A week before Christmas, a deer ran into the path of my car.
Luckily I was doing 30mph in a 60mph zone – it was the first episode of freezing weather and I was driving with extra caution.
The animal ran out of a field, hit the passenger side corner and then jumped into a nearby field.
Not at fault: A reader’s car insurance premiums skyrocketed after she hit a deer that rushed into the road
The only damage to my car that I could immediately see was to one of the headlights, which had shattered. But in the end, the wing and the hood also needed repair.
I had been with my insurer, Sheilas’ Wheels, for ten years with no complaints. I also had claims protection for 19 years which gave me a 47% reduction meaning my insurance cost £395 last year.
The repair work was all carried out by the insurer’s repairer.
Everything seemed fine, until I recently received my renewal bonus and she quoted me £1,291. I was in disbelief.
The incident was the result of an unpredictable animal, not a lack of concentration or judgment on my part, and I know I was riding perfectly well for the conditions.
We’ve also moved, but not that far, and into what I would consider a lower-risk area—in fact, our home insurance premium has gone down.
When I called to complain about the increase, Sheilas’ Wheels did not provide any satisfactory reason other than that I had made a claim. I was simply offered a £50 discount.
Sally Hamilton replies: Your complaint about your car premium being skyrocketed this year is part of the avalanche Money Mail has received in recent weeks from readers angry at what they see as motorway theft by UK insurers.
Like a herd, these companies are raising premiums like there’s no tomorrow, with average prices up 30%.
But few readers who have written to us have seen a hike as “deer” as yours.
How can a premium increase of nearly £900 be justified? You don’t drive a Lamborghini (you own a four-year-old Audi A5); you are 48 years old, not a teenager; and you had not complained to Sheilas’ Wheels until this one.
The incident was the result of a freak accident with an animal that was nearly impossible to avoid.
Your complaint to Sheilas’ Wheels, using these arguments, resulted in a paltry reduction of £50. What an insult to a ten year old client. No wonder you had to come to me for help.
I locked horns with the insurer on your behalf, asking them to review your quote and explain in detail why it had blown.
A few days later, he came straight back to you with an explanation that might mystify readers.
One of the reasons for your increased premium, other than the claim itself, is that the costs (around £5,000 of repairs) could not be recovered from another insurer.
It was unavoidable since the incident involved a wild animal, with no owner to sue for costs. In industry jargon, this is an “unrecoverable claim”.
The insurer also blamed inflation for driving up claims costs in general, which translated into higher premiums.
Your move, although in your eyes to a less busy area, may have contributed to the price increase.
So far it is (almost) understandable. But a multiplication by three could not be right.
After my intervention, and reviewing the policy, it appeared that there had been a problem downloading the data when your renewal quote was issued. This means that some information was missed.
Sheilas’ Wheels didn’t specify what it was, but it raised the bounty far more than it should have. The firm told you directly that the issue was now resolved, with a new quote offered of £859.
But that’s still more than double last year’s bill. The insurer has separately offered you £50 as an apology, which they say you can keep even if you transfer to another insurer.
Still not impressed, you decided to vote with your wheels and change insurer.
After shopping, you selected an Admiral’s policy, offering similar cover, for £563.
This year, more than ever, it’s essential to compare offers before accepting crazy renewal prices.
You can do this by using insurance comparison websites or a broker who can research the market for you.
Find one via the British Insurance Brokers’ Association’s ‘Find Insurance’ service (0370 950 1790 or biba.org.uk).
Although the incident you encountered seemed bizarre, collisions with deer are not uncommon. The Deer Aware campaign says there are up to 75,000 deer-related traffic accidents in the UK every year, resulting in several hundred injuries to people, as well as a number of human deaths.
October through December is a particularly high-risk time due to poor driving conditions and fewer daylight hours coinciding with rutting season for some breeds, when creatures tend to sprint down the road.
May and June can also be risky, as this is when young deer begin to leave breeding areas.
To the point
I have sent countless letters to Ovo Energy to withdraw my £2000 energy credit balance but have received no response.
My nephew has written to the mediator about this but we are still awaiting a response.
OVO Energy apologizes for the delay and has refunded your credit balance in full. Your direct debit has also been adjusted to reflect your current usage.
I bought a suitcase from a company that advertises on Facebook. It never arrived, but the company claims it was delivered.
I suspect this is a scam and have contacted Barclaycard for a chargeback but have not received it.
Barclaycard confirms that you have been refunded £54.42.
You received a pre-credit note while the company investigated the matter and you were then refunded permanently.
I paid £58.43 to FedEx via bank transfer but accidentally put my own name as the payee.
The money left my account but FedEx said they hadn’t received it. I was then sued by debt collectors, whom I paid for fear of further lawsuits. Can I get this money back?
JW, Bognor Regis.
Fedex confirmed that they received your payment in January and apologized for the inconvenience. The firm will contact you to refund your overpayment.
Deliveroo failed to deliver £126 takeout order
I placed a £126 takeaway order from one of my local curry houses through Deliveroo. After ordering, I saw an update on the app that it would come in two parts. I thought that was weird, but put it down to it being a busy Friday night.
The first delivery never arrived and the app told me the driver couldn’t find my property.
It wasn’t believable as I live a few minutes walk from the restaurant in a clearly numbered house on a residential street.
Shortly after, a driver arrived. He asked me for my two-digit Deliveroo delivery code to prove that I was the customer.
Once I told him he said he didn’t have my food but he came to tell me the other driver couldn’t find my address and he was going back to the restaurant to take my order .
It was the last time I saw a driver – and no food was delivered.
Deliveroo refused to investigate my claim and told me that because I handed in the code, I should have received my order. Please help.
RW, Balham, South London.
Sally Hamilton replies: It all smelled a bit fishy. What were the drivers doing?
Plus, not receiving your order meant you had to feed yourself and three hungry guests leftovers from the fridge. Not quite the Friday night fare they were expecting.
As frustrating as it was, you thought Deliveroo would step in and remedy your complaint. But it left a very bad taste in your mouth when he rejected your refund request.
I asked the company to investigate. Deliveroo did and a few days later came straight back to you with an apology.
He said he took your complaint seriously but provided no explanation to either you or me as to why your original order was arranged so oddly.
Nonetheless, you’re happy to get your £126 back, plus a £30 credit to your account for future orders – a delivery that arrived as promised.
- Write to Sally Hamilton at Sally Sorts It, Money Mail, Northcliffe House, 2 Derry Street, London W8 5TT or email email@example.com – include phone number, address and a note addressed to the offending organization giving him permission to speak to Sally Hamilton. Please do not send original documents as we cannot take responsibility for them. No legal responsibility can be accepted by the Daily Mail for the answers given.
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