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Home insurance hike for subsidence 175 miles away, gave us that sinking feeling

Charged extra on a home insurance premium because of a claim on a house miles away.

Charged extra on a home insurance premium because of a claim on a house miles away.
Photograph: Alamy

Saturday 2 May 2015 07.00 BST

Last modified on Saturday 2 May 2015 07.03 BST

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We feel we are being unfairly treated by our insurer LV=. Our home in Sheffield is insured with them, and the policy is due for renewal. We also have an LV= home insurance policy for a property in Bristol, which is lived in by our son.

Last year we made a subsidence claim on the Bristol property which, because of the lengthy nature of the problem, is still in the process of being completed.

Then, when our renewal notice for our home in Sheffield arrived last week, it quoted £342 – a rise of almost £64. When I queried this increase I was advised that it was as a result of our claim for the Bristol property.

I see absolutely no link between the two policies and any claims made on either. How can a case of subsidence in Bristol impose any risk to a property 175 miles away?

I should be very grateful for any help you can give us, and wish you luck with fathoming the murky depths of the insurance industry. CG, Sheffield

Insurers will almost always put up a -premium if you make a claim, or even tell them you had a accident.

Had you been burgled at the Bristol address, the insurer could have argued – perhaps with justification – that there was a greater risk of the same thing happening at your other address. They would assume that the burglary might have come about because you had become rather complacent over security, or you had been targeted for another reason – although in our experience a burglary tends to make people far more security conscious.

Given that your subsidence claim was entirely due to the Bristol home’s local geography/construction – something your behaviour can’t possibly have any bearing upon – we feel that LV= would struggle to justify this £64 increase, especially as home insurance premiums are currently falling.

The AA recently said that the -average quote for a combined home buildings and contents insurance policy fell by 3.6% to £159 during the first three months on this year. Over 12 months, the typical “shop around” quote for a combined policy has fallen by 9.6%.

With this in mind, we asked LV= to explain, and after investigating it has quickly backtracked and put the proposed increase down to an “error”.

“We have recalculated CG’s premium and offered her a new cheaper price of £294. We have reviewed our process to ensure this doesn’t happen again and by way of apology offered £50 compensation for the inconvenience,” an LV= spokeswoman says.

We welcome letters but cannot answer individually. Email us at consumer.champions@theguardian.com or write to Consumer Champions, Money, the Guardian, 90 York Way, London N1 9GU. Please include a daytime phone number

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