Insurers slammed for extortionate admin fees

Some insurance companies are charging ‘extortionate’ fees for a driver to change minor details on a car policy, a study by Which?  has found. The consumer magazine investigated car and home insurance company administration fees after complaints from consumers.It found that Hastings was charging customers £35 to change a surname on a policy, while Axa and Swiftcover were charging £30 for minor changes including transferring the policy to a new car or changing address.

The damage is worse if a policy is cancelled, with Sheila’s Wheels and Axa among those charging a £50 cancellation fee, while Budget Insurance doesn’t live up to its name – it’s fleecing customers for £75.”These charges should reflect the real cost to the company and not a way of making easy money from consumers who are already struggling with high and rising insurance premiums,” said Which? chief executive Peter Vicary-Smith. “We want insurance companies to be clearer about the fees that they charge and stop hiding the details away in pages of terms and conditions,” he added.

However, Swiftcover has moved to defend itself. Quoted in The Telegraph, it said that Which? has “simply got it wrong,” and that the company “has always been an online-only insurer, allowing customers to change their policy online whenever they wish, and as often as they need to – without charge.”

It conceded, however, that a customer choosing to call a help desk to update their policy would incur an “admin charge of £30, like with many other insurers.”

So it’s ok to charge £30 to have someone type a couple of words, because other people do it.