How long does it take to pay a claim?


Hi, my motorbike was stolen in the beginning of July and my insurance company has still not made a settlement due to the case still being under investigation. Is it normal to take this long? What other steps should I be taking at this point?


Insurance Guardian replied:

Your bike was stolen in early July 2011 and you are still waiting for your insurance company ti pay up. You ask if that is usual, and the answer is no.

 I assume you reported the theft to the police and were given a crime incident number, and passed this to your insurance company. Some insurers will pay quickly if the amount involved is below a certain limit, some will investigate most cases, and some insurers will only investigate a few claims.

My first thought is that your bike might not have been parked or stored in accordance with your policy. For instance if you told your insurer the bike would be in a garage each night, but was stolen from the street, then your insurers may not pay.

Assuming you have done everything in accordance with your policy then I guess the insurers believe there is something suspicious about the claim. I cannot say what that might be, but each insurer looks for certain patterns. Alternatively they might just be inefficient, but four months is a very long time.

The best thing to do is to write to you rinsurarnce company. it feels easier to telephone or email, but letters are taken more seriously. At this stage do not complain, just ask politely for an explanation as to why the claim is taking so long. Ask for a reply in 10 working days. If that produces no response, or an unsatisfactory response then write again to complain. Again give them 10 working days, and at the end of that period write again saying you will contact the Financial Ombudsman Service if you do not have a satisfactory response within 5 working days. We used to have a separate Insurance Ombudsman but this role now lies with the Financial Ombudsman Service. They will look into the way the insurer has dealt with your claim, and if the insurer does not feel confident it has a reason not to pay, the payment should be forthcoming.

Please note that if you are paying your insurance premium on an instalment basis you must continue to pay the premiums as the whole premium is due to cover the risk.