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Hastings Direct, accident advice, claim advice needed


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Hi,

 

I need some advice about an insurance claim via Hastings Direct. My sister was involved in an accident in the middle of November. She was waiting at a roundabout on the left lane when an adjacent truck in the right lane pulled across her stationary car damaging the driver side door, wing mirror front wing and pulling the bumper off. They third party are disputing the claim which is annoying, as all my sister did was sit in her car on the left lane while the other driver pulled across her car.

 

Hastings Direct repairers have said the car is a Cat C as it has suspension damage, though from the pictures the damage seems minor. My sisters car is a 12 year old Peugeot she has had from new. She has serviced and maintained the car at a main dealer throughout its life and car was in excellent pre-accident condition.

 

My sister has put me on the Hastings Direct file as the contact to deal with the claim, as she is currently going through an adoption process abroad and she is not in the right frame of mind to deal with the stress of this claim and to boot she now abroad going through the process to adopt a baby.

 

Hastings Direct initially took the car after the accident by telling my sister they wanted to take the car in to be inspected for evidence to back up her claim, my sister agreed on this basis for the car to be collected. She subsequently was sent a letter saying the car was a total write off and to send in her documents, spare key and service history, plus to remove her personal number plate. This when she asked me to deal with the claim. I called Hastings Direct to ask about the letter and said why are they asking for these documents when they have not even offered her a figure for her car. I also said we wanted the option to buy the car back at the salvage value as we might be able to repair it mechanically and leave the cosmetic damage, as my sister he not have enough money to buy a replacement at current time due to adoption process she was going through. The customer representative said it was in the policy document that they do not sell cars back as salvage to customers. I said we would not be sending the documents back until we had a figure for the value of her car, he said fair enough and that we can keep the documents until the Engineers come back with a figure.

 

My sister was sent a letter a couple of weeks ago offering £1725 for her car. I called up Hastings Direct and said this figure was not acceptable and also mentioned that I had read the policy document and could find nowhere within the document about not selling the car back at the salvage value to the customer. The customer representative said oh, it’s not in the policy document, it’s just their internal policy not to sell cars back to the customer. This contradicts what the first customer representative said! They gave me the email address for the company dealing with the valuation and to send in three adverts with cars in similar condition at a higher price.

 

My sister bought the car from a main dealer brand new and has serviced the car at a dealership. She is not the person that can buy privately or through some small garage as she does not have the experience. I called a couple of Peugeot dealers to get the retail value of the car, they said they wouldn’t normally sell of this age, but the retail value of the car if they were to sell one would be between £3000 and £3500. I emailed the valuation company with this information. They called me to discuss the claim and agreed that the retails value of the car is £3300, however the values are set by Hastings Direct valuers, which places the maximum value on the car at £1725 which is based on a trade guide. The valuer said he would contact Hastings Direct to speak to them.

 

It was a couple of weeks since the call and my sister has since gone abroad to start the adoption process, so I called Hastings Direct last Friday; after being put through to two wrong departments, I finally got through to the correct team. The total loss team said that the values are based on the trade values buying a car privately and not from a dealer as they give warranties on cars and prices will be higher. I said my sister would not be able to buy a car privately based on the figure offered and she would not be sure what she would get, hence the reason for wanting to buy a car from a dealer. The representative suggested we could do a HPI check would give us some cover! The representative said they could put the case through to another independent team who would consider the value based on the current market and get back to me, but this will take 7 to 14 days. I said this would be ok as it my sister is only due back in December if all goes well.

 

After this I asked to put through to the team dealing with the claim so that I could check on progress. The claims team said they are stilling waiting on details from the third party in regards to their damage and in these type of cases it may go to split liability. I said this is really unfair considering my sisters car was hit while stationary and the damage to her vehicle and the position on the road should clearly indicate who is at fault. If it is split liability, then with a £500 excess, this would leave my sister £1225 to buy a replacement car which really isn’t enough to replace her low mileage one owner car.

 

 

Is it normally the trade values that an insurance company offers for a car? When my partners car was written off about 8 years ago the insurance company offered the retail value of the car.

 

Can we buy the car back at salvage? If I can repair the suspension damage and make the car safe, then my sister can live with the cosmetic damage. This will give my sister a reliable car she knows the history of, until she has money to replace it.

 

What pressure can I apply to Hastings Direct to pursue the claim rather than possibly settle for split liability. It should be quite clear from the evidence of the damage to the vehicles to see who hit who.

I would like to add Hastings Direct on the phone have been very friendly and nice, unfortunately they have not been able to supply the answers that would be acceptable. This whole affair has made me realise that it pays to research the company when buying car insurance, my sister chose Hastings Direct because she thought she would be safe with a big name company.

 

Thanks in advance for help/advice

 

Brian

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No you don't have to accept trade values, as the point of insurance is to put you in the same position, as before the accident. The settlement should be somewhere between trade and retail value, taking into account the value of a warranty that a garage would provide.

