Terms and conditions
The Financial Conduct Authority is the independent watchdog that regulates financial services. Contained in this document is information which the Financial Conduct Authority requires us to tell you. Use this information to decide if our services are right for you.
Who are we?
Swinton Group Limited is a nationwide insurance broker. Our head office address is Swinton House, 6 Great Marlborough Street, Manchester M1 5SW. Swinton Group Limited is owned by MMA Holdings (UK) plc. We operate a number of trading divisions including Open + Direct Insurance, The Insurance Line, Swinton, Swinton Taxi, Swinton Bikes, Walmsleys Insurance Brokers and Hara Hill Wason (HHW).
Whose policies do we offer?
When we offer an insurance policy to you, and for all subsequent transactions, we act as agent of the relevant insurer. Depending on the type of policy, we deal with either a limited number of insurers or a single insurer (as set out in the table below); however, we are not contractually bound to do business in this way. If a type of policy is not listed in the table, we offer that type of policy from a single insurer.
A list of all the insurers we deal with is available on request. Not all of the policies listed below are available from each of our different trading divisions.
|Limited number of insurers||Single insurer|
|Home Buildings and Contents||Home Emergency|
|Motorcycle||Household Legal Protection|
|Annual Travel||Photographers and Studio|
|Holiday Homes||Motor Homes|
|Employer’s Liability||Accidental Death Benefit|
|Collectors Cars||Personal Accident|
|Small Craft||No Claims Discount Insurance|
|Landlords Legal Protection|
We will receive payment of your premium from you as agent for the relevant insurer. Any claims money or refund of premium we receive from the insurer in respect of your insurance is also received by us as agent of the insurer. If you purchase an insurance policy, and for all subsequent transactions, we will be paid a commission by the relevant insurer as agreed between that company and us. The way in which renewal deposits from direct debit customers are held is set out below.
Which service will we provide you with?
- Limited number of insurers (see table above).
We will ask you some questions to narrow down the selection of products that we will provide details on. You will then need to make your own choice about how to proceed. You will not receive advice or a recommendation from us.
- Single insurer (see table above).
We will provide you with information about the policy. You will then need to make your own choice about how to proceed. You will not receive advice or a recommendation from us.
Your right to cancel your insurance and your ‘cooling off’ period
You have the following rights to cancel any insurance you buy through us:
- You have a cancellation right which is set out in the policy document.
- You are also entitled to a ‘cooling off’ period, which ends 14 days after you receive your policy documents.
If your insurance is a travel insurance policy lasting less than one month, you do not have a ‘cooling off’ period. Any other cancellation rights will be shown in the policy document.
What you will be charged if you cancel your insurance
- Prior to the commencement date of your insurance cover
If you cancel your insurance prior to the commencement date of your insurance a full refund of any monies paid will be provided.
- Within the ‘cooling off’ period
If you cancel your insurance, before the end of the ‘cooling off’ period, you will be charged by the insurer for the service they have provided up to the point of cancellation. We will also make a cancellation charge of £25. Our new policy inception or policy renewal service charge and any credit card handling charge made for arranging your insurance will be refunded.
If we have given you a discount off your premium at inception this will be deducted on a pro rata basis from any refund due to you on cancellation. Where a cancellation or other transaction results in a premium refund being due to you, that refund will be reduced by any sums you owe in respect of the policy.
- After the ‘cooling off’ period
Some insurers do not provide a refund if the policy is cancelled after the cooling off period. Your policy document will set out your insurer’s terms in this respect and any applicable cancellation charges made by your insurer. We will also make a cancellation charge of £50. Our new policy inception or policy renewal service charge and any credit card handling charge made for arranging your insurance will not be refunded.
If we have given you a discount off your premium at inception this will be deducted on a pro rata basis from any refund due to you on cancellation. In addition, if we have given you an amount of cashback we have the right to deduct a proportionate amount of the cashback from any refund due, or recover the amount from you. Where a cancellation or other transaction results in a premium refund being due to you, that refund will be reduced by any service charge and any other sums you owe in respect of the policy.
