How can my insurer withdraw cover just because I've been burgled?

13 July 2018
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My wife and I have been burgled twice in 18 months, once with a claim of £4,000 and a second time when the crooks were more successful, resulting in a stolen car and a £41,000 claim on our contents insurance.

We have been with Hiscox the whole time and its initial customer service was amazing. But that has all been soured by a letter we received saying that it will no longer insure us. As a result, we were given 21 days from our old policy ending to find something new and, lo and behold, no one will touch us.

How on earth can this be? Hiscox didn’t even offer us a ridiculous deal with a high premium and a high excess.

What annoys me more is that a week or so before the letter, it called us to ask what home security we had in place. My reply was that we had installed an alarm and CCTV worth £3,000 and spent £10,000 on a security gate. But there was no mention of it not renewing the insurance and at no stage had anyone told us that if we claim we run the risk of not being insured. As a result, I am now spending time trying to get a provider to insure us and having no joy at all. How are companies able to do this?

SE/Cobham

It’s a shocking situation to find yourself in, but I’m afraid I have heard plenty of stories of insurers deciding to stop offering cover if they don’t think they can make a profit out of people. To my mind, it’s the same as a bookie refusing to accept a bet from someone who’s had a few winners, as insurance is essentially a gamble between yourself and a company about whether you are likely to be burgled.

The good news is that after my intervention, Hiscox had second thoughts. It hadn’t seemed to take account of the extra security you’d invested in, but once I’d brought this to its attention, it relented. The company told me: “Having reviewed all the details and taking into account some additional security measures that SE has recently informed us of, we are able to offer him a renewal of his policy, subject to some new terms and conditions.”

If you’re struggling to get cover, speak to a broker, as they can find providers not listed on comparison websites. Use the British Insurance Brokers’ Association free online tool to find a local broker: Biba.org.uk/find-insurance. 

OUTCOME: Hiscox agrees to renew insurance cover

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