Questions of Cash: Why was it so difficult to add my child to my car insurance?


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The Independent Online

Q. I insure my car, fully comprehensive, through Volkswagen, with the policy underwritten by Allianz. In January, I wanted to add my 26-year-old daughter as a named driver, either temporarily or for a limited period as she was visiting the UK. I was told that this was not possible because she had not resided in the UK for the previous six months, even though she is a UK citizen, lived here until three years ago, passed her driving test here, holds a full UK driving licence, has a full no claims bonus and a clean driving licence.

Previously, we had arranged two periods of cover for two weeks on the same policy. Allianz was unable to tell me whether or not their refusal to cover what they called "non-residents" was industry-wide or just their own policy. Two other insurers were prepared to cover my daughter, but only if I switched my policy to them. Allianz took the matter to its underwriters and agreed to cover my daughter, but for a swingeing extra premium of £300 – almost double my original premium. This was on condition that the cover was for the remaining period of my policy until November 2014, even though I explained that she would be in the UK for two months at the most. VP, Stirlingshire.

A. Allianz has agreed that your daughter be placed on your policy on a temporary basis only. As she has now returned to South Africa, Allianz has refunded the additional premium cost for the rest of the period of the policy. A spokeswoman explains: "We do not provide permanent cover for non-residents, but will refer extenuating circumstances to our underwriters for consideration. The additional premium charged for [the reader's] second request to provide cover for her daughter was based on adding her as a permanently named driver. This is because the period for which we offer temporary cover is up to 14 days and the daughter's cover was needed for an undetermined amount of time. [The reader] did not make us aware at the time cover was only required for two months."

Dispute over a debit from my bank account

Q. Ladbrokes has withdrawn £6,136.28 from my account with Danske Bank without my authorisation. I am convinced that my card was skimmed. The fraud has left my bank account without any funds. I have never had dealings with Ladbrokes and when I contacted them they had an incorrect date of birth recorded for me. When I reported the fraud to my bank I was promised the funds would be returned to my account within a day. This didn't happen and Danske Bank now denies making this promise. My debit card is blocked and I'm desperate. AN, Belfast.

A. Danske Bank has declined to comment, saying the matter is in the hands of its legal team. It would seem that you have not persuaded Danske Bank that your version of events is accurate. On this basis, there is nothing more we can do. It is worth adding that Ladbrokes holding the wrong date of birth for you does not, in itself, prove that someone else opened the account with them. You will need to take legal advice.

When charity does not begin at home

Q. My daughter and her husband have recently gone to Africa as volunteer relief workers. They have a mortgage on their flat, but now their lender wants to increase their rate of interest by 1 per cent and charge them fees for changing the terms of their mortgage! The bank says that there is increased risk from having tenants. This seems immoral to me. DM, by email.

A. Increasing the interest rate on a mortgage when a property is let is common practice. Some lenders, in some circumstances, will allow mortgage borrowers to rent properties out for short periods without increasing rates, but some require borrowers to move to buy-to-let mortgage terms.

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