Cancellation of Legal Policies, No Claims Discount Insurance, Excess Insurance and Windscreen Cover
If you cancel your insurance, any associated Legal Protection, No Claims Discount Insurance, Excess Insurance and Windscreen Cover policy you purchased will also be cancelled. If this occurs within the ‘cooling off’ period a full refund of the cost of Legal Protection, No Claims Discount Insurance, Excess Insurance and Windscreen Cover policy will be provided.
However, if this occurs after the ‘cooling off’ period no refund will be given except in respect of No Claims Discount Insurance where you will receive a pro-rata refund except where a claim has been made.
What will you pay us for our services?
The service charges we make may change from time to time. The tables below show the charges applicable at the time of printing. The outlet where you bought your policy will have available up-to-date details of the scale of charges at all times. It is not economic or practical to issue refund cheques of very small amounts. Accordingly, where a transaction would result in a refund to you from us of less than £1, this nominal amount will be retained by us as an additional service charge.
|Type of transaction||Service charge||Notes|
|Quotation (all policy types)||No charge|
|New policy inception (with the exception of policies incepted on our website – see below)||£15.00|
|New policy incepted via our website (if quoted on our website and then incepted via phone or branch the service charge will be £10.00)||£0.00|
|Foreign use extensions on motor policies||No charge|
|Changes to existing policies||£25.00||Where a transaction results in a premium refund being due to you, that refund will be reduced by any service charge and any other sums owing in respect of the policy.|
|Cancellations within the ‘cooling off’ period||£25.00||Not charged if the insurance is cancelled prior to the commencement date of your insurance. Not charged on the cancellation of the following policies: any Travel Policy, Driver’s Legal Protection, Household Legal Protection, Landlords Legal Protection, Home Emergency, Breakdown, Accidental Death Benefit, Personal Accident, Windscreen Cover, No Claims Discount Insurance, Excess Insurance.|
|Cancellations after the ‘cooling off’ period||£50.00||Not charged if the insurance is cancelled prior to the commencement date of your insurance. Not charged on the cancellation of the following policies: any Travel Policy, Driver’s Legal Protection, Household Legal Protection, Landlords Legal Protection, Home Emergency, Breakdown, Accidental Death Benefit, Personal Accident, Windscreen Cover, No Claims Discount Insurance, Excess Insurance.|
|Duplicate documents and cover notes (for taxation purposes or otherwise)||£20.00||If a duplicate certificate is requested at the same time as a request for a cover note then only one £20.00 charge will be made|
|Direct debit defaults||£24.00|
|Failure to return signed Credit Agreement within 14 days||£24.00||We will apply this fee to your account and collect it by increasing your monthly payments in the first year of this agreement by an equal proportion of the fee.|
|Payment by credit card||2.5% of the total amount payable (min £5.00)||This charge is in addition to the charges stated above. Not charged if you opt to pay the deposit on our direct debit plan by credit card.|
(where payment is not by direct debit)
|Payment by 2 instalments||5% of the premium|
|Payment by 3 instalments||7% of the premium|
|Payment by 4 instalments||9% of the premium|
For payment by instalments, a minimum deposit of 25% is required. Applies to annual policies only.
Where failure to supply us with proof of no claims bonus results in an additional premium and/or service charges being applied, Swinton may (but accepts no responsibility to) collect the additional amounts via your current payment method. We will give you notice of this. If payment or proof of no claims bonus is not received you authorise us to instruct the insurers to cancel your insurance.
Who regulates us?
Swinton Group Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). Our Firm Reference Number is 309599. Our permitted business is arranging and helping in the administration of general insurance contracts. You can check this on the FCA’s Register by visiting the FCA’s website http://www.fca.gov.uk or by contacting the FCA on 0300 500 5000.
Are we covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme?
We are covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS). You may be entitled to compensation from the scheme in the unlikely event we cannot meet our obligations to you. This depends on the type of insurance and circumstances of the claim. Further information about the compensation arrangements is available from the FSCS (www.fscs.org.uk).
