A Ding In The Hands Of A Ding-Dong

, , , , , , | Legal | August 3, 2020

My dad had six years with no claims on his insurance and his current insurance was up for renewal in around three months.

We were shopping one day and when we were heading back to the car, we were hit with over ninety-kilometre-per-hour winds. Thus, when my dad went to open the car door, it was blown out of his grasp and hit the door of the car next to us. We checked a few times and realised the only damage was a scratch in the paint as his door just scraped the outside of theirs. 

We waited for them to come out and when they did, my dad calmly explained what had happened and that it was an accident, handing over his insurance details along with his phone number in case this other guy’s insurance needed to hear it from him, too.

The guy was fine with it and said there was no use to get in contact with them as it was only a light scratch. Between them, over the course of ten or fifteen minutes, they agreed for my dad to pay for the scratch to be painted over. We left it at that, other than confirming where the “repair” was getting done so my dad could pay them, and we took pictures. There was text communication between them over the next few days confirming this was what was agreed.

Everything was all done and dandy… or so we thought. When it came time for my dad to renew his insurance, he was shocked at the quotes he was getting. He was currently paying approximately £300 per annum, and the cheapest he was being quoted was £550. He suspected there was an issue with the website, so he called them up to speak to someone where he was given the same quotation.

Understandably, he was confused, so he asked why it had almost doubled when he’d had a six-year no-claim bonus. The operator promised they would look into it and call him back within the hour. When he got the call back, that was when he found out this other guy did file a claim, despite saying he didn’t feel like they needed to as the matter had been solved civilly. My dad had proof of this via text. He was told that the other guy had provided pictures of “extensive” damage and had been awarded a payout.

Now, my dad was even more confused. A paint scratch is not extensive damage, and he’d covered for it to be repainted.

He told the operator all of this and it was just silent for a long time. Then, he was told to submit all the evidence online, but he didn’t have Internet at his house, so it was agreed that someone would be coming around to assess the evidence a week from then. They also confirmed that they had placed a temporary hold on the insurance to cover the time period.

So, a week later, we got a knock on the door. We assumed it was the person being sent out — alongside a police officer. That was when it dawned on us how serious this was. We showed them the evidence, including dates, times, messages, pictures, etc. Then, they asked for the name of the company who repainted the car and we gladly gave it. It was only a mile from where we lived. We both assumed they went there to confirm things with the owner of the place, but we were kept out of the loop for another fortnight whilst they investigated.

Finally, we got a call and the full picture came out. They had ruled in our favour. The guy in question had gotten into an accident a month or so later, which was where the extensive damage came from. He’d worded it that my dad was the cause, but my dad’s picture, alongside messages, proved the timing did not fit. The payout he’d been awarded had to be paid back in full to the insurance company and my dad’s rates would be lowered to £320, which was roughly what he was expecting it to be. We found out in the local newspaper that the guy was found guilty of insurance fraud and got stuck with a large fine alongside a six-month jail sentence.

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