Not Automatic Renewal


I was stopped by the police on Thursday for driving without insurance – a fact I was blissfully unaware of.

My insurers were RAC – I’ve been with them for years.

The renewal package arrived as usual in March. I opened it and then plonked it in the folder I keep for the car (MOT etc).

I did not read the whole document so did not realise that this year (for the first time ever in my 35 years of motoring) I actively had to phone them to renew. In every other year it is the opposite – you have to take action if you want to cancel the policy.

The company told the police officer (and also told me later) that the reason the arrangement had changed was because I had cancelled a second policy with them last October (for my other car). They said that because the two policies were linked there could no longer be an assumption that I would want an automatic renewal.

Later, when the complaints department called me they said that the above was not true and that, because of restructuring within the RAC, they were updating customer details.

They refused to confirm if the new system applied to all customers or just a percentage.

I’m guessing you will say it’s my fault. However, I am checking this out because I feel so angry about the situation. I now have 6 points on my licence, have had to take out new, expensive insurance, had my car locked up in a pound and will have to pay a fine. Not to mention the humiliation/upset/tears of yesterday.

Do I not have any reasonable expectation, as a long term customer, that the industry and company ‘normal practice’ will apply? If they change something so fundamental should they not notify people via a separate and very clearly worded letter?

Paula Says:

I understand why you are concerned.

In relation to your complaint against the insurance company that is outside of my area of expertise I’m afraid. You may want to consider involving the insurance ombudsman.

In terms of the no insurance offence the court do take the view that you have to check documentation thoroughly and that its your responsibility to make sure that the cover is in place.

This means that you would have struggled to argue special reasons to avoid the points.

I’m afraid if you have accepted the fixed penalty the matter is at an end anyway and it is not possible to take the matter further.

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