Last week whilst doing my semi regular “We need something for tea, I need to go food shopping” mercy dash to Sainsburys I was driven into. It couldn’t have been a more ridiculous car accident. I was stationary, waiting to turn right off the main road and the man that hit me pulled away from the road I was turning into whilst I was sitting in front of him. Literally drove into me at 3mph. I saw him coming as I had begun to pull away and braked whilst looking him in the eye and said “this bloke is about to hit me” to Jonnie.
So that was that. There was a car resting up against mine in the middle of the road. I pulled over, he pulled over. He gave me his insurance details. I called my insurance company and they said that since this was clearly his fault it would be dealt with as a “no fault accident” on my part.
And then the fun started.
With the fault decided by my insurance company they have two ways of then dealing with getting my car repaired. My car that has a bumper sized nudge mark in the door. From a distance you can’t see it, but up close you can. But it needs fixing if my car is going to still look half decent. My options are (and given to me in this order):
As a no fault situation we can take all the stress out of it for you. We will forward your details on to a third party. They will liaise with a body shop for you, provide you with a replacement car whilst the work is being done, help with any other financial losses. You won’t have to do anything and you are not claiming on your insurance as the third party will claim all costs from the other driver. This won’t affect your no claims bonus.
Claim on your insurance and get the work done by your own provider
So it was presented as no brainer.
I agreed to the first option and was transferred straight to the third party. Same phone call. Now speaking to the third party, and the first thing they did was discuss the replacement car. Not the damage to my car but the hire car I would be provided with whilst mine was being repaired. And how I would need a credit agreement in place to cover the insurance for the hire car, the half tank of fuel for the hire car, and the costs of the hire car. Oh and the repair bill. By agreeing to all of that being charged to the other driver it would all be sorted for me and cost me nothing.
Except it will. All of this is going to have to be paid for at some point, by somebody.
Like that person who drove into me.
Their premiums are going to sky rocket because of this claim made against their policy. A claim that has, in my opinion, been artificially inflated due to the insistence that I have a hire car for a week.
Yep, I am now going to have a hire car for a week (because without even seeing it the body repair shop have told me it will take a week) and because my job title is Company Director and I drive a Mercedes (albeit a seven year old A class) I have to have a car that befits my situation. In their words and I quote “to ensure you maintain your company image”.
Company Image? There are two of us in this company. And a farting dog. Working from a room that up until a month ago had no electricity and was being run off an extension cable plugged in on the upstairs landing.
Despite the fact I could work from bed in my pyjamas four days a week it has been decided I need this replacement car that will maintain my company image because I drive a Mercedes and can say Company Director on my business cards.
If I had any.
Oh and my details had to be passed to the law department of my insurance company so they can help me “recover any out of pocket expenses I may have suffered”. Suffered? I stood at the side of the road for ten minutes discussing insurance details, still made it to the supermarket and was home before anybody missed me. What possible expenses could I have suffered that need the assistance of a legal team? I made no mention of needing that help, nor of having any injuries (what possible injuries could I have suffered by being hit at four miles an hour?!) when I called them yet they have still sent my details on. To a company that within 24 hours had called me. Texted me and written to me.
The whole thing is madness.
This is why insurance premiums are sky high. The whole culture of “where there’s blame there’s a claim” is ridiculous. The decision made for me that I need all of this is a nonsense. Without seeing any damage it has been decided that a hire car for a week needs to be added to the cost of the claim. The actual cost of the repair will probably be less than £500 yet if I get it repaired by claiming on my insurance, my premium will be affected, and I will lose my no claims discount through no fault of my own. So I do what is right for me and some other person gets screwed over.
No more can we just get our own quotes from the friendly garage we have used for years, and A N Other and go for the lesser quote and either get it done ourselves or, as I though, register that we have had the knock but then discuss it with the other party privately. The small print of our policy says we have to notify them of any accident. Even if we don’t claim, or indeed go on to do anything about it, not doing so can invalidate our policy. And because I called the police after the accident, for reasons I wont go into here, these so called “shared databases” meant I had to register it in case the police did.
The ball was no longer in my court but it was now firmly in the court of bureaucratic hell.
Which means the only winner is going to the insurance company, and all the losers in this match are those of us paying the insurance preminums