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Bicycle theft claim difficulties


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My son's bike was stolen on a trip to London.  He had locked it for 12 hours to a bike rack, using an approved lock and through the frame.  Bike rack is covered by two sets of CCTV.

The bike insurance was taken out two weeks ago.

The insurance company are being extremely difficult because the theft has happened within two weeks of taking out the policy.

They asked my son if he had any insurance that would cover it and he said he didn't but had had home contents insurance back until January which he cancelled due to having an operation.  

The insurance company are trying to imply that he was neglectful or couldn't afford that insurance, cancelled it, and took out cheaper insurance for his bike.

They have asked for proof of his operation.

The operation took place in February.  The first insurance was cancelled in March.

The new bike insurance was paid for in early May and covered the bike from the date it was paid for.

The trip to Glasgow was booked in April, my son stayed at a hotel booked in April, researched for "secure" places to lock bikes (with CCTV), emailed hotels asking if they had secure places for bikes.

The bike was insured during my son's stay in London.

 

The insurance told my son that if he didn't provide proof of his operation back in February (three months before the bike theft and three months before the new cycle insurance was purchased) they would refuse the claim.

 

They have also said that they believe he cancelled his home insurance because he "couldn't afford it" and bought cheaper insurance to cover the bike.   However he has never said this.  He travelled to London and stayed in a fairly expensive hotel for 1 night which would disprove that hypothesis.

 

The insurance company keep ringing him up and saying they are recording the call.  I suspect they are fishing for things he will say during the telephone conversation for them to go away and analyse and refuse the claim.

 

I am feeling very upset by this situation.  My son loved his bike, he had it for 7 years and because of his illness he can't get a driving licence so it's his only form of transport and helps greatly with his condition (managing long term mental health by going for relaxing bike rides).  I understand that the policy is very early in its inception (purchased less than 3 weeks ago) but the bike is still covered.

 

Any tips or advice, please?

Edited by Ottleswick
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Who is the insurance company?  They sound terrible.

 

2 minutes ago, Ottleswick said:

...They asked my son if he had any insurance that would cover it and he said he didn't but had had home contents insurance back until January which he cancelled due to having an operation.  

The insurance company are trying to imply that he was neglectful or couldn't afford that insurance, cancelled it, and took out cheaper insurance for his bike.

They have asked for proof of his operation.

The operation took place in February.  The first insurance was cancelled in March...

 

Whilst I can understand that asking if he had any alternative cover* that would be more suitable in the circumstances might be a reasonable question, I can't for the life of me see what business it is of there's to ask why he cancelled his previous contents insurance or whether or not he's recently had an operation.

 

I presume that when he bought the insurance and they took his money they weren't interested in why he'd cancelled his previous insurance or whether he'd recently spent any time in hospital, so why would they need to know now?

 

I'd be inclined to write back to them and say you've supplied all the information necessary to make a claim and that if they don't pay up you'll be making a formal complaint and will take it to the ombudsman if necessary.  But before doing so, wait to see what others suggest.

 

*When they asked him if he had any alternative insurance cover he should simply have told them that he didn't - which would have been true.  But by volunteering too much information he may have unintentionally made the circumstances look "suspicious" to the insurance company.

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I can understand the Insurers suspicions, but they have no rights to any information about operation or matters that were months before the bike insurance was taken out.

 

Where does your Son live in relation to London. Did he ride his bike from home to London ?

 

Has the CCTV footage being obtained ?

 

Theft reported to Police promptly ?

 

What is the value of the bike  ?  Did he Insure it for a specified value ?

 

What does it state in the bike Insurance policy about making claims, as to what information the Insurers require ? 

 

These type of policies are offered by Insurers who will attempt to find reasons not to pay claims and they will hope that the policyholder does not take any further action.

 

Course of action may be to threaten to take the Insurance company to the County Court, due to their attempts to avoid paying a  clam under the Insurance contract.

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I suspect what the insurance company is thinking, but not saying, is something like 'young person - short of money - has faked the theft and bike hasn't really been stolen'. 

 

But suspecting that isn't grounds for refusing to pay a claim. They need actual evidence. All the stuff about having cancelled a home contents policy some months earlier is irrelevant really. As MIE says, if they'd thought it was relevant question at the time he took out the policy they should have asked the question then. 

 

I assume the information your son gave insurers when he took out the bicycle policy was all true and accurate? And all the information he has given to them about the claim is correct? If it wasn't I'm sure insurers would have grasped at any wrong information by now to reject the claim.  

 

What about the facts of the theft itself? Have insurers obtaned the CCTV footage? What did it show? Have insurers at any point asked for evidence that your son owned the bike? ie a copy of the purchase receipt. Did your son get a police report?

 

Have they suggested your son didn't comply with the security requirements in the policy for locking the bike up?

 

Although I think the operation is all a red herring they are using it as a way to argue that you refused to co-operate with their requests for information and that entitles them to reject the claim. They don't have any evidence the claim isn't genuine so they are trying to find some back door way of turning it down.

 

All policies have a 'claims co-operation' condition, something like this is typical: "It is a condition of your policy to provide all information and assistance we may require during the course of our claims investigations. Failure to do so may result in unnecessary delays and expense being incurred or your claim not being paid."  I wouldn't argue with them whether the information about the operation is a reasonable request. Just give them what they've asked for. Presumably you have some documentation that would show when the operation was.

 

Don't give them the opportunity to reject the claim on spurious grounds of non-co-operation. You'd could threaten FOS now but it'll be less hassle and much quicker to just give them what they've asked for if you can. You can go to FOS &/or court later if you need to.

 

Then let's see what other spurious reason they can think of not to pay! 

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Ah my neck of the woods the bike was nicked then.

 

As it was Glasgow was the Bike actually in one of the Councils New Bike Secure Storage units at all?

 

Does he have photographs of where the Bike was Stored/Secured at the time?

 

As stated in a previous post was the theft reported to the police and a Crime Reference Number Given?

 

If the Police were informed was it pointed out the CCTV Camera and to obtain the footage? (you need to contact Police Scotland with said Crime Reference Number and ask if CCTV Footage Obtained)   (Note Glasgow has thousands of CCTV Cameras you virtually can't go anywhere in the Town Centre without been caught on camera but the criminals know this and hide from any camera with a simple hoodie)

 

You need to act fast to obtain any CCTV Footage if any showing the Bike been stolen as it may be recorded over after a certain Time Limit:

 

Couple of links:

 

This one shows the Secure On-Street Cycle Parking: (was the bike secured in one of these)

 

From the above link did he use the link displayed in that to find secure parking:

WWW.CYCLEHOOP.RENTALS

 

If not could he provide a link which he used to find secure parking and the exact location the bike was secured at

 

This link explains about Glasgow City Councils Public Space CCTV (they have thousands of cameras and I do mean thousands all over Glasgow and the Town Centre) have a good read of it and who to contact for CCTV Footage:

 

 

This link is to Glasgow City Council Policy on use of CCTV:  (make sure and have a very good read of this)

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As the bike was Stolen in London l would advise you contact the MET but be prepared for them to be not helpful. 

 

Insurance company's are know to be awkward and will do anything to get out of paying. 

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