How to make money for nothing after a car accident. Money for nothing? How? Well it appears that it is simple: have a non-fault, non-damage, non-claim accident and your insurers will ask you, the innocent driver, to hand over money …. for nothing!
Last month I was involved in a road accident
Ironically, the accident occurred as I was driving home from the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers annual conference: a conference at which the Minister of State for Justice, Lord Faulks, had spoken about the government’s plans to remove the right to claim compensation for some injuries after a road accident.
The reforms, for which the insurance industry has lobbied hard, are claimed to be justified in the name of reducing claims and thereby, in turn, reducing motor insurance premiums. (Read more about the proposed reforms here)
So, back to my accident. I was sitting in stationary traffic, in the middle lane of an absolutely packed M6, when a Land Rover Discovery bumped into the back of my car. After a quick check it appeared that there was no damage to my car. The Land Rover, complete was large bull-bars, was also completely undamaged. We exchanged details and went on our way. Happily my bumper didn’t fall off on my way home, happily I wasn’t injured and all was well.
Fail to report an accident to your insurers at your peril!
At the time of the accident I was actually driving my husband’s car as a named driver. Having only very recently written about the need to report every accident to your insurers, however minor, I called the insurance company, told them what had happened, stressed that there was no damage or injury to either driver, and reported the incident for notification purposes only. The insurers said thank you very much and recorded the details.
A few days later they called me ‘just to check that there were no injuries’ …. because obviously if there was an injury I would be entitled to make a claim. Slightly strange that don’t you think? Particularly as I was very clear when reporting the accident that no injury was sustained (and the insurers accuse personal injury lawyers of encouraging people to make claims!).
Non-fault accident costing money for nothing
However, I digress. “Where is the money for nothing?” I hear you ask. Well, that came slightly later. A few weeks later in fact when I received my motor insurance renewal documents for my own car. When I received the documents, I was happy enough with the premium – £351 – and happy enough to renew. It then dawned on me that although I had reported the accident to the insurers of the car that I was driving at the time, I hadn’t reported it to my own car insurers. I therefore did the right thing and called them to report the accident.
Having established that the accident was clearly not my fault, that there was no damage to either vehicle, no injury to either driver and no possibility of a claim being made, my insurer, LV, cheerfully asked me to pay an extra £33.25 on my premium.
“Excuse me? Are you seriously asking me to pay money for nothing?” I said.
“Yes, Mrs Beckett, that’s just £33.25 please!” was the reply.
Do you recall how earlier I explained that on the day of my accident I had been listening to Lord Faulks talk about whiplash reforms and reducing premiums? And here was my insurer asking for a payment, which equated to almost 10% of my premium, because I had been involved in a non-fault, non-claim, accident.
I have been driving for 29 years and have never been involved in a car accident in that time. I have no points on my licence. I have maximum, protected, no claims bonus. And I was being asked to pay for someone else’s negligence! I was being asked by my insurance company to pay money for nothing.
To say that I was not happy is an understatement! I’m sick and tired of hearing the insurance industry lies and propaganda about claims: lies and propaganda used to convince the public and the government that there is a ‘compensation culture’ and that personal injury lawyers and their clients are responsible for pushing up premiums. Lies and propaganda used to try to convince us that everybody involved in a rear end shunt, however slight, immediately jumps to make a claim for non-existent injury – thereby pushing premiums up still further. Lies and propaganda aimed at getting the insurance industry what it wants: an end to motor claims and soaring profits for its shareholders.
I was the innocent driver involved in a road accident. I wasn’t making a fraudulent claim for an injury I hadn’t sustained. I wasn’t trying to claim for vehicle damage that hadn’t been caused in the accident. I had ‘done the right thing’ by reporting the accident to my insurers as required by the terms of my policy. And I was being asked to pay for someone else’s negligence! I was being asked by my insurance company to pay money for nothing.
Should I pay money for nothing?
I don’t think so. I refused point blank to pay the extra premium of £33.25. I was told that I had no choice but to pay. Really? I ‘escalated’ the matter to a manager who told me the same thing. I told him a few things in return. He went away and came back with an offer to reduce the extra premium to just £18.25. ‘Just’ £18.25 – still money for nothing!
Did I want to pay money for nothing? No I did not. I escalated it further and explained that I would be cancelling my policy and making a formal complaint. Surprise, surprise: ‘on this occasion’ (to get me off the phone) the insurers would waive the extra premium. Which was just as well as I had absolutely no intention whatsoever of paying it.
Claims drive up motor premiums …. don’t they?
Well, in my case clearly not. There was an accident but there was no claim. And yet my insurers still tried to increase my premium by almost 10%.
It is clear that the government, urged on by insurers, are determined to undermine the rights of injured victims, rights that have been enshrined in law for centuries, to be compensated when injured by the negligence of another person.
The insurers have convinced the government that the reforms are necessary to combat fraud (read more about the insurers’ spurious claims about fraud here).
The insurers have convinced the government that allowing claims for injury, particularly whiplash, is tantamount to allowing people to claim money for nothing.
The insurers have convinced the government that, if they get their way on the reforms and thereby receive a huge windfall, they are committed to passing that windfall on to motorists by reducing insurance premiums by around £40 per year for the average motorist.
I’m not convinced. Are you?
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