did not receive the 7 day cancellation notice which is stated in their t and c's. I put a complaint through and asked him to put the reason in writing to show any future insurers. I was issued with a letter stating the reason and also included an apology for not issuing me with the 7 days cancellation notice.

I am absolutley at my wits end now as the gentleman before had stated, this stays with me forever. I was simply being honest and now I have to pay forever. Since this has happened I havent eaten, slept and feel as though I am on the verge of a nervous breakdown. I have a four month old baby and I feel so distressed that I may end up having my house taken from me in the future as the premiums will now have rocketed. Does anybody know If I have a good chance of getting the cancellation reversed as I did not receive the cancellation notice? I have tried varoius sources for help but am not getting anywhere!! Sorry to ramble but I am a very desperate and worried mother.

 

Talia B

Edited by talia b
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Sorry to hear this. My gut feeling this is a jobsworth over-reacting. Of the companies I looked at, it HAD to be a crime of theft or deception in order for the cover to be cancelled, not ABH. I get the feeling this is a moral judgement only and possibly not covered by your T&Cs (but you would have to check).

 

The issue of disclosure is a tricky one - in your shoes I would not ave done so, on the basis he already paid for his crime, it had nothing to do with the insurance - and if worried, could have simply changed the name of the policyholder (as it would not be up to you to breach the DPA on his conviction). I'warere of one case in 1999 that got to the Insurance Ombudsman where be policyholder won as the conviction had nothing to do with dishonesty or fraud. I'll see if I can find the details.

 

Check the terms, what do they actually say about convictions?

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Hi Busby,

I have just checked the terms and conditions and there are no mention of criminal convictions whatsoever? I have spoken to a customer service operater today who has told me that he very much doubts the desicion would be revoked as they are a low- risk company and would never quote somebody with that conviction. (I am not sure how an aggrivated punch affects home insurance!) I am now waiting to receive a call from somebody in the new year regarding this. I am really hoping that the company will maybe "meet me half way" as they failed to issue me a 7 days cancellation which I am sure is a breach on their part. I am very doubtful on this though. I cant say that the underwriting dept and complaints dept have been unhelpful throughout this, as they have actually been very informative. All I want is to not have to declare this cancellation in the future as I am in no way fraudulent or even high-risk. I am a hardworking honest individual who feels unfairly treated now as a high risk to insurers. I am aware my husband now has a conviction but he is no way a "hardened criminal". He is also honest and has a responsible job within our local council. Again, sorry to go on but I am extremley worried about this situation.

 

Talia B.

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Ta for the update. It would appear they are making policy 'on the hoof' I honestly doubt if he murdered someone this would be a reason to decline cover ( for the reasons I outlined earlier ).

 

Rather than phone, write. State that you are disputing their reasons for termination and if they do not tratbyou sympathetically, you require the cover to be reinstated pending an appeal to the ombudsman investigating insurance disputes. You require a letter stating the reasons for termination and their refusal to negotiate further. This gives you the kick start to raise an official complaint and have it reviewed independently.

 

It's not a long shot, but worth doing as there has been no fraud or theft, and this is usually all an insurer is worried about, and when you think of all the drugs convictions, you you think they're all uninsured? I wouldn't think so.

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Thanks Buzby,

That is exactly what I will do this afternoon. I am determined to not go down without a fight! I will let you know of the outcome. I have another quick qustion If I may? The policy was in my name only in the first instance. (Really wish I hadn't been so honest now!) If my husband was to put a future home insurance policy in is name only, would the cancellation still have to be declared?

 

Thanks Talia

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As you alone were the policyholder, I cannot see how hubby's problem was a material fact tha required disclosure. It was your policy, not his. Did he give permission for you to disclose this conviction? (Naughty girl!). Only if the application form required to to disclose your criminal convictions as the policyholder, AND those of all parties resident at the insured address would this be of any relevance. Again, it is invariably those who are convicted of theft, fraud and deception that the disclosure requirement is relevant.

