Car Insurance - Without Drive Assist!

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Car Insurance - Without Drive Assist!

edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Insurance & Life Assurance
332 replies 90.5K views
Sunday_MorningSunday_Morning Forumite
110 posts
edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Insurance & Life Assurance
Is it possible to get fully comp car insurance without DRIVE ASSIST being involved! This is a company that appears to get itself involved with non fault insurance cases. By way of explanation of what they do and why I want no more dealings with them...

We have a Vauxhall Zafira for which we arranged fully comp insurance with ZURICH UK, with a £150 excess.

A few months ago, after my wife had parked in a road, a car went into it, causing some panel damage. There was no problem with obtaining the details or an admission of fault. We thought, with our insurance cover, it ought to be quite straightforward, and advised them of the details accordingly.

We were somewhat surprised to be told however that we would have to pay our £150 excess to the panel beaters. Apparently, the company ZURICH UK appointed, DRIVE ASSIST, were in charge of arranging a courtesy car for us and claiming back our excess payment. Our car ended up off the road for a week.

We were told the car we would have would be a similar make and model. Instead we had a Land Rover automatic (ours is manual) which my wife found uncomfortable and a bit overpowering to drive. It certainly guzzled petrol at a lot faster rate than our own car did.

When the hire car was picked up again, a man looked it over, made no more comment other to say it was a lot cleaner then the ones he usually picked up, and got my wife to sign for its return on a hand held device.

We then got a letter dated 2nd July attaching a copy of a form "for our records". Attached was the "form" signed by my wife (who only actualy signed a hand held device" ) and, among the list of many "OKs" was one for the "LHR quarter" which said "scratch". My wife was totally unaware of there being such a scratch, had not been asked to initial this and had not even been told about it. But since the letter stated "if there is any new damage shown you may be charged for this in due course", we assumed nothing further would happen.

At the beginning of August we had a letter from them stating that they had been in contact with the insurers of the owners of the other vehicle, to claim back the hire charges and our excess, who had denied being in such an accident. The vehicle registration number they quoted for the other owner was one letter away from our own registration number! Sensing a mistake I rang them. They rang me back and advised that although the letter did have the incorrect registration number on it, they did have the right ones in their records and the owner was still denying liability. Since the "owner" was the name of a company that seemed to be based in Glasgow (we are in Herts), I again sensed that something was amiss. Having no luck with my phone calls to the girl whose name was on the letter who kept insisting their details were correct, I finally got to talk to her manager. I was curious as to where they had got the details from in the first place. It was Zurich, my insurance company, and so I wondered why they weren't taking this up with them directly. Anyway...finally....finally it transpired that yet again they were one letter out on their registration number and, having got the right number from ZURICH UK, they were finally able to sort it out.

So...just over a week ago, more than two months after we had paid it out, we finally got back our excess.

I vowed at that time that I would not renew my insurance with Zurich. If I have fully comp insurance I expect to deal with one company and one company only, and certainly not a company whom Zurich appoint to deal with me without my say so, especially when they appear so incompetent.

But today, we got the coup de grace. Well over two month since they returned the paperwork too us showing the courtesy car to have had a "scratch", we had another letter from DRIVE ASSIST today advising us that £160 would be debited from us within two weeks for damage to the car!!!!!

Apparently we have 14 days to send our queries in writing to avoid the debit being processed.

Well, it can be guaranteed that we will query this bill.

And it can be guaranteed that we will send a copy of that query to ZURICH UK with a note explaining why we won't be renewing our car insurance with them.

Sorry this has been so long, but I'm wondering two things. Has anybody else had experiences of DRIVE ASSIST?

And which Insurance Companies out there do fully comp the way it really ought to be done? I understand why and don't mind other companies are used. But I want my insurers to deal with the other companies leaving me to deal with the company I signed a contract with. For example, for the type of "no fault" accident we were involved with, I can't see why it shouldn't be my insurance company paying out in full and reclaiming from heir appointed company instead of me.


  • Insurance claims are often frustrating and just because you think blame is obvious it isnt always

    Personally think you are overreacting and basically you wont find what you want as insurance companies will always have a company do the stuff for them or their own department and the approaches will always be similar

    yes they made a few errrors but they done their job and a lot quicker than a lot do
  • Ali-OKAli-OK Forumite
    4.1K posts
    Part of the Furniture Debt-free and Proud!
    Sorry to hear about your problems, however my recent accident (see my thread "Car Accident Liability") also led to Drive Assist being the hire car and uninsured claims people.

    I can relate to your wife signing a handheld device - I had to do this. However, I was also asked to inspect the hire vehicle inside and outside for any damage (it had a small dent on the rear) which was then noted on a drawing and I signed that. I was advised that should the vehicle be collected with any additional damage to that I had noted, I would be charged. Did the Drive Assist driver go through this process with your wife? If not, it maybe you can protest on the basis that the procedure was not followed by the delivery driver and that the scratch may have been there on delivery.

    I've found Drive Assist to be very helpful so far - they went through 3 depots to find a like for like vehicle (I have a convertible) and delivered at my convenience and co-ordinated very quickly with the insurance company (Axa) and the repairs - my car was in the garage being inspected 1 day after the accident (though roadworthy/driveable) and being repaired 4 days after the accident. Although the repairers quoted 1 week for work, Drive Assist booked the hire car for 2 weeks "just in case" and to call them if my car was returned earlier. Couldn't have asked for better service in my case.

    It's 8 weeks since my accident and I haven't got my excess back, but that's down to the third party's statement being completely different to mine!

