Saga says sorry over policy blunderMisprint could have cost motorist thousands

16 September 2006

Cars in a traffic jam

A major insurance company has said sorry for a mistake in wording which almost cost a Which? reader thousands of pounds.

David Dunne claimed on his Saga Over 50s insurance policy last week after the dashboard on his P- registration Volvo V40 Estate caught fire.

But when he called Saga he says he was told that if the fire was caused by a mechanical or electrical failure, Saga would not pay out.

The policy says: ‘We do not cover the following: mechanical, electrical, electronic or computer failures or breakdowns, including any loss or damage caused as a result of the failures or breakdowns’

Printing error

David compared this exclusion on his car insurance policy to the one for his home insurance. He said: ‘If put in the context of a home insurance policy it would mean that  if my television, washing machine or radio caught fire in my house, any damage to my house caused by the fire, even a total loss, would not be covered.’

Saga told us that the line from the policy is wrong. It said a printing error had left off six words saying: ‘if not kept in roadworthy condition.’

It added that it had not turned down any claims under this clause and has paid the full book price of David’s car and waived the excess. It is in the process of correcting the mistake on its policies.

A spokesperson said: ‘Clearly we have made a mistake and we’re grateful to Mr Dunne for bringing this to our attention and we're sorry for the stress caused.’

The Financial Ombudsman Service told us that some insurance policies could contain similar wording to the saga policy. But it should only mean that the policy won’t pay out for the cost of repairing a faulty part but will pay for any damage caused as a result of that part failing.