 

Finally, if they return the premium less their early cancellation charges (As if YOU cancelled) that is also grossly unfair and worthy of an additional strand to any complaint.

 

As you've done nothing wrong, any future application is not your hubby's business or concern unless you are asked the question. There is no requirement to disclose the answer to a question not asked.

 

Go get 'em - and tell your friends to avoid this manifestly unfair company.

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Buzby, material facts for home insurance involve all persons living in the house. The insurers have the upper hand on that point.

Regarding the cancelation, if the conviction happened prior to the inception of the policy, then it probably asks the question in the proposal form, if in between renewal, the invitation would ask you to disclose any changes, which (sorry to be so blunt) the conviction is a pretty big change in circumstances when it comes to underwriting premiums - all insurers work on different criterea, if they would not have taken your risk on knowing there was a conviction, they have a right to throw it out.

 

If they just did this half way through the policy then they are probably out of order, they should let it run the term.

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I am fully aware of what is expected regarding disclosure, however this runs contrary to the DPA, so there is little point maintaining that ' material facts ' should be disclosed, which is simply a request, against an Act of Parliament, which is a Law. A policyholder would be able to successfully argue their inability to comply. Similarly, in cases where the data subject agrees to disclosure, the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act additionally provides a safety net, when they are spent, they are of no business of anyone, even insurers - under the law.

 

Convictions have to be relevant - a conviction for non payment of a TV Licence is not, but defrauding the DHS would. As stated earlier, many companies stipulate a disclosure of convictions for dishonesty but not otherwise.

 

The OP has everything to play for.

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Hi Mwynci,

Yes the incident and conviction occured after inception of the policy, which is why I rang to inform them of the change in circumstance as soon as I knew it was a requirement. Thank god I didnt have a claim beforehand as I am aware I would have been in a worse circumstance having a policy voided. My renewel would have been due in Feb. I shall write to them as I have nothing to lose and hope that the underwriters may listen to my point that I was purely being honest and pro-active. All I want is the cancellation to be taken from my records somehow and I will insure with another company that deals with convictions. At least a conviction as minor as my husbands is spent after 5 years. I really think that Insurance companys penalise people for being honest. If I had lied on my application form I could understand. I am sure that there are a lot of criminals out there who lie to their insurers and probably never get caught!

 

Talia

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Hi Mwynci,

The incident and conviction both occurred after inception of the policy ( part-way through) so I had in no way lied on my application form. As soon as I was aware of my duty to disclose I did the right thing and informed the company. At least I did not make a claim beforehand as I am aware I would have been in a lot worse of a situation.

 

I think that when somebody receives a conviction they should be advised of their duty to disclose it to their insurance companies. Insurance companies are often the last thing on your mind when this happens, especially if it has already turned your world upside down (as it did with us). Anyway, my husband has paid for his crime and we had moved on until this happened!! I am going to write to them as I dont have anything to lose in trying. All I want is for the cancellation to be taken off my records and I will happily re-insure with a company that deals with convictions. At least an offence as minor as my husbands is spent after 5 years. I really think insurance companys penalise you for being honest and I am now extremley wary of them. I am sure that there are criminals out there who blatantly lie to their insurers and never get caught!

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I may be wrong (not the first time), but I always assumed the rehbilitation of offenders act requires all unspent convictions to be disclosed, this would to me seem a principle of utmost good faith. Spent convictions, I'm not sure about

.

As Buzby has said, you do have everything to play for in this case, to do this halfway through when all you did was be honest is out of order. They can refuse renewal, but they should honour your claim and let the policy run it's course.

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  • 4 months later...
I wouldn't say that - IH data has the same 6 years limit, it is only the insurer involved who can hold onto it for longer.

 

Is this definitely the case? This is the first time I've seen an IH timescale mentioned, I was under the impression they kept it in perpetuity or is that the other claim/underwriter database?

Edited by Ohsoworried
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