Having an application for home insurance rejected or refused is a major issue for several reasons. First and foremost, you want your property to be protected. Your mortgate company is also likely require you to have home insurance as a condition of the loan. And the very fact that you've had insurance refused is a 'materal fact' which you have to disclose on all future insurance applications. You may feel – understandably – that you're caught in a vicious circle.
However, there are steps which you can take to appeal an insurance refusal or at least overcome it. These steps include an internal dispute resolution, the financial ombudsman, a court case or even a simple letter of complaint.
Step 1: Get the refusal in writing
In almost all situations, your insurer is required to make any refusal officially in writing. If your insurer calls you on the phone to state that your claim has been refused verbally, you should ask them to put this in writing. It is best to have tangible evidence should you need to call upon it later.
Step 2: Try to resolve the refusal informally
Once you've received the written reason for the refusal it may become clear that someone has made a mistake, or misunderstood your situation, or that you haven't explained your circumstances properly. SImply by clarifying matters, the refusal may be overturned.
Step 3: Make a formal complaint
Lodge a complaint in writing to your insurer's Internal Dispute Resolution (or IDR) Department. You should be able to obtain the contact information for this department from your insurer, either on their website or over the phone.
How to write a letter of complaint
Any complaint letters are best kept brief and to the point; stating facts clearly and logically in a readable format. Say what you are unhappy about and why, and state what you want the insurer to do about your complaint. Remember to follow up any correspondence, and ask for confirmation of receipt. Badgering the company is not advisable, but you do have the right to be apprised of what they are doing. If they prove unco-operative, make a note of it and keep any evidence as you might be able to use this later in support of your case.
Although you may be upset, remember that being offensive or aggressive is unlikely to help your case in the long run.
Step 4: Approach the Financial Ombudsman Service
You are required to give the insurer the chance to respond to your complaint before taking further action and the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) will not act until eight weeks have elapsed since you contacted your insurer's IDR Department.
But if your insurer fails to address your complaint or you are still dissatisfied when they do, you can escalate the matter by taking your case to the FOS. The FOS exists to see that disputes between insured and insurer can be settled impartially
If you genuinely have a case against your insurer when you are refused insurance, the FOS should be able to help you. Using the FOS has the added benefit of being free and informal to consumers, so you can complain without the risks you might face when taking your insurer to court. Insurers are obliged to abide by the ruling of the Ombudsman by law, so you can rest assured that any result in your favour will be followed up on.
Step 5: Take legal advice or contact a specialist insurance provider
Going to court is a final option and is likely to be expensive. If you have not received a satisfactory resolution through the FOS, you may prefer to apply for insurance with a specialist provider like HomeProtect. We aim to give you a competitive quote online, even if you have been refused buildings insurance for any reason in the past.
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HomeProtect include many of the add ons as standard, making them a very comprehensive insurer. Being underwritten by AXA is also reassuring. Trustpilot, 29 August 2017
Everyone at HomeProtect has been brilliant with helping me set up my home insurance. I made several calls with different questions, and each one was answered professionally and dealt with promptly. I would definitely be recommending Home Protect to friends and family. In fact... I already have. Trustpilot, 7 August 2017
Very pleased to have transferred from previous company - much better premium rate, prompt service. Trustpilot, 29 July 2017