Conflicting Information From Insurance Companies

Associate
Joined
18 Sep 2003
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879
I'm currently stuck inbetween two insurance companies telling me different things and I don't quite know which to believe, so I'm hoping someone here can offer some advice.

What happened is my wife was parked at her work and someone reversed into our car. She was not there at the time, but an independent witness was who wrote down the reg and their contact details and came in, told my wife what happened and gave her the details. The driver did not stop.

I rang Direct Line, who are my insurance company. They gave me a claim reference and looked up the reg and told me it's insured with Zurich, but said as my policy is third party only, I'd have to handle the claim myself directly with Zurich.

I called Zurich and they were terrible. I got repeatedly passed around and cut off, but eventually after about an hour, I was able to lodge a claim and got a claim number. I gave them the contact details of the witness. That was over a month ago and I've called them for an update and all they can tell me if they sent a letter to the policy holder a month ago and he hasn't responded, so they'll continue to send letters, but they said a claim that goes smoothly usually takes 6 months and one that doesn't can take years.

They also said they haven't contacted the witness because that's not their job. They said it's my responsibility to collect a statement and send it to them. I asked why they didn't tell me that when I lodged the claim and why they took the witness details and they said it's not their job to tell me and Direct Line should have told me. They said in fact, they shouldn't even be dealing with me because regardless of my cover level, Direct Line should be dealing with it. They suggested I call Direct Line back and ask them to deal with the claim.

I called Direct Line and they were adamant that if someone only has 3rd party insurance and it's a clear case of no liability such as in this instance, the normal process is for the insurance company providing 3rd party cover that's not liable not to get involved.

They also said the timeframes Zurich quoted are ridiculous. They said if the situation were reversed, they'd send 3 letters 2 weeks apart and if no response was received, they'd settle "without prejudice", so about 6 weeks in total.

So both companies are contradicting each other and I don't know who to believe, but I'm inclined to believe Direct Line as they've always been excellent and Zurich seem to be a shambles.

Direct Line said my only other option was to use a claims management company, but they couldn't recommend one, so I don't know how I'd find one (any recommendations)?

The actual damage is only to the rear bumper, but there are lots of scratches and a couple of dents. The car is 10 years old and already has other scratches and dents (although the areas damaged in this crash were not previously damaged), so had the guy stopped, we'd have been very reasonable about it, but I'm enraged that he didn't and don't think he should be able to get away with that, and Zurich are being so awful that I wouldn't feel bad about a claims management company being harsh with them (although I would not be prepared to lie or exaggerate at all).

Thanks for any advice anyone can give :)
 
Soldato
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It isn't Zurich's job to help you claim against them to be fair. You have to prove your case and be prepared to go to court.

Similarly as you don't have comprehensive cover, Direct Line can't let you claim against your own policy and then recover it from Zurich.

If the policyholder is ignoring the claim, then you will win in court and so Zurich will keep that in mind when you push them hard enough.
 
Soldato
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I also don't believe it is likely a claims management company will take such a problematic claim on and risk their money (they can't get any repair costs from Direct Line, and Zurich might make things difficult with no guarantee you can prove it if policyholder starts disputing it). If you are able you will have to pay out of your own pocket and then invoice them for compensation and if Zurich still refuse be prepared to issue legal proceedings.

Claiming compensation off someone isn't as simple as making a phone call and sending some letters.
 
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Associate
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Was this in the works car park or on a public road? I’m guessing it was in a company car park since you’ve not involved the police?

It was the car park for an NHS GP surgery, so I'd guess that's private land, but I didn't even know that made a difference. I'd love for the guy to get a visit from the police, but I didn't report it to them because I assumed all they'd do is give me a crime reference number and that's it. A colleague of mine got hit whilst parked about a year ago with the guy driving off and in that case, there was clear CCTV and the police wouldn't do anything, and I've reported more serious crimes such as fraud before and still been unable to get them to do any sort of investigation.

