Our leased Range Rover Velar was stolen in October. The police never recovered it because the thieves ripped out its tracker, which was later found thrown in a ditch.
We sent our insurer, LV=, CCTV footage from a camera on our neighbour’s drive, which also overlooks ours, showing the thieves taking the vehicle. But LV= says the footage shows the car was left unlocked because the lights didn’t flash when the doors were opened.
We know the car was locked and then locked again with a steering lock — the CCTV shows the thieves sawing this off. Yet LV= is still refusing to pay our £36,000 claim.
The firm has admitted to us that had we not provided CCTV, it would have paid out for our claim as it wouldn’t have had any ‘evidence’.
C. M., by email.
Insurer LV refused to pay out after one reader’s leased Range Rover claiming the lights didn’t flash to show the doors being unlocked
The good news is that LV= has overturned its original decision and will pay your full £36,000 claim.
It says it now believes you were probably the victim of so‑called keyless car theft and has apologised for the delay in reaching this outcome.
Keyless technology is increasingly common in newer cars and allows you to open your car door without having your key in your hand.
Instead, the vehicle sends out a radio signal and, provided your key fob is within range, the door will automatically open.
But the technology can be vulnerable to hacking.
Of course, LV= knows all this, so it’s surprising it was so quick to reject your claim.
And you are not the first person to have trouble claiming on your insurance following a theft.
Money Mail has previously revealed how insurers have refused to pay out when belongings are stolen from cars because drivers cannot prove the car break-ins took place.
It is always worth checking the wording of your policy as some specify that ‘force and violence’ must have been used.
In the meantime, consider investing in a Faraday pouch or box, which will cut off the signal from your keys stored inside the box and stop thieves piggybacking on them. Mrs H. bought me one last year for my birthday.
I’ve tested it, and not only does it stop the key signal reaching the car, it also means she spends far less time searching the house for the keys.
You have YOUR say
Every week Money Mail receives hundreds of your letters and emails about our stories. Here are some about our article on equity release and the alternatives which could save you thousands.
Beware of anyone who arrives at your doorstep in a smart suit and parks the latest BMW on your drive.
He will have used other people’s money to pay for it all. You will not know you’ve been stitched up until ten or 20 years later.
G. J., Birmingham.
My parents took out an equity release loan four months ago. They are 82 and 78 and they needed the money to pay for care.
At the rate of 3.2 per cent, they would have to live to 104 and 100 respectively before the £80,000 loan doubled.
T. P., Cheltenham.
As a mortgage broker, I am yet to see anyone who would pass the affordability test for a retirement interest-only mortgage.
Those who need them tend to only have state pensions; people with good pensions don’t tend to need them.
M. H., London.
We took out a £70,000 equity release loan in 2012. In 2018 we had to downsize, because my husband could no longer climb the stairs.
With an interest rate of 6.9 per cent we ended up having to pay back almost £118,000 — including a £19,000 early repayment charge.
C. C., by email.
You need to have an income to support a retirement mortgage.
It’s a problem because a lot of people who want them don’t have the income and that is why the take-up has been so low.
G. N., London.
I wish I knew there were alternatives to equity release when we took one out several years ago.
We were attracted to the loans because we had no dependants, but it has ended up being very expensive.
J. S., by email.
I took a pension with Eagle Star but stopped payments many years ago. Recently, I came across the last account details, sent to me in May 2002.
Probably ten to 15 years ago I received correspondence informing me that Eagle Star was no more.
I remember filling in some forms regarding the policy. Since then I haven’t received any information and would like to know how I retrieve any money I am owed.
W. R., Rochester.
You had a Rainbow pension from Eagle Star but I’m afraid there is no crock of gold at the end of this one.
Your policy moved to Zurich. The bad news is that the charges levied from when you stopped contributing were so high that they ate away every penny you had saved and the meagre investment growth.
You set up the policy in mid-1993 paying £30 per month and stopped contributing at the end of 1995.
At the time of the statement you sent me from May 2002 your plan had a value of £714. All that had gone by 2014.
Charges were about £6.75 per month. Zurich says this covered initial set-up, including the cost of advice, as well as the ongoing administration, such as the cost of investing funds, maintaining computer systems and complying with pension regulations.
Zurich says you were sent an annual statement showing how the value of your policy was changing. A spokesman adds: ‘We also sent additional letters highlighting the effect of charges and urging him to consider his options.’
I’ve double-checked that those letters were sent to the correct address so it may be that you did not put two and two together when letters arrived from Zurich.
Your case highlights how important it is to keep a close check on the value of investments and to scrutinise every letter we get from investment companies with which we do business.
Straight to the point
Npower has twice tried to install a smart meter in our home.
The first time the engineer arrived and said it was impossible to install one because our fuse box was too far away from our gas and electricity meters.
A month later, it sent another engineer who said it wouldn’t work but went ahead anyway.
The electricity supply to our dining and utility room has frequently cut out since then.
A. F., by email.
The energy giant apologises but says its initial investigations indicate they are due to human error rather than the smart meter itself.
Npower is investigating further but has reimbursed you £50 for the callout fee and offered a goodwill gesture of £175.
Over the course of nearly a year, I have earned just over £21 cashback using my Asda credit card.
But despite calling twice and being promised the vouchers would arrive in five days, they haven’t.
K. I., by email.
Asda thinks there was a misunderstanding as the vouchers had been sent and in fact arrived just a few days after you contacted this paper.
Someone hacked into my mobile phone in August and made eight purchases from Microsoft totalling £127.92.
My bank tried to get the money back from my mobile provider EE, but it rejected the claim. Microsoft refuses to resolve the situation.
G. M., by email.
After three weeks of back and forth, Microsoft has finally agreed to refund you.
EE, which responded more swiftly, told me it had rejected the claim because your bank gave the wrong reason for the refund.
It agreed to reimburse the full amount if Microsoft refused, and has credited your account with a month’s line rental at £22 as a gesture of goodwill.
Is it true that if you want to defer your state pension you simply do not claim it?
My wife deferred her pension 11 years ago and is now worried she will lose it.
R. E., Leicestershire.
Your state pension is not paid automatically — so if you do not claim it, it is assumed you are deferring taking it.
When your wife wants to claim her pension, she can check her options online at gov.uk/deferring-state-pension or call 0800 731 7898.
We used our MBNA credit card to make a balance transfer which would pay off the £2,306 we owed on our Nationwide card.
MBNA said the payment had been made but Nationwide said the money had not arrived.
We chased Nationwide, but two weeks later the debt was still showing on the card.
Each time we call Nationwide we have to explain the situation again, as it would appear there are no notes on its system.
R. B., Stockport.
There’s a touch of Tweedledum and Tweedledee with this one. Nationwide says it has no record of receiving the initial payment.
When you chased it up, someone recorded the problem as happening on May 26, rather than August 26, so they looked in the wrong place.
MBNA says it processed the balance transfer on August 26 and debited your account the following day. But, it says, Nationwide rejected the payment leaving the transfer unsuccessful.
MBNA initiated a second successful attempt at the balance transfer on September 24.
Nationwide confirms the funds were received. It has now paid you £125 compensation.
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