This year I will have been driving for sixteen years. Whilst this makes me feel very old, I’m pleased to say that until recently, I have been very lucky when it comes to driving, accidents and insurance claims. However, this was all set to change at the beginning of last month, when I had to deal with having a my car written off. Or, in official insurance terms – my car being declared a total loss.
It sounds stressful. It was.
It’s pretty obvious that when you begin driving, and for all the times that you get into a car to travel somewhere, you understand that, to a certain degree, you are putting yourself at risk – just by being out on the road. I would imagine (I have to imagine, as thankfully I haven’t ever been in that situation), that should you ever be in an accident whilst out on the road, that you can accept the situation a little easier, as you are actually out on the road. You kind of put yourself in a vulnerable situation just by driving. The point I’m slowly getting at it (bare with me!), is that I found my circumstances really hard to accept, because I wasn’t out on the road driving. My car was innocently parked at the front of my house. It was minding it’s own business. It was doing nothing wrong.
It was a Sunday lunchtime and all three of us were upstairs in our house. We have a semi-detached house and live on a corner. The cul-de-sac next to our house is a no through road and there are lots more houses. It’s a relatively quiet neighbourhood and traffic should be slow and sensible. Accept on this particular day it was nothing like slow and sensible. It was erratic and unnecessary.
To cut rather a long story short, I was sat on my bed, tapping away on my laptop, much as I am doing now, when all of a sudden I heard two loud bangs. There is some kind of sadistic irony in the fact that I actually thought to myself “Wouldn’t it be really shit if someone has just smashed into my car?!” Well, that is exactly what had happened. As far as we can work out, the lady that did it had been coming up the road at the side of our house, she hadn’t been looking. At the junction she hit a car coming from her left and shunted him up the road. Because she was turning left, she then span out of control and then ended up in the side of my car. I looked out of the window when hearing the the commotion and can remember shouting out if it “How the hell did you do that?!” (plus a few more expletives!). On first glance it was difficult to see how on earth she had ended up where she was.
This was just the beginning of a drawn out process. I say drawn out – it lasted about a month but it felt like so much longer. Thankfully, the lady concerned admitted liability immediately and so it was a relatively straight forward process, but stressful nonetheless. That afternoon, I spent most of it on the phone to my insurance company who went through everything what felt like a hundred times over. Because she had accepted liability and that none of this was my fault, I was told that I could have a hire car at no cost to me. This was arranged for the following day and at some point over the next couple of days I would receive a call to arrange collection of my poor car.
We moved the car onto our drive and it was not a pleasant experience. There was no control whatsoever and I whilst the damage didn’t look that bad on the outside, I think deep down I knew it wasn’t in a good way. It was like driving on an ice rink. Really quite scary.
The next day, sure enough I had a lovely brand new hire car delivered and the day after that my car was collected. My poor Fiesta looked very pitiful on the back of the recovery truck. Little did I know, that was the last time we would see each other.
It took them about three days to assess the damage and then on the Friday, I had the call I had been dreading. My car had been assessed and had been considered a total loss. The suspension, to put it bluntly, was knackered. It would cost thousands to repair.
So that was that. They would now look at giving me a payout based on the value of my car pre-accident. I waited another few days for this and had the call offering me a figure on the Tuesday of the following week. So I spent my weekend, researching myself, what I think the car was worth. Or more to the point, what kind of figure I would need to replace my car like for like. Thankfully, despite me being armed and ready for them when they called with a figure that wasn’t acceptable, the offer I had was just right. So I accepted and that got the ball rolling.
Later that week after hours scouring Auto-Trader, I found a nice Peugeot 208 in black. It was more than what we had to spend, but we figured if we are going to have to buy a new car, a newer one with a few more mod cons would be nice. We went to view it that weekend and the rest really is history. I fell in love with the car.
I agreed to buy it. The garage were very understanding and realised that I was waiting for the payout and so wait was what I had to do. A week or so later, I received the cheque and it was all systems go. I would collect the car later that week.
Whilst it doesn’t sound that stressful now. At the time it was. I have never spent so much time on the phone for various reasons. I’m not one for phone calls at the best of times. I hate situations where I have to talk to so many strangers over the phone. I could have quite easily handed over all control to my husband, but I didn’t. I dealt with the whole thing from start to finish. I’m quite proud of myself for that.
I know things like this happen on a daily basis, but it’s so so frustrating when you do nothing wrong. My poor car was just sat there. I guess it was in the wrong place at the wrong time.
I’m lucky that my insurance company were so good. I’m lucky she admitted liability so easily. It could have been a whole lot worse.
Thankfully there was no claim on my insurance so it doesn’t affect my premium, although one thing I am super grateful for is that I am not the lady who did all of this. Damaging three cars including her own, I can be certain hers has gone through the roof.
I just hope it’s made her drive more sensibly from now on. And if it does happen to her again, that she apologises to whoever it affects next time. Because I’m still waiting. Somehow I think maybe that ship has sailed! But I’m not bitter. Much.
Have you ever been in accident that wasn’t your fault? Have you had your car written off? Let me know in the comments.
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