It sounds like it's probably going to be more hassle than it's worth so I should just drop it, but I'm very annoyed to let the scumbag get away with it. At least I've learnt not to buy 3rd party insurance even if I have an old, beaten up car.
 
Soldato
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It sounds like it's probably going to be more hassle than it's worth so I should just drop it, but I'm very annoyed to let the scumbag get away with it. At least I've learnt not to buy 3rd party insurance even if I have an old, beaten up car.

Even then with no guarantee of getting the other party to pay, would you risk having a claim on your own policy (plus paying excess) for an old banger?
 
Soldato
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Why third party only? I used to work at DLI & it never made any meaningful difference to prices.
 
Associate
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any CCTV footage ?
ask for a copy and send this to your insurance company and theirs!
Unfortunately not but there is physical evidence because I have some of his paint embedded in the scratches and dents he put in my bumper.
 
Associate
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Why third party only? I used to work at DLI & it never made any meaningful difference to prices.
Because I'm an idiot. There was a price difference and I thought it was pointless going full-comp because the value they would put on the car in the event of a claim minus the excess would mean not getting much back. I didn't realise it would mean I'm on my own on a third party claim and it's also going to cost me about £400 I think because I've got a crack on my windscreen so I will need to pay for a replacement heated screen soon before the MOT is due.
 
Soldato
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Why involve their insurance at all? Get the person's details from the DVLA and demand the money from them directly, if they don't respond, begin small claims proceedings against them.

Assuming your witness is willing to provide a statement then it should be an easy win.

Also, wouldn't the police still be interested in a hit and run in a publicly accessible car park, even if it is private land?
 
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Don
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Why involve their insurance at all? Get the person's details from the DVLA and demand the money from them directly, if they don't respond, begin small claims proceedings against them.

Assuming your witness is willing to provide a statement then it should be an easy win.
I'm in a very similar situation. Friday, public road where I regularly park for work and a colleague told me that the car behind me had rolled down the hill into the back of mine (dents, paint scratches, split plastic bits, probably £1k damage in all), went out to get photos but they had already driven off without leaving details. The thing is, they are also a regular parker there and I've since managed to get their number plate, and photos of the damage to their car when they returned this week. I'm going to leave a note on their car tomorrow but I don't expect a response given they just drove off originally and clearly don't give a **** even about the damage to their own car and I don't really expect the police to really be bothered despite them breaking the law.

I suspect if I go through their insurance that it will be a long protracted battle with no guarantee of success if they deny it, even with an independent witness willing to give a statement, so the small claims court had crossed my mind but I'm not sure how the court will view it given the vehicles are insured (or hopefully hers is!).
 
Soldato
Joined
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I'm in a very similar situation. Friday, public road where I regularly park for work and a colleague told me that the car behind me had rolled down the hill into the back of mine (dents, paint scratches, split plastic bits, probably £1k damage in all), went out to get photos but they had already driven off without leaving details. The thing is, they are also a regular parker there and I've since managed to get their number plate, and photos of the damage to their car when they returned this week. I'm going to leave a note on their car tomorrow but I don't expect a response given they just drove off originally and clearly don't give a **** even about the damage to their own car and I don't really expect the police to really be bothered despite them breaking the law.

I suspect if I go through their insurance that it will be a long protracted battle with no guarantee of success if they deny it, even with an independent witness willing to give a statement, so the small claims court had crossed my mind but I'm not sure how the court will view it given the vehicles are insured (or hopefully hers is!).
Insurance, call them. Don't faff about
 
Man of Honour
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Surrey
If the TP's insurer is playing hardball, threaten them with an accident management company. It tends to get things moving quickly.
This is exactly what I did a few years ago. Someone hit my car in a hospital car park. I had a witness. I aimed directly with their insurance company. They refused to admit liability and their insurance company started getting defensive and refusing to talk to me. I threatened an accident management company and said it would massively increase the claim because of the costs they would also claim. They settled fairly quickly after that.
 
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