I have have had an insurance policy on my car for nearly 2 years now. It is one of those policies with a black box. Recently during hot weather the black box battery has swollen up and the case cracked open.

The insurance company now wants me to pay £165 for a new one. Do I have any grounds against this as I didn't break it?

  • 6
    What does the small print in your insurance policy say about it? – Mike Scott Jul 18 '17 at 11:43
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    Where did the black box come from originally? – quid Jul 18 '17 at 20:13
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    Is this important enough to you that you would rather drop your policy than pay the charge? – Nate Eldredge Jul 19 '17 at 3:21

Unless it is in the contract that you must replace it then this should be replaced by your insurance. They sent you a box that was defective, consumer grade electronics are designed for at least 85 deg C (185F) and unless they can prove your car was hotter than that they sent you a defective unit.

That being said, I do not think it would be worth suing them for that low amount, I would suggest you get a new insurance company. The current company clearly values your business less than 185 pounds(?) and this issue will happen multiple times since the company has no incentive to buy better products if customers keep footing the bill.

  • Sounds like the battery couldn't take the heat. They're prone to that. This is more like worn out than defective, but it should still be their responsibility. – Loren Pechtel Dec 22 '18 at 3:46

First read the fine print. If you have to pay it, pay it and switch company.

If you don't have to pay it and there is no proof that you abused the component beyond normal usage, you don't have to sue them, just return the invoice with legal (not so layman) text like "I hereby reject paying invoice number xxxx dated xxx because the black box was used under normal conditions and it stopped working".

In this case you wait for them and answer every other letter with the same text until the decide to either sue you, or drop the whole thing.

If you choose this path, remember to save all invoice, copies of your rejections, all written/email/phone calls, picutres of the broken item, serial nubmers, contract etc.

If they sue you and they loose (can't prove the item was destroied by you), they have to pay you up to one hour of legal advice cost and drop the invoice, if you loose, you do the same (100 pounds) plus the invoice amount according to Swedish law, don't know about your country.

Before you follow any advice here, consult your local consumer protection agency, they usually comes up with smart options, they know a bad company with history and give you the right advice.

  • Seems to me the insurer has a middle course between "sue" and "drop the whole thing": they can simply cancel OP's insurance policy. Then OP has to either sue them to get it reinstated, or find a different insurer on very short notice. – Nate Eldredge Jul 19 '17 at 3:20
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    @NateEldredge There is generally no difficulty in getting new car insurance on as little as a few minutes' notice, unless you have a very bad record of claims or convictions. – Mike Scott Jul 21 '17 at 5:37
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    @NateEldredge this will actually be the best scenario, no headache and he should replace this insurance any way, they don't seem to be reasonable. I generally think they put that box to individuate you in case of compensation request or generally to hide extra fees. Just get a normal insurance. – Aus Dec 20 '18 at 17:24

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