How to stop your insurance company ripping you off

If it seems too good to be true, it probably is. We never tire of telling our readers to shop around and look for the very best deal before taking an insurance policy.

But if one company is offering prices that are suspiciously low you need to scrutinise both the insurer and the policy very carefully before committing. The best laws in the world might not help you if your insurers turns out to be a bankrupt fly-by-night operation.

Always get insurance from a reputable insurer with a proven track record and sufficient assets to make good on claims.

It is equally important to make sure that you are getting the cover you think you are getting. Is the level of cover adequate? Will you get fair compensation for the loss or damage to your insured property? Check the fine print very carefully before signing on the dotted line.

Unexpected exclusions are common source of frustration when trying to make an insurance claim. Find out exactly what the exclusions are before choosing a policy. This will allow you to ensure you don't get caught out on a technicality.

I've read the fine print and my insurer is being unfair. What do I do?

The first thing to do is to contest the issue directly with your insurance company. This is not as silly as it sounds. Sure, insurers are businesses looking to maximise their profit, but it important for them to be seen to be playing by the rules. If you can put your case clearly and submit evidence about why they have wrongly rejected your claim or failed you in some other way, the company will often change its original finding.

I've contested my claim with my insurer and they won't budge. Help!

If your insurer acts in a way you believe to be unfair, you can lodge a complaint with the insurance ombudsman. There is an ombudsman for both short-term and long-term insurance. These are independent bodies that the industry has agreed to grant the power to rule on insurance disputes. The ombudsman ensures that insurance companies play by the rules and provide fair service to customers.

The ombudsman is there for your protection, but will make rulings according to the relevant insurance laws. There is no point lodging a complaint merely because you wanted a bigger claim or wished you'd bought a better policy.

My insurance company is a bunch of crooks! I'm going to ruin them on social media! 

Public forums to complain about poor service are a good way to ensure companies don't get away with bad conduct. More and more firms are learning the value - and the danger - of social media brand exposure. But it's one thing to make reasonable demands online or in other media. It's quite another thing to defame companies or individuals because your demands weren't met. This is not only unlikely to resolve your problem, it can even leave you open to legal sanction.

When looking to address perceived unfairness, it always pays to be reasonable. Companies that rip their customers off deserve to be exposed or even punished. But equally, insurers have a right to protect themselves from fraudulent claims and frivolous complaints.

Want the best possible deal from a top insurance company? Request a quote now and you could save money each month on your insurance premium.