What to do if you have a complaint
Please contact the Manager where you bought the policy.
Alternatively, please contact our Customer Assistance Team:
In writing to Swinton Group Limited, Swinton House, 6 Great Marlborough Street, Manchester M1 5SW
By telephone – call 0845 168 3676 or fax 0161 236 7102
Online – please see our website www.swinton.co.uk and use our feedback facility located under 'Contact Us'
|Step 2||We are members of a recognised, independent dispute resolution service. If we have given you our final response and you are still dissatisfied you can refer your case to the Financial Ombudsman Service, South Quay Plaza, 183 Marsh Wall, London E14 9SR. Telephone 0845 080 1800 or fax 020 7964 1001.
Following the above complaints procedure will not affect your legal rights. Please provide your policy details and the address where you bought the policy on all correspondence. If you have a complaint against your insurer, please refer to the policy booklet for details of your insurer’s complaint procedure.
Treating you fairly
We aim to treat you fairly. We consider carefully the products we offer and we select or design them with our customers in mind. We work hard to make sure you’re not misled and that the information we provide is clear and understandable. Our complaints process is fair and accessible and we aim to put things right if we’ve made a mistake. We want you to be confident and comfortable in your dealings with us.
Further important information
What you must tell us
When you take out, renew or alter any policy, the information you supply to us is the basis on which your cover and premium are agreed. If that information is incorrect or anything changes, please let us know immediately as it could invalidate your policy or result in a claim not being paid. Any changes in information supplied will be accepted from you either verbally or in writing.
Remember, you should always tell us about any change immediately – please don’t wait until your renewal.
How you can deal with us
If you arrange your insurance through our network of branches or call centres or over the phone with us or via our website, you can deal with us in relation to that insurance either face to face, over the phone or by post.
The language we do business in is English. We have a leaflet that sets out our services to customers with disabilities, which is available on request.
Shortly before renewal, we will try to speak to you by phone about your renewal requirements. If we do not manage to contact you or you do not proceed at that time, then we will send you a letter setting out our renewal quote. We will ask you at that time to contact us.
If you are paying for your policy by Direct Debit, and you are happy with your quote to renew with your current insurer, there will be nothing further for you to arrange. Your Direct Debit payments will continue automatically and your new payments will be debited on your usual collection date.
Also, if you are paying by Direct Debit, Swinton may (but accepts no responsibility to) arrange to renew your policy automatically if, prior to your renewal date, contact between us has not been successful or you have failed to confirm whether or not you wish to proceed. We would do this for your protection.
If you do not wish us to take this action, please tell us at any time up to 7 days before your renewal date. If we do not hear from you to the contrary, we will treat it that you agree to this.
If you have paid by debit or credit card we may charge payment for subsequent renewals of your policies to the debit or credit card details provided. We will write to you in advance of doing so. If you do not want us to do this you can let us know at any time.
If you have a claim
We will make available to you free of charge the Accident and Claims Service 24hrs a day, 365 days a year, for motor insurance claims. Through this service we will always be available to give you expert help and assistance when you have a claim. The number to call in the event of a claim - if you’re involved in an accident, if you suffer fire, windscreen or other damage to your vehicle or the theft of your vehicle – can be found with your policy information If you no longer have your information please call your branch for details. If you need to make a claim on any other insurance, please call your branch. They will take your details and guide you through the claims process. If you make a claim under a policy, and then cancel the policy, you must immediately pay the full premium for that policy or any balance of it that is outstanding at that time. We may choose not to enforce this.
On receipt by us of any cheque or payment from your insurer in respect of settlement of any claim under your policy, you authorise us to retain this and/or to apply it against payment by you of any money you owe us.
English law applies to your relationship with us. Similarly, unless you and your insurer agree otherwise, English law applies to your relationship with your insurer and your insurance contract.
Payments by direct debit
Most annual policies can be paid for by direct debit via our own Credit Agreement. For full details of the terms and conditions, interest and other charges, please ask. Availability is subject to status. A deposit may be required. Quotations given on request.
