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SALLY SORTS IT: Pet insurance let me down when my poor old dog died

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In March 2021, my dog Remy’s insurance was up for renewal. I actually have been with The Insurance Emporium for several years with out a claim. I noticed the premium had increased significantly to £520 so I checked the summary and it appeared unchanged so I paid it.

Unfortunately, in July 2021, Remy developed a lump on her tail. Once I took her in to the vets for a procedure, the difficult decision was made to have her put down.

The vet accomplished the paperwork and I received £108 from the insurer (its contribution to my bill). I also got an email informing me the policy had been cancelled and that it could forward any refund as a consequence of me.

Grief: A reader was landed with a hefty bill when her dog needed to be put down after her insurer claimed the animal was too old

I later contacted The Insurance Emporium and queried why I had not received any payout for her death nor a refund for the eight unused months of the policy.

I used to be then directed to clauses within the policy and reminded of the importance of reading the small print. I used to be told that as Remy had turned eight, she was not covered for death and in that case the insurance would not include euthanasia either.

I think the policy wording was deceptive, because it appeared there could be a payout of fifty pc of the acquisition price of the pet aged over six.

I used to be also informed that I might not get a refund because I had made a claim that had been paid out. I might suggest that morally the corporate has a responsibility to tell customers that they’d be higher off not making a claim for what amounted to £108 but cancelling the policy and receiving £347 of unused premiums.

Without insurance, I might have paid fees of £464, but I actually have ended up paying £876 — the annual premium of £520, plus my contribution to the vets’ fees, £356 (£464 minus the £108 insurance payout).

B. M., Penzance, Cornwall.

Sally Hamilton replies: Having lost my two beloved cats inside a brief space of time in the course of the pandemic, I understand how hard it should have been to have Remy put down. It actually might be difficult to think straight about an insurance claim in that moment.

But whenever you got here out of the fog of shock, you questioned for those who had been treated fairly.

The nub of your problem was Remy had turned eight by the point she died — which meant no death payment could be paid in any circumstances. You’ll have needed to delve deeper into the policy to see this significant exclusion whenever you renewed.

Once you compared your policy to a previous yr’s paperwork you found that the major ‘death of a pet’ wording had subtly modified. The sooner version said a claim might be made from ‘as much as £1,000 in case your pet dies or is put to sleep following an injury, illness or condition; the worth paid less 50 pc for pets aged six years or more’.

The 2021 policy differed barely but because it seems significantly, stating ‘as much as £1,500 in case your pet dies or is put to sleep following an injury’. You suggest the removal of the illness element must have been highlighted.

Indeed, I agree the insurer could have warned in plainer language that having reached the age of eight, more exclusions applied to Remy. Because it seems, due to her age, her death wouldn’t have been covered even under the older policy. 

Having reluctantly accepted the refusal of your claim, you questioned why the insurer had not suggested you could be higher off not claiming and taking the premium refund as an alternative.

The corporate says it is just not permitted to discourage valid claims. I felt The Insurance Emporium’s approach quite too dogmatic so asked it to reconsider its stance. 

And I’m pleased to say it agreed and as a gesture of goodwill, and for the loyalty you’ve got shown the corporate through the years, it would refund £304. This represents seven months of premiums, as Remy died in the course of the fifth month of the policy term.

Straight to the Point 

I actually have £147 value of Thomas Cook travellers’ cheques left over from a skiing holiday 20 years ago. Is there any way of redeeming these now the firm has gone bust?

R. S., Southampton.

AlixPartners, which is liquidating the travel company, continues to be accepting claims from creditors. 

There is no such thing as a guarantee you’ll receive a full refund, but chances are you’ll get a proportion of the worth of the cheques. 

Register your details at thomascookukliquidations.com

*** 

Back in December, I used to be offered a cell phone by an O2 customer support employee, but I declined. 

Nevertheless, two days later the brand new cell phone arrived. I sent it back to the address I used to be given by the corporate, but I’m still being charged £34.82 a month.

I. M., email.

O2 believes you spoke to a scammer who asked you to share a one-time activation code over the phone. 

The firm won’t ask you for passwords, passcodes or PINs. The address you used was fraudulent, too. O2 has cancelled the contract and refunded your payments.

*** 

I visited Nationwide to open a savings account and was asked if I wanted a money card. I said no, but was told accounts without money cards should be opened online. Is that this correct?

C. C., Basildon, Essex.

No. You may open an account in branch with out a money card. Nationwide apologised.

Identity theft fraud has put my mortgage on hold  

In February 2021, I spotted £411 had come out of my Lloyds Checking account as a direct debit from JD Williams. 

I didn’t recognise this transaction and have never used JD Williams, an internet and catalogue fashion company.

I contacted JD Williams that day and after some forwards and backwards it opened a fraud investigation, finally concluding a fraudster had used my details to order goods. The corporate emailed me to say any antagonistic information linked to my credit file could be removed inside 28 days.

This was 13 months ago — but the knowledge continues to be there. My mortgage provider says my record shows I lived in block of flats in London (I didn’t) and had ordered 1000’s of kilos of products without paying.

I contacted credit reference agency Experian, which liaised directly with JD Williams. The latter said it was not willing to remove the antagonistic details without chatting with me first and Experian closed the file.

JD Williams opened one other case but didn’t remove the info. We’re within the strategy of selling our home and our recent mortgage was refused as a consequence of this antagonistic information.

J. S., Bearsted, Kent.

Sally Hamilton replies: I feel badly for you that a list of errors on JD Williams’ part was holding up your move. I asked the firm to rearrange for the black mark in your credit file to be erased as a matter of urgency.

It took three weeks for JD Williams to analyze your case but finally it got here back to substantiate the issue had been resolved — though it offered no explanation as to what had gone flawed.

The corporate apologised to you directly and offered you redress of £2,000, which you accepted. I wish you well in your recent home — whenever you get there.

  • Write to Sally Hamilton at Sally Sorts It, Money Mail, Northcliffe House, 2 Derry Street, London W8 5TT or email sally@dailymail.co.uk — include phone number, address and a note addressed to the offending organisation giving them permission to check with Sally Hamilton. Please don’t send original documents as we cannot take responsibility for them. No obligation might be accepted by the Every day Mail for answers given. 

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