Update from Pikl on Coronavirus (COVID-19)
With all the exclusions listed in various insurance policies, getting the right cover for your property can be confusing at times. If you are considering doing short term letting, swapping or subletting and taking out one of Pikl’s policies to cover you, but your main insurer isn’t comfortable with this, consider taking these steps to make sure you can get the cover you need.
By now you should have read the first part of this guide (if not look here). If you’ve followed our steps, you should have checked the cover in your policy booklet. You will also be aware that most insurers exclude or restrict cover if you’re planning on house swapping or bringing in paying guests. If your insurer says they aren’t comfortable covering you for these activities even if you take out one of Pikl’s supplementary policies, don’t be afraid to challenge them if they don’t have any clear policy sections on Guests or if you think it contradicts their own policy wording.
Most insurers exclude customers from taking more than one policy on one property at the same time, which they call ‘dual insurance.’ If you are looking to take out one of Pikl’s policies but your insurer isn’t prepared to keep your main insurance policy in place if you do so, be clear with your insurer that you are not asking them to cover the additional risk and that you are taking out extra insurance in addition to your existing policy with them. Standard aspects of cover such as flood and storm damage will continue to be covered by your existing insurer. You will not be ‘dual insured’ and so there should be no conflict with your existing insurance. In addition, if you explain that they will not be taking on any extra risk they should be more comfortable keeping your main insurance policy in place.
With Pikl’s products being new, we appreciate that many in the insurance industry are yet to catch up. If you call your insurer and the person at the other end of the phone says you aren’t allowed to take out extra cover, don’t be afraid to ask for a reason why. If they can’t give a reason or a satisfactory answer, there’s a good chance they don’t understand what you’re telling them. Use this point to challenge them and reiterate the points mentioned in the previous section. If they give the same response, be sure to check that they have verified this with their underwriter (the person or people who manage the risk for the insurance company). If not, then ask if your case can be referred to an underwriter for review.
Most insurers that don’t cover this activity can still keep your normal cover in place by placing what is called an endorsement on your policy. This is effectively a written amendment enlarging or restricting what you are covered for. In this case it can be used to restrict or exclude cover for the activity you are getting insurance elsewhere for, such as letting out your home to short term guests on sites such as Airbnb. With a specific exclusion listed on policy documents, your insurer may feel more comfortable keeping your insurance in place. An endorsement would usually be agreed by an underwriter reviewing your case. This will then allow you to continue to take out an additional policy with Pikl to cover the risk for your Guests.
Sometimes you can get different answers depending on who you speak to. If you’re getting nowhere, you could get better luck if you ring back later.
If your conversations with a call centre agent are going around in circles and you don’t feel like they are listening to you, it could be their hands are tied and it’s best to speak to a manager. They will have more discretion in making decisions and may be more willing to make a compromise.
If you decide to challenge your insurer, remember to be respectful but assertive. Sometimes you may need to challenge your insurer but if you become abusive or overly rude, you won’t get anywhere.
If you’ve followed our steps so far but you don’t think you’ve been treated fairly, consider making a complaint. If you’ve decided to escalate things, it’s best to have a log of everything that’s happened by taking notes. You’ll be in a better position to challenge decisions if you can remember what happened. For serious complaints, some customers may decide to take it to the Financial Ombudsman to mediate. However, before you do this you will need to escalate it as far as you can with your insurer first.
If your insurer indicates they still won’t be willing to cover you, you might want to consider leaving your existing insurer and then taking out insurance with another company who are prepared to cover you. Pikl are working with the Insurance Industry to gain a better understanding of which underwriters are prepared to keep customers on cover in these situations. We will be providing a list over the coming months to help customers with this.
Have you spoken to your insurer and had a bad experience? Have you successfully challenged an insurer’s decision? In order to make our service better for our customers, we’d love to hear from you. If you have some feedback you’d like to give us, please get in touch at email@example.com