Consumer watchdog, Which? is in the news once again as they are now condemning outrageous fees being charged by insurance companies for renewals minor changes in policies. Amongst the charges they are naming as exorbitant would fees for small amendments which would include updating personal information, change of address and the transfer of different vehicles. In many cases these fees are as high as £30. Renewing or cancelling policies can also carry a service charge which the group finds deplorable.
It appears as if Which? is criticising the fact that these fees are not transparent on insurers’ websites and that consumers have trouble accessing the necessary information when getting quotes. Two companies specifically named in the complaint are Swiftcover and Axa that so, indeed, charge a £30 fee for those minor changes such as name and address changes and when changing autos on their insurance policies.
Another insurance company, Hastings, adds a £35 charge for similar changes and also charges their customers £5 for renewing unless the transaction is done online. Then there is 50plus that adds a £10 renewal fee and both of these companies have what they call a ‘setup’ fee which they charge £10 for. Cancelling insurance also comes at a high cost as some companies such as Budget Insurance charge customers £75 to cancel whilst others such as Zurich, Axa and More Than charge a cancellation fee of £50.
Which? contends that the fees these companies charge should be in line with company administrative costs as opposed to a way to bilk customers out of money. The call this a disgrace that insurance companies are charging fees just to make simple changes to policies which take only moments to complete. They are asking that the Financial Conduct Authority step in to see to it that insurers can only assess fees in keeping with their ‘real costs.’