Insurers accused of cherry-picking

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The Independent Online
Tens of thousands of motorists and householders are unable to get insurance because of previous claims on their policies, according to a survey by the consumer magazine Which?, writes Nic Cicutti.

The magazine accuses some big insurers of refusing to provide cover for those they define as 'high risk'. A couple of theft claims may be enough to put you in that category.

In the Which? survey, 16 insurance companies were asked to give a quote for a three- bedroomed house in London with two theft claims, one of pounds 900 and another for pounds 1,400 in the same year. Only one insurer was prepared to quote.

The exercise was repeated, this time reducing one claim to pounds 230, backdating it for a year and linking it to accidental damage. Only six out of 16 insurers gave a quote.

Which? said: 'The growing trend of cherry-picking - insuring the good risks and excluding the bad - seems bound to cause problems. Some people may find it difficult, or even impossible, to get cover at all. You also have to declare this in future applications and may have problems getting insured elsewhere.'

A spokesman for the Association of British Insurers, the body that represents most companies, said the industry had to be careful because of a rising tide of claims. But he said the market was still highly competitive, so shop around.

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