My RAC car insurance policy, underwritten by Co-op Insurance, was renewed at the beginning of May for £581.88 with a £100 compulsory excess. I reviewed the documents and called the RAC to notify them of a single change: that I was now divorced. However, I was told that my new policy would have to be cancelled and I would have to pay £929.88 with a £200 compulsory excess for an identical policy with another insurer (Aviva) … just because I got divorced. My risks have not changed in any way, so I consider this to be extortion.
I was initially told I had to renew by 10pm or my policy would be cancelled the next day. After several hours on the phone, a manager accepted I had every reason to be upset and that she would escalate the matter.
I have been with the RAC for more than 10 years and would like to stick with it, but only at the agreed renewal price. I would also like to know how the RAC can justify discriminating against divorcees in this way. FMcA, London
We were similarly shocked. You simply changed your status from married to divorced, while specifying that you wanted to keep your ex-husband as a second driver on your policy.
When we approached the RAC we received mixed messages. Initially it said all insurers would revise their calculations based on the change in relationship status of the named driver from spouse to additional driver. After the Co-op refused to insure you, the RAC says it went to the 17 other insurers on its panel to challenge the premium in an effort to reduce the cost, but Aviva was the lowest. It then offered to reduce the new premium by £100.
However, a week later it took a different position: “On detailed investigation, we can confirm that the change to FMcA’s policy did not relate to her change in marital status. Clearly, there has been confusion. We are addressing the cause as a matter of urgency and will also pick this up in our customer service training. We have sincerely apologised for the worry and inconvenience, honoured her original policy price and made a goodwill gesture.”
Interestingly, however, BBC Radio 4’s Money Box programme has also looked at your complaint and sought quotes reflecting your new status from more than 30 firms. And most put up their best price by 20%-30%.
We would like to hear from any other readers who believe they have been discriminated against following divorce.
We welcome letters but cannot answer individually. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or write to Consumer Champions, Money, the Guardian, 90 York Way, London N1 9GU. Please include a daytime phone number