1. They Don’t Tell You Your Rights As A Non-Fault Driver
What will happen is that a charming young person from the other driver’s insurers will get in touch with you. They are doing so because their own insured has reported an accident which is clearly his or her fault, and they want to minimise their exposure. They assure you that they are only trying to help. Always remember that to them, you are just a number, preferably NIL. They will tell you that the call is being recorded for training purposes and is that OK? Don’t believe it and don’t allow them to record.
You have a clear right as a non-fault driver to be put back in exactly your pre-accident position. The Competition Commission in 2014 recommended that a Fact Sheet be sent out. This recommendation was quietly buried by the insurance industry. Amongst other things, this means repair and a garage of your own choice, a like for like courtesy care, paid for by them and compensation for injury, excess, repairs, expenses, loss of earnings, and general inconvenience.
You can download the Fact Sheet they should have sent you here.
2. They Want To Shepherd You To A Garage Of Their Own Choice
You will find that the insurers try to direct you towards one of their own recommended garages. This “recommendation” is not a badge of quality. In fact, the Competition Commission found that almost 50% of repairs from the panel garages were sub-standard.
Why are you sent there? Because the insurers have negotiated cut-price deals with these garages, paying well below the standard industry rates. You may well get a cut-price job and it will show. They will try to tell you that any defects are cosmetic and that they are “commercially acceptable”. You’re not in commerce, you’re entitled to your car as it was pre-accident. Avoid the problem by insisting that the vehicle goes to your own garage.
3. They Are Desperate To Settle Your Personal Injury Claim Without Lawyers
It is known in the insurance industry as “3rd Party Capture”. Make no mistake, they are the hunter and you are the prey. You will frequently get up to 3 times as much for your injury if you take legal advice. The Law Society of England ran a campaign “Don’t Get Mugged by an Insurer” See the article in Litigation Futures. The insurers were furious and complained to the Advertising Standards Authority who cleared the ad. Get lawyered up!
4. They Get You To Take Out A Credit Hire Agreement
If you need a courtesy car, you will be directed towards a credit hire or accident management company. You will get a free replacement car, frequently at the very top of the range for the time your car is off the road. What’s not to like? Well the credit hire industry charges way above the normal rates for hire charges and these charges are always contested by the at-fault insurer at the end of the day. It is only at that stage that you discover the credit hire agreement is personal to you, that you are responsible for any shortfall and that you will be summonsed as a witness in any court proceedings. The UK courts are awash with these cases. Take a look at this Guardian article and ask yourself why you should volunteer for a warzone. Tell the insurers you will hire from a proprietary company like Enterprise or Budget and that they will have to pick up the tab.
5. They Don’t Tell You About The Kick-Backs
The insurance industry is rife with referral fees at every turn. They may get a referral fee from the credit hire company. They may get a referral fee from a body shop or repair company. If they refer you to their panel lawyers, it is likely that the panel lawyers will pay a referral fee. You are just a piece of merchandise being passed on at profit from organisation to organisation.
6. Legal Expenses Insurance Is A Sham
Annually at the time of your renewal, you will be offered Legal Expenses Insurance for a fee of around £30 per year. Almost half of us take out Legal Expenses Insurance each year, making it the most popular of all the add-ons. On the fact of it, you get the benefit of a crack team of lawyers fighting your corner for an annual fee of £30. You’d be a fool to yourself to pass it by. First of all, the insurance is worthless unless the panel insurers (who have paid a fee to your insurance company for your business) think there are reasonable prospects of success. It’s never defined. Is it 50% or is it 75% likely? Our files are full of stories where the legal expenses insurers have no appetite for any kind of fight. There was one case where they wanted a 50:50 liability split where our client’s car was parked at the time! Look at the This is Money website. You are much better off contacting a No Win No Fee lawyer who will have an incentive and an appetite to make a fight of things.
7. The Other Add-Ons Are More Less Useless
If you check in the media, you will see the insurance industry constantly bemoaning that the car market is a non-profitable area for them. You may wonder how this can relate to the non-stop advertising parade of meerkats and opera singers constantly seeking your business. The answer is that the insurance industry makes a huge amount from add-ons, generally with no claim made on them . We have already spoken about Legal Expenses Insurance but other things like Courtesy Car add-on, Breakdown cover, Personal injury cover, Gap insurance are generally of little or no value or utility for you. Don’t buy the add-ons at the time of renewal. If you want to save on your car insurance have a look at our Secret Insider Newsletter.
Remember, this market is dysfunctional and the tables are rigged. Check out our Secret Insider’s book for more information, it’s available as a free download here.