When we have sent or given you the Credit Agreement and you fail to return it, duly signed, within 14 days then you must pay us an administration fee of £24.00 to cover the costs and expenses we may incur as a result. We will apply this fee to your account and collect it by increasing your monthly payments in the first year of the agreement by an equal proportion of the fee. This agreement will set out your Direct Debit payments.
Where we hold credit or debit card details you have paid with, you irrevocably authorise us to charge such card any sum due under this agreement which you fail to make on the due date. You will be notified in writing prior to any collection. We will not collect from this card should you notify us of any outstanding claim you have made against us.
Renewal deposits from direct debit customers
Up to eight weeks before your renewal date, a further payment of your then monthly amount will be taken as a returnable deposit against next year’s renewal. Please do not treat our taking of this payment as renewal of your policy, it is simply a pre-renewal advance payment. We will hold this money in a statutory trust account in accordance with FCA Client Money Rules until the earlier of a) your renewal premium becoming due or b) you confirming that you do not wish to renew. In the case of a) this amount will then be held by us as agent of the relevant insurer and then used against your renewal premium. In the case of b) this payment will then be refunded to you.
Any interest earned in respect of the monies held on your behalf in the statutory trust account will be retained by us. In the event that such interest exceeds £20, then we will seek your consent to this arrangement.
As we operate our own credit agreement, policies we arrange cannot be paid for via an Insurer’s Direct Debit scheme.
Other payment methods
Should you choose not to pay in full or by Direct Debit, we have a range of flexible payment options. For full details of the terms and conditions and interest charges, please ask. Availability is subject to status. A deposit may be required. Quotations given on request. Available at participating branches.
Important: Our right to cancel your insurance
If you choose to pay by Direct Debit or any other payment offer, you will be provided with a Consumer Credit Agreement or Instalment Agreement to sign. You are reminded that it is a term of both agreements that you authorise us to instruct the insurers to cancel your insurance if any direct debit or instalment payment, or any other amount due under those agreements, is in arrears and not paid on time. Should any payments be reclaimed by your bank under the Direct Debit Guarantee, the full balance of premium and associated charges will fall due immediately. If this payment is not made you authorise us to instruct the insurers to cancel your insurance.
If any credit or debit card payments used to pay for your insurance are reclaimed by the card holders bank the full balance of the premium and associated charges will fall due immediately. If this payment is not made you authorise us to instruct the insurers to cancel your insurance.
Swinton Privacy and Data Policy
This Privacy and Data Policy deals with how we and others may use your data and contact you.
How do we handle your personal information?
Protecting your information is important to us. Swinton have security measures in place which are considered appropriate to the nature of the information and the harm that might result from a breach of security. For your protection we will also:
- not hold more information about you than is required for the purposes for which it is being processed
- make reasonable endeavours to ensure that any information about you is accurate and kept up to date
- not keep your information for longer that is necessary or as required by law
- process your information in accordance with your rights under the Data Protection Act 1998
Recording of Calls
Telephone calls with us will be recorded for training and quality purposes. We engage third parties to carry out quality and compliance monitoring on our behalf and customer data including recorded calls is made available to such third parties for this purpose.
What information do we hold and how do we obtain it?
We may receive information about you from any of the following sources:
- directly from you or your authorised representatives when you or your representative obtains a quote, incepting, renewing or amending a policy or making a claim (e.g. personal details, claims details, etc)
- from third parties such as credit reference or debt collection agencies (e.g. your credit rating)
- from insurers, witnesses, third parties and solicitors (e.g. accident details)
What do we use your information for and who do we disclose it to?
