If you’re not happy with the service offered by your insurance company, or the way they have treated you, you have the right to complain.
There are a number of reasons why you might make a complaint about an insurance company.
After you make a complaint, the insurance company will look at your complaint and see if it’s appropriate to compensate you.
There’s a simple, step-by-step process you can go through to try and resolve the problem – first by complaining to your insurance company and then by asking the Financial Ombudsman Service to investigate your complaint for free.
If you bought your policy through an insurance broker, they might make your complaint for you – it’s worth asking, to save yourself the hassle.
It’s sometimes possible to resolve a complaint informally with a quick phone call to the insurance company’s helpline.
It’s a good first step – but make sure to note down who you spoke to, when, and what was said, just in case you need to take things further.
If you’re not happy with the company’s response to your informal complaint, or you prefer to write a letter than use the phone, you can make a written complaint.
Every insurance company must publish a formal complaints procedure that you can follow if things go wrong.
It tells you who to contact and when to expect a response. Many companies publish this on their website.
If you can’t find it, contact them and ask for a copy.
When writing a formal insurance complaint letter, be sure to:
Keep a copy of any correspondence and notes of any telephone conversations so you can pass them on to the Ombudsman Service if you need to.
You should also keep:
The Financial Ombudsman Service is a free service which helps to resolve disputes between consumers and financial services organisations, and deals with 5,000 enquiries every working day.
The Ombudsman Service is completely free to use.
Before you can use the Ombudsman Service, you have to follow your insurance company’s official complaints procedure.
Once you’ve complained they have eight weeks to respond.
You can contact the Ombudsman Service initially for advice, but they can only act after you get a final response from the insurance company, or as soon as the eight weeks are up.
Download and complete a complaint form from the Financial Ombudsman Service website.
Send it off with a copy of the final response letter from your insurance company plus any other documents you have that support your case.
The Ombudsman Service will look at the case based on the facts – you don’t have to worry about presentation or arguments, just about telling the truth in your own words.
They will listen to your side of the story and the insurance company’s side and try to come to a fair judgement.
They’ll either reject or accept your complaint, or help you come to a settlement with the company.
If it decides you’ve been unfairly treated it has the power to make the company:
Your case will first of all be looked at by an ‘adjudicator’ but if either you or your insurance company is unhappy with the outcome, it can be referred up the chain to an ‘Ombudsman’.
The Ombudsman’s decision is final and binding on your insurance company.
If you’re still not happy with it, you can still take the case to court, but you’ll have to pay a lot of expenses.
If the Ombudsman Service concludes you don’t deserve compensation then it’s extremely unlikely that you’ll win.
No. You shouldn’t need any special help or support if you complain.
Also, the Ombudsman Service is a free and informal service and they prefer to hear from you in your own words.
Everyone has the right to have someone else to act on their behalf.
Some people might like to have someone from their local Citizens Advice Bureau or a relative or friend to help them with their complaint.