Is There Such Thing As An Honest Insurer?

A few months ago my house was burgled during the day whilst I was at work. In the burglary a spare set of my car keys were taken from the property meaning that I had to get the locks changed on my car to prevent it from being stolen. I phoned my insurance company Sheila’s Wheels (who are a subsidiary of Esure) and informed them of my situation. They insisted that although no actual damage was done to my car they would take it to their own repairs centre to get the locks changed.

I told Sheila’s Wheels that this type of job could only be carried out at a main dealership but they ignored this advice and kept my car for 3 weeks until eventually taking it to a dealership. After 3.5hours at the dealership the locks had been changed on my car, they then dropped it off at Sheila’s Wheels repair centre. The car stayed there for another 3 days until it was arranged to be released back to me.

I had been told from the start that my insurance excess was £250.00 and that the maximum amount Sheila’s Wheels would contribute towards a new lock set was £500.00. Therefore I wasn’t expecting to pay much over £250.00 but was surprised to hear that on top of that I was also asked to pay an additional £214.37. Until I had paid the total cost of £464.37 to Sheila’s Wheels they refused to release my car back to me from their repair centre.

Unbeknown to Sheila’s Wheels I have a number of contacts at the dealership and I asked them how much the total work came to on my car for the new lock set. I was surprised to hear that the total was only £735.00 and I could not understand why I had to pay an extra £214.37 as I’d already clarified with Sheila’s Wheels that my courtesy car and any storage and movement of my car was covered within my policy and not charged as extras.

I was angry as not only did the job to replace my locks take so long but Sheila’s Wheels appeared to be significantly overcharging me too. I rang them on numerous occasions asking for answers and informed them that I had the original copy of the bill from the dealership. I wanted to know why I had been charged £214.37 extra than I should have been. I sent them an email with a copy of the bill from the dealership asking for answers. I told Sheila’s Wheels that if I did not receive any correspondence from them within 7 days I would begin to issue legal proceedings.

7 days came and went with no response so I asked one of our Trainee Solicitors at Express Solicitors to look into it for me.

Sheila’s Wheels received a letter from Express Solicitors to issue legal proceedings; and a short while after I received a call from one of their customer service representatives. I was offered a full refund for the £214.37 extra I had paid as well as another £100.00 as compensation with an apology letter!

Although I’m thankful this issue has now been resolved I can’t help but to think about the thousands of other motorists they insure and other possible ‘mistakes’ that they make, resulting in motorists forking out even more of their hard earned cash. In 2012 Esure’s profits hit £115.5m and I’m sure that figure is much greater now.  Insurance premiums are expensive enough and it’s time the government did something about greedy deceitful insurers.

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