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Head meet brick wall


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At the start of November I was the middle car in a 3 car shunt on the M25. Traffic braked sharply, the car in front stopped, I stopped, the car behind didn't.

 

My car was recovered by my insurer Direct Line but I had to make my own way home. Direct Line didn't offer a hire car and the third party's insurer was initially disputing liability, so I hired a car (cheapest I could find and similar spec to mine) for a couple of weeks till I went on holiday. Since then my wife and 12-week old daughter have been giving me a lift to and from the station at 7am and 8pm.

 

My car was deemed a total loss by Direct Line and they offered a settlement significantly less than I was expecting from checking Auto Trader (£3k). They took the Glass's Guide price (£2.6k) and subtracted £300 for existing damage, which is far too much for the damage that preceded the accident. I disputed the valuation, providing my reasoning but Direct Line issued a final response saying they wouldn't increase their offer, even though they haven't responded to any of my points. Now they refuse to be drawn, hiding behind the Financial Ombudsman Service (which I've heard is pretty toothless).

 

I have rejected Direct Line's offer (didn't cash their cheque) and am pursuing Norwich Union (the third party's insurer) directly, asking them to return me to the situation I was in before the accident. I've told them I'm willing to accept a replacement vehicle + expenses or my estimate of value + expenses but they are ignoring my letters.

 

How do I pursue this via the Small Claims Court? I am particularly concerned about making the argument that my car is worth more than Direct Line offered and what laws I need to quote relating to the loss. Alternatively should I go to one of these no win-no fee outfits, and if so can anyone recommend one?

 

Generally feeling like my head has been rather too familiar with a brick wall and wondering why I paid Direct Line for 'comprehensive' motor insurance!

 

TIA

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The situation is that the contract that you have with your insurer allows them to write off the vehicle and give you the trade value for it.

 

However, in the case where a third party is to blame, then their insurance company (in this case Norwich Union) is totally irrelevant to you. You have no contract with or claim against NU - you are pursuing the wrong target. You need to pursue the driver of the vehicle and let him (her?) wrangle with NU.

 

You are absolutely entitled to be put back into the same position as you were before the accident at the other driver's cost. He/she should be providing you with a settlement to purchase an equivalent vehicle and also repay your out-of-pocket expenses.

 

Pushed to the limit this not only includes the car hire, but 40p/mile for the lifts you are getting to/from the station.

 

If the other driver will not settle (or passes you to NU and they will not settle) in a reasonable time for your reasonable claim then go to the SCC and issue a summons against the driver for the full amount

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In the outcome of most shunt claims, it is usually the driver who shunts is deemed to be at fault as Insurers look at it that you were driving too close to the car in front and not paying attention to the road and traffic conditions in front.

 

As you claimed off your own Insurer (direct line) then they dont have to offer you a hire car if one was not listed on your policy schedule (I work in Insurance sales and so many ppl say they wont need one then end up in a similair situation to yourself)

Regarding the £300 for existing damage, you can contest this but unless your a bodywork repairer then how would youknow what was a fair estimate for any existing damage? Its like asking an electrician to wire in a socket saying it will only take 10 mins.Unless you know the trade then how do you know it will take 10 mins? :???: .

 

If you want to pursue the 3rd party (NU) then thats what your legal services should provide assistance for. (Again, listed on your schedule if you opted for it).

 

Sounds like Direct Line may not budge but its worth a shot. If not then try the SCC

In Insurance, thinking "It wont happen to me" could mean you dont have the cover you want at a time when you want it! - Dont always reject a Courtesy Car or Legal because you find the cost too much! Whats more valuable? YOU or the Policy Premium?

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Please add to my reputation if my reply was informative to you. (click the scales);) Replies offered by me are not linked to anyone, and is from my own personal experience.:grin:

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As you claimed off your own Insurer (direct line) then they dont have to offer you a hire car if one was not listed on your policy schedule

 

I agree that they don't have to but in a fairly straightforward no-fault accident it would have been good customer service. As it is, I'll have to pursue the 3rd party myself.

 

Regarding the £300 for existing damage, you can contest this but unless your a bodywork repairer then how would youknow what was a fair estimate for any existing damage?

 

Because I already had a cheaper quote to get the dent repaired. They've even deducted money for polishing to remove light scratching - I'm half inclined to offer to t-cut the wreckage!!

 

If you want to pursue the 3rd party (NU) then thats what your legal services should provide assistance for. (Again, listed on your schedule if you opted for it).

I didn't. However, I believe I do have cover via my house insurance so will be contacting them tomorrow.

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If the other driver will not settle (or passes you to NU and they will not settle) in a reasonable time for your reasonable claim then go to the SCC and issue a summons against the driver for the full amount

 

Do I need to quote any law (law of tort rings a faint bell - google here I come) or is it enough to say that the other party has caused me a loss through their action and quantify/substantiate that loss?

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Hi Pagan,

 

dont write off DL and the Ombusman. It costs the insurer £300 each time a case is reffered to the Ombusman never mind costs for people to liase and problemsolve.

 

im most cases (ive seen) the ombusman rules to the clamant also.

 

if you push 9 time out of ten the insurer will cave.

 

tyger

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I didn't. However, I believe I do have cover via my house insurance so will be contacting them tomorrow.

 

 

Home Insurance very rarely covers motor claims. Home insurance usually has family legal for the homeowners, as Motor claims are a totally different kettle of fish, they dont touch them. plus Home Insurance with or without legal is not compulsory - car insurance is.

Let us know how you get on though. :)

In Insurance, thinking "It wont happen to me" could mean you dont have the cover you want at a time when you want it! - Dont always reject a Courtesy Car or Legal because you find the cost too much! Whats more valuable? YOU or the Policy Premium?

------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Please add to my reputation if my reply was informative to you. (click the scales);) Replies offered by me are not linked to anyone, and is from my own personal experience.:grin:

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