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I recently crashed into a empty parked car (I'd even slowed to avoid it). I had a moments lapse in my concentration and BANG. Followed by a DOH from me.
Anyway, at that point all hell broke loose. I had to contend with The other car owner (a decorator who spoke no English) The woman whose house the car owner was decorating (very irate-in fact more irate than the dazed car owner) The police (who were very sympathetic but realised how idiotic I was)
Somewhere in the middle of all this was me with my mobile phone, an assortment of cuts and bruises and a lot of confusion. As the AA had arranged my car insurance I rang them to see if they could help tow my car away and sort out the mess that I had created.
The AA put me through to Groupama who are my actual insurers. I only actually spoke to Groupama for about 5-10 minutes in which time I told them what had happened and they calmly told me to contact the police and get the details of the other driver and they would sort everything else out. I have to admit being skeptical but I was so stressed I didn't argue.
About 10 minutes later I was talking to the policeman when I got a call from Groupama telling me that they had sorted out a tow-truck and a courtesy car.
At some point the police went and the tow truck turned up (loaded the remains of my ford fiesta up) and took me to Enterprise cars who sorted out a courtesy car for me.
The next day I received some claims forms from Groupama. These were a single sheet of double sided A4 written in plain english. They were really easy to understand and fill in - helped by the fact that half of it was filled in with details that I had given over the phone.
A week later I got a call from their engineer saying that they were going to write it off (and crush my poor car) and gave me a valuation far less than what I expected, but he also explained that Groupama would contact me and would ask for MOT certificates, maintance things (like changing of fan belt) and that sort of thing raise the valuation (and the settlement).
A few days after that I got that call from Groupama, they explained exactly what they wanted and why and also offered me an interim cheque (a cheque to the engineers value) that would be no way binding so if they revise the valuation I would get another cheque for the difference. This obviously makes a difference when you need to get another car.
It took 2 weeks from the day of the accident to get the interim cheque!
There's the usual trite comment about not knowing how good insurance is until you need it but I suppose it's true.
I chose Groupama insurance through the AA because they offered the cheapest fully comprehensive car insurance for someone like me (no no claims) but the service I've recieved is brilliant.