• Morgan Fagg

Swings and roundabouts:

Updated: Jun 22, 2019

Insurance companies please take note

The popular expression, what you lose on the swings you may gain on the roundabouts suggests that things balance out but the fall-out of Maria Bailey’s Swing-gate will rock more than just political recess as people question both pay-outs and premiums paid.

What are we gaining as a society when so few gain from the excessive fees charged by Irish insurance companies?

Insuring a car in Ireland is not easy and I want to share my own experiences in Spain, in the hope that insurance companies will actually take note.

On Friday the 13th, a few years ago, I crashed into the car in front of me when it stopped suddenly on the motorway. Without the distraction of iPads, iPods or iPhones, I took my eyes momentarily off the car in front of me and had to have a very awkward conversation with the Policia in pigeon Spanish.

At least, Jesus, the driver had some English which helped. Jesus is a common Spanish name, pronounced Hey-Zeus.

Saying "mi culpa", I presumed that was the end of the Spanish road for me as insurance premiums tend to accelerate after an accident, at least they do in Ireland.

In truth there was little damage done to Jesus´ car but the fender bender had destroyed my headlights, grill, bonnet and bumper.

I told my friends that I expected my driving experience to be over because premiums rise in the aftermath of an accident but my friends were surprised by my math. My girlfriend said, “You had an accident, that’s why you pay insurance, why would you expect the costs to go up?”

As I expected, my premium did rise but I wasn't expecting it to rise 700 cent.

At less than €300 per annum, I didn’t mind paying the €7.00 increase but I wonder, have Irish companies made a mistake? Have they confused cents with percents?

If not then, I hope they will please take note of the difference between dealing with insurance companies in both Ireland and Spain.

On two occasions, I have had cars destroyed when people have crashed into my parked cars.

In Ireland, I found my parked car, kissing a nearby wall after someone had hit it.

Putting on my Sherlock Holmes hat, I tracked down the culprit who was hiding in her boyfriend’s house around the corner.

Only around 20 years of age, the penalty for hitting another car was bleak. Her insurance for example would charge her I’m sure, more than 700 cent for the incident and the costs which are already very high to begin with, could put someone off the road for a long time.

Last year in Spain, I returned to yet another parked car to find it climbing a tree with glass all around the ground. Questioning the driving habits of my parked cars, I found a note on the window wiper with a name, phone number, registration number and the name of an insurance company.

There is a joke about finding a note on a car that says, “I just hit your car and people are looking at me so I’m writing this note, good luck with the car.” Luckily Jesus didn’t try that stunt with me.

Naturally sceptical of the note, especially since Renault was spelt wrong in the details but yet I had found broken Renault debris and hoped the note from yet another Spanish Jesus was legit and not just a joke.

His details were not correct at first and it took a month for the insurance companies to settle because the registration numbers were wrong on the note.

Much luckier than when I had crashed into the other Jesus on Friday the 13th, that little note on my windscreen was worth more than I had actually paid for the car.

I guess I should have had more faith in a man called Jesus. Thank you Jesus.

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