    Good luck on sorting it out.
    Back on the DFW Wagon:

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  • I have just come across the same problem with Drive assist as mentioned by sunday morning. I was in a crash a few months ago someone drove into the back of me. I was offered a courtesy car by Drive assist as part of my insurance. the hire car was fine and when the man came to collect it he had a look around and I asked him if all was ok he said yes and asked me to sign the pad.I didn't have to put my name in by keypad as i had done when i had received the car.

    anyway not wanting to repeat what has already been explained above i got a letter two months later saying i owed drive assist 230 quid for two scratches i queried the letter but received my reply this morning saying the same thing as the first letter only adding a frequently asked questions to it.

    I wished i had taken photos but in the letter they say they do not recognise photos only what is in the PDA and I can go and have a look at the car at a depot if i ring them up. 230 quid for two scratches that aren't even there. will try and query it further as i know there was no damage on the car.

    on the vehicle conditon report as I said before under my signature is someone elses name can this be used to void the report what is the legality of an electronic signature?
  • Not the same issue but...
    I had a courtesy car supplied by Drive Assist in late 2006.
    They agreed to deliver the car to me by a certain time but they were well over an hour late.
    The rear passenger side indicator worked only about 50% of the time and the driver's window didn't open easily.
    Was glad to be rid of it.
  • I was searching the net for any help with the Drive Assist "problem came across this may be interested not the first time this has happened.


    interesting read i have sent them an email to see how they dealt with Drive assist.
  • Insurance claims are often frustrating and just because you think blame is obvious it isnt always

    Personally think you are overreacting and basically you wont find what you want as insurance companies will always have a company do the stuff for them or their own department and the approaches will always be similar

    yes they made a few errrors but they done their job and a lot quicker than a lot do

    I think you'll see in my original post that I understand other companies being used. I just don't understand why the insurance company that I have signed the contract does not continue to act as the focal point for all my involvement. Why are they forcing me to deal with companies that they, not I, have appointed?

    It's especially galling when those companies turn out to be like DRIVE ASSIST. I'm well aware about how opinions of blame are not necessarily the same. That was not the case in this instance. The other party have been nothing but honest, upfront and courteous, fulling acknowledging the blame was all theirs.

    However, because of the incompetence of DRIVE ASSIST, a completely innocent party got faulted, naturally denied having any part in the accident and then we were informed that those who had driven the car into us had denied being responsible in any way.

    It took more than one phone call to get to the bottom of that and in the end I was essentially having to convince them that they had gone wrong.

    Now this same company, have demonstrated its incompetence so openly, is telling me that there was a scratch on the car we returned, though absolutely no mention of it was made at the time.

    A car that wasn't like ours, despite the assurance it would be.

    And by the way a car we had to leave on our drive for over a day after getting our car back, on our liability, because they were too busy to come and pick it up!

    To cap it all, they got us our £150 within weeks of getting the details right. Not surprising really. It was an open and shut case they were trying to turn into a mystery!

    So why's it take them over two months to submit their claim for £160?
  • rabialionesrabialiones Forumite
    1.9K posts
    Part of the Furniture 1,000 Posts Combo Breaker
    hi SM ,
    was going to start thread about drive assist , but hope u dont mind me posting in yours
    similar problem to yourself, recieved letter out of blue from them stating they will be taking £170 from my account for damages - scratch on back bumper and wheel trim damage, although no damage was incurred whilst vehicle was in my posssession.
    scratch on back was already there as badge (car make) was also missing, although person who came to collect it couldnt even find it, it was so minimal.
    slight scratch to wheel trim may have been caused by me (but really cannot recall). however person who came to collect said that did not matter as they do not take wheel trim damages into consideration.
    will be disputing their letter and see what happens.
    although it seems that they are trying to make their money up, because i returned their vehicle after 7 days instead of 14 days , which i was allowed to have on my insurance policy.
    Nice to save.
  • rabialiones....the more the merrier as far as I'm concerned with this company. With other posts in here and the link to the Guardian story that and78 so kindly provided, it seems to me like they are not so much an honest company but one that's found a niche in which to operate a profitable scam.

    I sent back a reply to them today...

    Your Reference XXXXX

    Dear Sirs

    With reference to the following...

    Your invoice dated 14/9/2007 No. xxxxx in respect of Vehicle Reg xxxxx

    Please note that we do not accept that any damage to the above vehicle took place while it was in our charge.

    Furthermore, at no time during the return of the car, was any such damage pointed out to us or bought to our attention in any way whatsoever. We particularly note and regard as relevant that no effort was made to obtain our signature or initials alongside the details of the alleged damage.

    We request that you respond to this email to acknowledge your receipt of it and to confirm that, in accordance with your letter, you will not be processing the debit.

    We further request that in any future correspondence with us, you endeavour to spell our name correctly.

    Yours Sincerley


    After thinking about all the things I wanted to say in my reply, I ended up just making it as short and to the point as I could.

    However... I couldn't ignore the opportunity to have a dig at the fact that not once, in all their correspondence with me, have they managed to correctly spell my name! :)
  • rabialionesrabialiones Forumite
    1.9K posts
    Part of the Furniture 1,000 Posts Combo Breaker
    thanks for your support, i will also send them a similar letter

    having another look at their letter,stating petrol as empty (when it was not as i put it in before they collected)
    also my signature is on the sheet, which i did not put there,
    i signed on the electronic pad ,( which i assumed was for collection of the car and did not state condition of car.)and it seems like my sig. has been transferred onto the sheet, which i did not sign, nor was shown or asked to sign.
    i am really mad!
    seems like they are trying to con me
    Nice to save.
  • I've had no acknowledgement of the email I sent them so far.

    Their letter stated that if they did not hear from me within 14 days they would process the debit.

    What's the legal perspective on this? I can't see how it gives them any legal rights to state this, but if they go ahead and process the debit anyway despite my email, and I refuse to pay because I think they have no right to the money, do they end up with the "power" of getting me a bad name on credit history?
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