 

If you can get an assessment of the cars damage and what needs to be repaired, you can negotiate with Hastings an amount to cover the repairs, less the excess. Hastings cannot just take the car, as it is not theirs until your daughter has accepted and been paid a write off value. The government has encouraged Insurers to write off and scrap older cars, which might be the reason for Hastings actions. It is not written into the policy contract, so they cannot refuse giving the car back.

 

You should use any legal cover under the policy or your daughter pursue personally, any uninsured losses against the third party. E.g policy excess, any other losses due to the accident. If the accident is as described, the third party should be 100% at fault. But it is not that straightforward if their are no witnesses or traffic camera footage. Which is why sometimes fault is split, as parties will argue, with there being nothing to prove it one way or the other. One of the reasons why dashboard cameras are now pretty popular.

 

Given the arguments about fault, Hastings might not wish to challenge based on damage, as for a smallish claim it would cost money. Many insurers don't handle their own claims and use an outsourcing company. Such companies won't spend money arguing about accident fault, unless the amount of claim is above a certain value. This therefore means your daughter or you under delegated authority pursuing uninsured losses and if you gain 100% liability against the third party, then Hastings can also recover their outlay.

We could do with some help from you.

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We could do with some help from you.

PLEASE HELP US TO KEEP THIS SITE RUNNING EVERY POUND DONATED WILL HELP US TO KEEP HELPING OTHERS

 

 Have we helped you ...?         Please Donate button to the Consumer Action Group

 

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Agree with unclebulgaria.

After being hit 3 times this year and having a disputed claim of a driver denying being at the accident's scene, I have installed a dashcam in both cars.

I hope I'll never need footage, but should someone hit me again I will have proof.

Possibly the best £70 per car ever spent.

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Read the link uncle has posted as it has very helpful information.

 

Pay particular attention to how the Ombudsman states the Insurers should value the car using the three guides, using the RETAIL value and how the Insurer should use an average or disregard a valuation if they differ.

 

The lorry driver will be saying that both vehicles were moving at the time of impact

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Many thanks for the advice. It’s good to know I can negotiate with the insurance company to get the figure up to a more realistic value. I hadn’t realised that they need to consider the retail value and possible take an average. The customer representative was pretty clear that the retail value would not be taken into account. I will let everyone know how we get along.

 

I know the car is 12 years old, but surely the carbon footprint to buy a new car will be a lot higher. Hastings Directs language and tone seemed to indicate that I didn’t have a choice in the car being repaired or been given back. The extremely strong letter asking for all the documents, spare key and service history seemed to indicate it was a done deal.

 

I agree considering the trucks damage was pretty minor from what my sisters described and writing off her car will be less then 2k minus the excess, I can see why Hastings Direct may take the option of split liability on financial grounds and having less admin work to deal with, though they should have their customers best interest at heart. My sister has legal cover, so will ask her to pursue the excess through them, though if split liability is decided by Hastings then I assume it will weaken her case to claim the excess back. Also her no claims will be affected. I was hopeful that the damage on my sisters vehicle and her position on the road would show she was not at fault and was stationary. Some toe rags out there, looks like dashcams may be the order of the day.

 

Thanks for the advice, will update the post when I have more information.

 

Regards

 

Brian

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If you look at most posts re Hastings to this site, most appear to be about written off cars.

 

I reckon whoever deals with Hastings claims will write off most cars with a value of £3k or less, unless only very minor damage. They must think that the cost of repairs by a garage will exceed their outlay for write off, taking into account the amount gained from salvage.

 

You really need to look at the car or have it inspected to decide what is best. What is for sure is that Hastings cannot keep it, unless your daughter accepts write off settlement.

 

Split liability means she would get back relevant portion of uninsured losses, which is better than nothing. Given the excess, if the damage can be repaired cheaply, you would question claiming on a comp policy, as premiums will be affected for a few years.

We could do with some help from you.

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There does seem to be a pattern in regards to claims for written off cars by Hastings Direct. Not really fair, as some people are on tight budgets and rely on running older reliable cars.

 

I will ask Hastings where the car is and see if I can get down to take a look. With a £500 excess, I am sure we will repair it for less to make it roadworthy. As the claim process has started and my sister was given a curtsy car until she went abroad, even if we don’t go ahead with the claim, I assume it will be still classed as incident. When taking out insurance the question is always have you had any claims or accidents in the last X years, so if she doesn’t claim, her premium will still be loaded by the fact she had an accident.

 

I need to try and sort this all out before returns with the baby.

 

Thanks

 

Brian

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The claim event might still be registered, as it may not be known whether third party will try to claim. Sometimes an attempt to claim is made, when it appears very unlikely.

 

If they do close the claim off as not continued, with nothing paid out, yes it would still affect premiums. I guess Hastings have already incurred some expense if they arranged for car to recovered and inspected. You would need to find out from Hastings, once you know what the best way forward is.

We could do with some help from you.

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 Have we helped you ...?         Please Donate button to the Consumer Action Group

 

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