Immediate confusion led to £300 fine and six points on license | drive a car

At the beginning of April we were stopped by the police and told that we were driving without insurance. I didn’t panic at first because I knew we had received the new policy information from Direct Line and I thought it was a big misunderstanding. We paid £90 on the spot for the temporary car insurance we needed to legally drive our vehicle away.

However, it turned out that Direct connection had given us a new policy number but no actually policy.

In December, I received an email from Direct Line saying “your auto insurance will be renewing soon” with a bold “new policy number” at the top. The quote looked good, so I took it off my to-do list, and when I received an “renewal pack” in the mail, it seemed like additional confirmation. That was clearly not the case.

We need a release letter from Direct Line to extend our insurance backdated to January 6th (when our policy ran out) to challenge the £300 fine and six points on my husband’s licence.

Howeverit declined if it says it informed us by text and letter that we had to take action to update our policy. We had to pay £713 to renewinstead of the originally quoted £432, as well as the £300 fine.

JD, London

You have been hurt by this experience after being misled by the correspondence you received from Direct Line including the new policy number. You also did not see that the payment had not come from your account.

You complain that Direct Line’s vague language has led you to wrongly assume that your policy has been extended, but that doesn’t matter.

Direct Line told us: “We are sorry that the customer feels that the correspondence regarding their new policy number was confusing. However, after carefully reviewing our correspondence, it was emphasized that they should proactively confirm the renewal as the policy was not set to auto-renew.

“We would like to ask customers to carefully read all materials supplied. If an insurance policy does not automatically renew, the policyholder must contact us and arrange payment before a specified date if they wish to remain covered.”

Auto-renewal is a bit of a “double-edged sword,” said James Daley, the general manager of Fairer Finance. “It’s often labeled as bad, but for things like auto and home insurance, it makes sure you at least have some coverage.”

“Insurers have always automatically selected you for auto-renewal, but the Financial Conduct Authority has told them to give customers a clear choice. This has led companies to change the way they handle auto-renewal and is sure to win some people over.”

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