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Problems getting insurance
It’s up to insurers to decide whether they will offer you insurance. Sometimes, there may be a reason why an insurer will refuse to cover you, or try to charge you more than other people. This page explains why this may be and what you can do if you have problems getting insurance.
Older drivers and travellers
If an insurer or broker can’t offer you insurance because of your age, most of them will refer you to an alternative insurer or give details of a signposting service such as the British Insurance Brokers’ Association’s (BIBA’s) ‘Find a Broker’ service .You can use this service to find specialist insurers who can offer specific types of cover based on factors such as age and medical condition.
You can find the BIBA’s ‘Find a Broker’ service by phoning their helpline on 0870 950 1790 or by going to their website at www.biba.org.uk.
You can find out about Age UK's over 50s car insurance at www.ageuk.org.uk.
You can find out about Age UK's travel insurance at www.ageuk.org.uk.
Why might you have a problem getting insurance
Insurers decide the terms and conditions on which to offer insurance cover or whether to offer cover at all. You may have a problem getting insurance if you have a complex medical history, are elderly or have criminal convictions. You may also have difficulty getting building insurance to cover flood damage if your property has suffered damage in the past or if there is a history of flooding in your neighbourhood.
An insurer may want more information about you before deciding whether to insure you and some insurers will not insure you at all, because they think you are too great a risk.
You may have specialist needs. For example, you may take part in a particularly dangerous sport or activity and find that general insurance policies won't cover you.
You may have been discriminated against. However, insurers are allowed to discriminate against you in certain circumstances. For example, travel insurers may charge you more if you're older, while motor insurers may charge you more if you're younger.
What to do if you have trouble finding insurance
If you're having trouble finding insurance, try using an insurance broker who should be able to find an insurer that will cover you. The British Insurance Brokers Association runs a find-a-broker service which can put you in touch with specialist insurers.
You could also contact a charity or organisation that helps people with your particular needs since they may have a list of insurers that will provide cover, or brokers who can help you find insurance.
Flood insurance in high risk areas
The Department of Environment Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) has published a guide 'Obtaining flood insurance in high risk areas' which provides information that will help you to obtain a suitable policy.
It explains how to get specialist help and what information you may be asked to give, provides tips on how to reduce the impact of flooding and provides the contact details of key organisations.
If you are having problems finding insurance, you may be eligible for Floodre. This is a new UK-wide scheme to help homeowners at high-risk of flooding obtain affordable insurance. For information on eligibility and to find insurers participating in Floodre, see www.floodre.co.uk. The National Flood Forum or Scottish Flood Forum will also be able to provide advice on accessing Floodre insurance.
Insurance and Discrimination
Insurers decide whether to offer you insurance and how much to charge you based on the risk of something happening to you. Sometimes this may mean they are allowed to discriminate against you, for example, they may be allowed to refuse to insure you or to charge you more than other people.