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The car had three small scratches, costing €300 to fix. The insurance claimant asked for €3,800

Pricewatch: Joanne and Frank got in touch over differing experiences that they found costly - and very annoying

The story we ran last week about a woman who was made to pay dearly for a small scratch on another car, largely because of the couldn’t-care-less attitude of her insurer, prompted many readers to get in touch with other tales of woe.

First there was Joanne, who wanted to share the unpleasant experience of her daughter in a supermarket car park. “She tipped into the passenger door of a car that was parked on double yellows behind her, basically blocking her into her space,” she begins. “The man actually sat in the car when it happened, watched her reversing, attempting to get out, and made no attempt to move out of her way.

The upshot was “three small scratches that could be fixed for €300 (the quote when we showed the photo to a bodywork place) was inflated to a €3,800 new door by the third party”, she continues. “Their photo the following day suddenly had a huge dent in their door.”

So Joanne’s daughter had to go to the insurance company.


“We told them that we believed the third party were lying but they paid out after seven months,” Joanne says. “They told my daughter a month after the bump that they were not going to pay out, and then six months later when she queried her doubled premium, they realised the claim was still open – and they then rang the third party and decided to give them a new door.”

Joanne and her daughter are both “dreading to see what her insurance will cost next year. She was still an N driver at the time, so couldn’t have a protected no claims bonus.”

Then there was Frank. His story was different – but it is not hard to see why he is annoyed.

I answered all their questions and awaited the many quotes they promised me. All of the six or seven quotes were more than double my last year’s premium, without fail

“I have just received a renewal notice for my next year’s car insurance,” he begins. “For the record, I thankfully have incurred no penalty points, accidents, DUI, etc in the past year. So, when I opened their letter I thought that this should be a straightforward renewal, given a lifetime of safe driving.”

It was anything but straightforward, and he was horrified to see that his premium had almost doubled “without any logical explanation as to how this hike came about”.

He sent them a short email asking for their rationale for this rise and a week later was advised to ring for an explanation. Before he did that he went online and sought a quote from a rival provider.

“I answered all their questions and awaited the many quotes they promised me. All of the six or seven quotes were more than double my last year’s premium, without fail. Then the penny dropped that it might be my age that’s causing the continued premium rises, regardless of my safe driving. I’m 79 years of age and have just renewed my license for three years.”

He wonders what is the “situation regarding ageism and driving? I mean the various figures quoted had an uncanny sameness, no evidence of actual competition? Is this treatment of older drivers legal or is it just a case of skewering them [drivers] because they [insurance companies] will get away with it without complaint? Until now!”

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