We will use the information about you for the following purposes:
- to administer and maintain your insurances
- to assist you with claims and enquiries
- to maintain your insurance records with insurers
- to tell you about other insurance and related products and offers from Swinton and selected third parties (see below)
- to share with other carefully selected parties for these purposes
- to enable us to conduct research and statistical analysis, and facilitate our quality and compliance monitoring
In addition your information may be disclosed to:
- the police in response to a request
- other bodies in response to legislative/court orders
You should also be aware that:
We and most of the insurers we deal with have a sharing of information agreement to prevent fraud. Whenever you arrange your insurance through us, this will be on the basis that you agree to your claims information being passed onto the Claim Underwriting Exchange. To help prevent fraudulent claims, we and your insurer exchange information with other insurers through various databases. Also to help detect people who break the law by not having insurance, your insurer will supply details of your motor insurance to a database which can be accessed by the police or other insurers.
Credit and Other Searches
In assessing your application/renewal and providing you with a quote we and your insurer will carry out the following searches:
- we will validate your name and address details with a credit and fraud prevention agency who will search public records such as the register of County Court Judgments, the Electoral Register and Bankruptcy records. A record of these searches will not be visible to other lenders when they carry out future credit checks; and
- if you consent, we, or the relevant insurer will search files made available by credit reference agencies. A record of this search will be visible to other lenders when they carry out future credit checks. We, or the relevant insurer may also pass to credit reference agencies information we (or the relevant insurer ) hold about you and your payment record. Credit reference agencies share information with other organisations, enabling applications for financial products to be assessed or to assist the tracing of debtors, or to prevent fraud. The relevant insurer may ask credit reference agencies to provide a credit scoring computation. Credit scoring uses a number of factors to work out risks involved in any application. A score is given to each factor and a total score obtained and this together with other factors would be used to accept or reject any application for credit to the relevant insurer
What are your rights?
Under the Data Protection Act 1998 you have certain rights in relation to the information we hold about you: You may request, by writing to the address below and enclosing a cheque for £10 payable to Swinton Group Limited, details of the information that we hold about you. Details will be provided to you within 40 days of us receiving your request and fee.
Customer Assistance, Swinton Group Limited, Swinton House, 6 Great Marlborough Street, Manchester, M1 5SW
We will contact you to tell you about insurance and related products, offers and discounts from Swinton and from selected third parties, such as motor, home and travel insurance, life cover, and other financial products such as credit, loan and mortgage facilities and protection, investments, savings and home protection products. We may contact you about these from time to time mainly verbally by telephone, or by mail, text, email and other reasonable methods, using the telephone and other contact details provided and updated by you and your representatives or which we obtain or update from external sources. This may include telephone numbers which are registered by you or others with the Telephone Preference Service unless you have told us directly that you do not wish to be contacted for this purpose on a particular telephone number. We may also pass this information (except telephone numbers registered with the Telephone Preference Service) to other carefully selected third parties so they can contact you in the same ways. Please let us know if you do not want us to do this. You can change your preference at any time by writing to us. To change your marketing preferences with Swinton, you will need to contact your local branch or write to us.
A third party may have introduced you to us and for this the introducer may be paid a fee by Swinton. Similarly, we may, with your consent, introduce you to other third parties, for which the third party may pay a fee to us.
If, as a result of an accident that was not your fault, you require legal representation, Swinton will arrange for their recommended solicitors to act for you. The solicitors recommended by Swinton have been chosen as experts in this particular field. A fee is paid by the solicitors to Swinton for being members of our legal services panel. We comply with the Solicitors’ Introduction and Referral Code published by the Solicitors Regulation Authority, and any solicitors to whom we may refer you are independent professionals from whom you will receive impartial and confidential advice.
We are part of a group
We are connected for the purposes of the Insurance Companies Regulations 1994 to Covea Insurance plc, as we have the same parent company. We do, however act totally independently in the day-to-day running of our business and in deciding which insurers to place business with.
Wherever we arrange a policy underwritten by Covea Insurance plc we will inform you of this connection before you are committed to buying.
Swinton Group Limited, registered in England number 756681, whose registered address is at: Swinton House, 6 Great Marlborough Street, Manchester, M1 5SW, is connected for the purposes of the Insurance Companies Regulations 1994 to Covea Insurance plc. Authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.