Disadvantages Shoddy service when need to claim
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We took out car insurance with NUD a year ago when they gave us a cheaper quote than any other we'd got. We had become dissatisfied with our previous insurer (Elephant) as the premium had leapt up for no apparent reason. With NUD we got fully comprehensive insurance, legal cover, etc. Sounded great.The problems came very recently when we had an accident - hit on the front by a car 'cutting us up' on a roundabout, and then in the rear by a van. So I can pretty confidently say it wasn't our fault. It was scary, we had our 21-month old son in the car with us, but no-one was injured, probably because the traffic was so heavy we were all going very slowly. The accident came almost at the very end of a 300 mile journey; we exchanged details with the other drivers and limped on the 4 miles to our destination - staying with family. There we contacted Norwich Union and advised them what had happened. Very helpful, confirmed our level of cover, the excess (£220! yikes! seemed like a good idea at the time) - which would be refunded if/when the other driver(s) was found to be at fault; and also that we were entitled to a courtesy car. They said a local garage would contact us within 24 hours about the repair and the courtesy car. This was 5pm on a Thursday.
3pm the following day, the garage called and asked my husband to bring the car in, which he did. The mechanic had a cursory look round the outside of the car and informed my husband that it was 'fit to drive' the 300 miles back home and we therefore would not be getting a courtesy car. His main reasoning was that the brake lights had (somehow) escaped damage & we were therefore legal. We were not happy with this - to us, the car *looked* badly damaged - the rear & boot were pretty much caved in where the van had hit us, bumper hanging off. My husband only drove it very gingerly and neither of us felt it was fitting to strap our toddler back into it and drive all the way home. The mechanic then backtracked a little and did a 'jobsworth' on us - we'd have to wait until Monday and speak to his boss, but it any case, the earliest they'd have a courtesy car to give us would be Monday night. To me this indicates that even if the car was clearly not mobile & was a write-off, we would still not have had a vehicle in which to get home for Monday morning! Not very comprehensive cover.We tried to call NUD to discuss this with them, however, it was impossible to get through on the Friday - eventually we got a human being who informed us that 'all systems were down'. We tried for a couple of hours on the Saturday and still couldn't get through; eventually around 2.30 a recorded message told us that the department shut at 2pm and would re-open on Monday morning. This was the 'special' number we were given for dealing with existing claims. Great!
We decided to take leave from work on the Monday, try NUD first thing and see if we could get a resolution & hopefully a car to drive home in later that day. Monday morning - Another 90 minutes on hold and/or being told to call back later as all their agents were busy. Spoke to a human voice, the only solution they had was a different garage in Birmingham, who *might* have a different opinion and maybe even an available courtesy vehicle. But the same scenario - we could only be told that we'd be contacted 'within 24 hours'. In the meantime, the first garage contacted us to give us a repair date which was 2 weeks away - obviously thinking it was reasonable for us not only to drive all the way home in a beaten-up car, but also make a 600 mile round trip at a later date just in order to have it repaired.We reluctantly decided that we'd just have to risk the long drive home in our damaged car, took it slowly and got home safely. The following morning, time to attempt to speak to a human at NUD again. This time it only took 10 minutes on 'last number redial' to get through to someone in India - great. She was very polite , however I had this sense that she could not comprehend our geographical difficulties and in true call centre fashion she simply pretended she could not hear me complaining about the lack of a 'courtesy car in the event of damage' (stated in the policy). She did put in motion contact with yet another garage - this time in the city where we live, although it is 8 miles away. As I write we're still waiting to hear from them, but the 24 hours has not yet elapsed.
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