Insurance companies begin to charge eye-watering fees

Updated: 
Road casualty rates 'vary in UK'
Rui Vieira/PA WIRE

A consumer report has found that some car insurance companies are charging extortionate fees on top of driver's annual premiums.

According to consumer organisation Which?, some companies are charging up to £75 for cancelling a policy even if it is still in the initial cooling-off period.
Which? reported on the fees being charged by 44 UK insurers, finding that some charged £50 to renew a policy while others asked for £30 if a customer wanted duplicate documents.

Richard Lloyd, executive director at Which?, told the BBC: "we've found some insurers charging customers eye-watering admin fees that can be hard to avoid".

It was found that one company, IGO4, even charged customers £35 if they wanted to make adjustments to their policies, from a name change to a change of address.

Services that are usually offered for free with the majority of large insurance companies were found to have a charge in others, with Axa Direct and Swiftcover charging £30 to provide duplicate documents. This service is usually free to customers.

Lloyd went on to say: "we want companies to ensure their fees reflect actual costs, and aren't just a way to squeeze more money from customers".

The Association of British Insurers advised customers to read their policy documents carefully.

The industry argued in the face of the survey that overall premiums had actually fallen, and that the market in general was very competitive.

It was found in the survey that companies were also charging more for customers to pay monthly rather than annually, though this wasn't the same for all cases.