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HONESTY IS PEST POLICY; Inquiries raise premium costs.

Byline: STEPHEN HAYWARD Consumer Correspondent

HONEST customers are being hit with higher premiums for calling their insurer then NOT making a claim.

Some face hikes of hundreds of pounds after simply notifying firms of minor incidents that did not involve a pay-out.

Others were similarly stung merely for inquiring about their policy excesses, experts say.

Insurance firms have defended the practice, saying the inquiries, logged on a central industry database, raise "risk profiles".

They insist that the phone calls indicate policyholders who are more likely to make claims.

But experts say the moneygrabbing tactic is "endemic", and costing policyholders millions. Car drivers are thought to be hardest hit by it but it is also believed to affect people querying damage to buildings or theft of property.

One driver rang his insurer to ask if it was worth claiming for hailstone damage then decided not to.

But at renewal time he saw a note flash up on price comparison sites saying he had made a claim.

The 54-year-old, from Selby, North Yorks, was offered PS50 compensation but is now worried about future quotes. Martyn James, of consumer complaints site Resolver, said firms treated such inquiries as "claimable incidents", adding: "It's completely unfair."

Matt Oliver, of price comparison site GoCompare, said: "If you notify an insurer after any accident or damage, even if a claim is unlikely, you could be deemed a higher risk of making a claim or committing an offence in the future."

The Financial Ombudsman Service said it was seeing a rise in related complaints.

But Malcolm Tarling, of the Association of British Insurers, said: "Telling your insurer that you do not want to make a claim does not automatically mean your premium will go up."

s.hayward@sundaymirror.co.uk

"Notifying incidents can deem you more of a risk MATT OLIVER OF PRICE WEBSITE GOCOMPARE

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Publication:Sunday Mirror (London, England)
Date:Apr 28, 2019
Words:307
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