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They Paid Out.....Eventually!
AA Car Insurance
Member Name: wigglylittleworm
AA Car Insurance
Advantages: British call centres
Disadvantages: they are just brokers, long time to wait for payment
I should point out that the AA act as brokers, your policy could be with any number of insurers, mine was with CIS which oddly would charge me much more to go with them directly. The whole process of setting up the policy was painless, for some reason I couldn't do the whole thing online but a quick phone call to their call centre meant that they took a deposit via credit card over the phone and took my bank details to pay the rest of the policy in instalments. The policy documents were sent out first class and arrived very quickly and the payment mandate soon afterwards. I made a change to my policy when I changed my car, it cost £15 to make this change which I think is standard for most companies and the change to my payments was handled efficiently. I really like the fact that you deal with British based call centres meaning the staff are easy to communicate with and there was never a long wait to speak to a human being. The payments were always taken for the correct amount on the correct day.
Insurance is one of those things that we buy and hope we don't need to use but on the 27th of December my car was hit when a pavement gritter slipped from the pavement into the side of my car. The first I knew about the accident was when the police called me up giving me details of the incident and a reference number as the driver had been honest enough to report what happened.
The damage to my car was pretty extensive, the whole passenger side was pretty badly damaged with the mirror and light broken. I phoned the claim line on my policy documents and a sympathetic chap made all the right noises and took down the details and passed me onto the CIS claim line as it was them who would administer the claim. I asked and was told on the phone that I would not have to pay the excess as it was clearly a no fault claim which turned out to be false and was told to get my car assessed.
The problem was that CIS did not tell me where to get my car assessed so I ended up phoning round garages and nowhere would do it, I ended up phoning back the CIS line and was told the name of a garage about 10 miles away. I took the car there at my convenience and had a short wait before they examined the car, took pictures of the damage and my milometer and tax disc to make sure it tallied with the details I had given when I took out the policy.
Then the fun and games begun. I ended up waiting more than a month for CIS engineers to assess my claim, in the meantime the parts of the car damaged were being exposed to snow and grit and salt and the damage getting worse and rust starting to form. I ended up phoning CIS claim line several times on their 0845 number, each time I was kept on hold for up to 30 minutes to speak to an operator and I ran up a fortune in phone bills. Eventually after pushing the company to act on my claim the engineer phoned me and asked a lot of questions about the car and ended up giving me an offer to write the car off. I was surprised at how much I was offered, it was more than the car had been initially assessed as being worth by the insurance phone line and was a really good price. It took a further fortnight for CIS to pick the car up by which time it was illegally parked as the tax and MOT had ran out at the end of January.
I had to send all my documents like driving license and MOT and service log to the insurers and I received a cheque fairly quickly. Despite what the staff on the phone line had told me they did deduct the excess of £400 and I would have to claim it back.
The AA also sent me details of the department which recovers uninsured losses, in my case it was the £400 excess I wanted to claim. I phoned this line and was put straight through to an operator who took details. I have sent proof of my excess off and as the other party have admitted liability it should be straightforward to get the money but unfortunately they could not give me a timescale on the phone.
I would take my insurance out with the AA again but with some reservations, I think the service you will receive very much depends on who they broker your policy with. It took around 7 weeks from the initial accident to go through the claim process and get some money and nearly 9 weeks on I am still waiting for my excess but I think that insurers in general operate at their own speed so it is not a terrible time to wait but CIS definitely need to improve call waiting times on their claim line. They did pay out without any hassle or arguments which is the main thing you want in an insurer.
Summary: Insurance brokers
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