Small change to my details – large cost for change


Small policy change -big charge for changing insurance details

Widely reported on 22 September 2010.

Minor changes to insurance policies could cost as much as £55 a time. Insurance providers are imposing administration fees for alterations to policies, such as a change of marital status or address.

Which? Money has discovered that seven-in-ten car insurance providers and one-in-three home insurers will impose administration fees for small changes to a customer’s policy. In some instances, the sums involved appear disproportionate to the work involved in making the alterations, which involved a minor amendment to a document that is then sent by email or post to the policyholder.

Research found that car insurers charge customers £21 on average for policy detail changes. Home insurers impose £18 on average for changes. Some insurers are charging £30 for additional copies of policy documents.

Tough luck for young drivers

Among the highest chargers are those who specialise in insuring young drivers – who tend to be paying high premiums in the first place. I-Kube, for instance, charges £55 for changes. On the home insurance front Bluefin charges a £35 fee for changes.

Cancellation fees

Cancelling a policy can also prove expensive. Which? Money found that consumers are losing significant percentages of their premium refund and facing fees of up to £85 for cancelling their insurance mid-way through their policy term.

Exorbitant charges

Which? chief executive Peter Vicary-Smith said: ‘Whether it’s £30, £55 or an £85 fee, insurance companies are going to have a hard time trying to justify the exorbitant charges they’re billing for routine tasks such as changing an address on a policy or providing duplicate policy documents.

‘It’s about time insurance companies start treating their customers fairly and make administrative charges proportionate and transparent.’

Of course the same thing happens if you change details for a flight booking.

No doubt the information is somewhere to be found in the terms and conditions, which you will agree without reading. What many online providers are saying, under their breath anyway, is that if you want a cheap service we will make the efficiencies to provide it, but ask us to make a change and you will pay very dearly.

Tell us your experience.