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Drivers Who Don't Read Policies Before Buying

Oct 29, 2007


FOUR out of five Irish motorists don't bother fully reading their insurance policy before signing on the dotted line, according to a survey published yesterday.

Consumer advocates have expressed concern at the worrying revelation that drivers may not have the cover they assume they have.

The survey of 747 motorists conducted by Behaviour and Attitudes on behalf of Chubb Ireland found motorists are led by price and not the fine details of the policy.

Only 22 per cent actually read their policy from cover to cover before buying it while 76 per cent choose not to and 11 per cent of these don't read their policy at all.

Dermott Jewell of the Consumers' Association of Ireland said motorists are being foolish by not reading their policies.

'It's the worst consumer practice,' he said. 'It really is the last thing consumers should do. They should know not only they have insurance but exactly what type of policy it is and if it suits their needs.' More than half of motorists surveyed didn't know what the excess on their policy was while 6 per cent didn't know there was an excess.

Some 37 per cent of drivers chose their policy purely on price while 39 per cent will only opt for a better policy if the price is reasonable.

Just 19 per cent chose the 'best motor policy' regardless of price.

The biggest complaint motorists had about insurance was the price with 42 per cent citing it as their main gripe.

The second biggest complaint was about unsuitable courtesy cars following the hassle of sorting out a claim.

Given the choice, 84 per cent would like the ability to fix the value of their car upfront for the whole year and 62 per cent would like to choose their own repairer if their car was in an accident. Barry O'Dwyer, Personal Insurance Manager of Chubb Insurance, said it was astonishing that motorists do not even bother checking what they're buying.

'As so many motorists claim to be price sensitive, it is surprising to see how few actually check out what they are buying. The responses reflect how motor insurance is traditionally perceived, a commodity purchase dri ven by price.' Mr O'Dwyer pointed out that almost all car insurance ads focus on savings rather than the quality of the cover.

'As an industry we've done a poor job of selling quality of service and cover. This creates an assumption that all policies are the same, so few bother to investigate their cover.' He added that it is ironic motorists will spend so much time researching and selecting their ideal car but risk being out of pocket from buying poor quality insurance.

'What many motorists don't consider is that cheap car insurance can only be offered by restricting the breadth of cover. Restricted cover can mean being out-of-pocket after a claim and this can lead to customer dissatisfaction.' Mr O'Dwyer recommended motorists take five things into account when purchasing car insurance. 1. If your car is written off, how will the insurer decide on the replacement value of the vehicle? 2. How much excess do you want to pay for both total and partial losses? 3. How will you be affected if an accident is not your fault? 4. Are you comprehensively insured for driving your car, and other cars? What if you lend your car to others to drive? 5. In what circumstances will your insurer offer you a courtesy car and what type of car will it be?

(c) 2007 Daily Mail; London (UK). Provided by ProQuest Information and Learning. All rights Reserved.

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