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Privilege Claim for Theft


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I am a newbie here so please bear with me if this is a FAQ or common request.


About 10 days ago some ******** broke into our house, stole the keys of our car (Mercedes E-Class) and drove off with it. The car was recovered within hours totally undamaged (luckily the local authority towed it or it might even now be on its way to Africa - I never thought I would be grateful for rigid enforcement of parking restrictions :) )


Although the car is find to drive Privilege, the insurers, insist that it is kept in their secure repair facility - not unreasonably since the guy who stole it still has the keys are knows where I live! However they are now sitting on the claim refusing to authorise the repair work.


Their policy says "If our approved repairers carry out the repairs, you do not need an estimate and work can start immediately" but I have contacted the repairer and they say this is not the case and they need approval before continuing.


I have contacted Privilege and they say this is standard practice, but each time I cross one hurdle they put another in my way (first they just needed a telephone interview, then they needed to inspect the car (which can't be carried out for at least another 4 days..., then they need the crime details from the police).


In the meantime my wife and four year old son, with my one year old in the pushchair, are forced to walk about 1.5 miles either way twice a day to nursery and back.


I have raised this with their complaints department but they have not yet responded and there is nothing the Insurance Ombudsman. Has anyone else had a similar experience with Privilege or any suggestions as to how to get the process moving faster?

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Unfortunately, with a theft of keys, they need to ensure that the claim is covered. This should be quite simple, as they need to contact the police to confirm a, that the keys were stolen in the house, and b, you have not told them that it is a friend / relative who stole the vehicle.


If the interview has drawn up any suspicions then you might have a long delay, as they could ask for a copy of the police report, which could take anything from around 8 weeks to sort out.


However, you might have the cover of a guarenteed replacement courtesy car on your cover - might be worth checking this out.

Abbey - owed £3260 - Paid up.


Barclays owed £2500 - Paid up.


Halifax, Mint & Egg - next on the hit list


Dont click on the scales - I'm quite proud of my little red dot! - As the little red dot has gone - click away!!!!

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Thanks for the response.


Yes I do have a courtesy car - once "repairs are underway" - as they are holding up the claim then repairs are not yet underway so I don't qualify!


My real issue here is that there appears to be no where in any contract that allows them to delay payment on the claim - the policy clearly says that work can start immediately and I cannot find any words within any t&cs etc that allow them to do what they are doing.


My intention now is to hire a replacement car and send them the bill - we can't get by for more than a couple of days without a car. If they don't pay up I'll be delighted to pursue them both through the ombudsman and the courts (it's not the money, it's the principle).


My only concern is that taking such action against a company might get me onto some form of black list that would either make it harder to get insurance or mean that any claims are automatically held up.

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You said the house was broken into - is there a corresponding claim for damage to the house where they gained entry?


If not and there is no apparent sign of forced entry then this will be investigated fully. This is one reason they will request a copy of the police report as mentioned in your other thread concerning this claim. An insurer would be considered to be acting irresponsibly if they didnt.

Cahoot - Rejection of offer sent 14/06/07


Barclaycard - S.A.R - (Subject Access Request) sent 22/03/07

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There is a corresponding claim for items stolen from the house but there was no damage caused by the break-in. The police believe that the thief was able to poke something through the letterbox and manipulate the lock that way.


However the issue is not really whether they are correct to investigate but whether under the terms of our contract they are allowed to delay the repairs which the policy says will take place "immediately" and there is no provision I can see for any delay in the process. If they have any concerns I should at least be able to have the car repaired at my own expense and they pay when they are ready.


Keeping a totally undamaged car off the road and unavailable to me for a period of several weeks is not what I regard as reasonable :(

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Did you pay the extra premium to have their Guaranteed Courtesy Car?


If not their policy states...

Courtesy car provided for you in the event of an accident (not theft or total loss), if you use one of our approved repair companies (subject to availability).



Your post says the vehicle has not been damaged at all so is this just being held up awaiting the locks being changed and new keys?

Cahoot - Rejection of offer sent 14/06/07


Barclaycard - S.A.R - (Subject Access Request) sent 22/03/07

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According to Privilege I will be eligible for a courtesy car once the repairs have been authorised but not until then.


Yes - the car is totally undamaged (I presume they were about to put it on a ship to Africa or somewhere) so all that is required is changing the locks. It would take an MB dealer 5 minutes to disable the stolen key so that it would not disable the alarm or start the car. Fitting new locks would take 4 hours.


The policy says


"If our approved repairers carry out the repairs, you do not need an estimate and work can start immediately. Or, you can arrange for reasonable and necessary repairs to be carried out at a repairer of your choice, as long as you give us a detailed repair estimate and full details of the incident before the work begins."


Nothing in that (or anywhere else in the document) to suggest that they are entitled to delay the repair for several weeks.


Within my policy they could almost legitimately claim that I was not entitled to a courtesy car (as it is "subject to availability") but my contention is that had they followed the policy the car would now have been returned to me so I will be claiming the costs of the hire car while they sort this out.


I should point out that a car is absolutely essential to my family so I have to hire a replacement and have no issue with paying for it myself if Privilege can prove that they are being reasonable. If they don't then they are going to have to pay up.


So far they have not attempted to justify the delay based on anything in the contract and I don't believe that their "standard procedures" form part of the contract if they were not available to me at the time the contract was taken out. (This may be where "utmost good faith" comes in - but the problem with that is that I don't know what remedies are available for breach of utmost good faith other than avoiding the contract which is no use to me).


In fact there seems to be no benefit considering any court action in a case like this before taking it through the ombudsman so that is the route I will take.


The only thing I may to is to apply to the court to force them to return the car to me so that I can repair it myself (which they are currently refusing to do) and then it becomes purely about money and they can take as long as they like.

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