What’s Fair got to do with it

Reality check
Is the car insurance company playing a cat-and-mouse game after their customer had a car crash?

A hero drives a high-speed car on an eight lane highway, stressfully avoiding hitting other cars while zigzagging amongst them. He knows that if he loses his concentration, he will lose his life along with many others, and no one can survive such a high-speed car crash. He can’t slow down because the Lamborghini with the dark-tinted windows is following him. The driver is experienced and the passenger holds the gun and shoots at him at every opportunity he has.

Uh-oh! Why is the traffic slowing down? Our hero can’t slow down in time and hits the car in front of him. The car behind him, trying to avoid him, crashes next to him. The chain reaction involves more than a dozen cars. 

Our hero cannot open the badly damaged car door, freeing himself through the window instead. Wiping away the blood that drips down to his eye from his eyebrow, he starts running for his life in a flash.

Cut! This might sound interesting but this is not what happened.

The reality was that I had a little accident with a big truck; just a light touch and the truck didn’t even get a scratch. Only a fender bender; I mean it was a minor collision between motor vehicles, not a big deal I thought. 

I was so wrong. That’s why I am writing my experience down, hope it can ease some anguish of people who might face the same situation as I did.

No matter how minor the accident, how safe the car and how tightly the seat belt was fastened, you’re likely to experience physical aches and pains following a collision. In many cases, car crashes lead to serious injuries that cause significant pain, debility and months of healing time to make a full recovery. That’s what I read so I should be glad that I was without a scratch.

You might feel shocked, guilty, fearful or angry. Each of these emotions is normal and expected, whether or not you are at fault for the crash. You might immediately be playing it over in your head to try to recall what happened and where things went wrong. This makes sense, but try to remain calm to handle the situation. 

A young man stopped his car to make sure I was alright. After seeing that the truck driver and I were on friendly terms, he drove off and left us to deal with the necessary procedures. I think most Aussies have the spirit of justice; if they think anyone might need a helping hand, they won’t hesitate to jump in voluntarily.

The truck driver was more concerned about my well-being than the vehicles. The crash didn’t give me any negative feelings up to this point. We all face unwanted situations through life, whether you are royalty or a peasant. My mother taught me to fix each unwanted situation when it arises; don’t dwell on it. 

After I said goodbye to the truck driver, I continued to do what I planned to do. The next day I tried to contact the car insurance company. That’s when the negativities started to pop up. I always pay the insurance premium straight after I receive the bill, never complained about the premium rising every year. The company knows how many calls they’ll receive every day, why can’t they provide the service? The machine tells the caller “you are the 54th caller on the line”, does the company think that’s comforting to the caller? Are we really living in a high-technology society? Or is the insurance company playing a cat and mouse game? Money coming to me is fine but if you want to claim I’ll delay as long as I can; ha ha you sucker.

I’m not the person that the insurance company wishes for; I refuse to stay on hold and sulk. Instead, I went online and let my fingers do the work. Filling in the form was easy. Towards the end they provide two repair shops for you to book a day for the car repair job. I picked the one that had a vacant date much sooner; I desperately needed my car to be fixed.

When I called the repair shop, the staff on the phone said she didn’t have my information and advised me to call the insurance company. I tried to get back to my form. Sorry, it treated me like I am a hacker. After many goes, I gave up to save my sanity. 

I felt like the car insurance company was like a wicked rich step-mother who promised my father she’ll look after me while he is far away, but she let me suffer in cold and hunger, won’t let me near till father was almost home. 

A week later, after I had tried many different ways, I really hadn’t got far. Suddenly a green light in my head lit up. I went onto the car insurance company’s website and asked questions in the “chat” box. When the chat ended, it asked me to review the service. 

You guessed it! I gave it a bad review. Believe it or not, soon I received an email from the insurance company.

Almost two weeks after the accident, I received a call. A man told me my car is going to be a write-off. I asked to speak to the manager and he said he was in charge. I said to him my car doors needed some cosmetic attention, that’s all, the car’s engine and interior are in excellent condition, I won’t settle for the write-off and would rather take it back and go somewhere else to fix it up. He threatened me that he will report me to the authorities and make sure the car will never be legally allowed to be driven on the road again. It was clear that if I didn’t agree with him, he has nothing to lose but to make me suffer.

I asked him to put everything down in an email. He did but didn’t have the insurance company’s logo. By then I had already found out he was the motor assessor. The offer for my car’s market value in the email was less than the offer on the phone. The poorest thing was the car insurance company didn’t contact me at all until I accepted the offer from the motor assessor. 

If you think I am pretty unlucky to insure with a bad company, think again! A few weeks before my accident, one of my friends had a similar experience. Her insurance company also wrote off her car for a golf-ball sized dent caused by a kangaroo.

Compared with the insurance company, Vic Roads was like a breath of fresh air. From using the website to filling the form, it was so easy; the acknowledgements afterwards eased customers’ uncertainty. Well done Vic Roads. 

What is going on? Are we living in an instant society? Drink instant coffee, eat instant noodles, instant cosmetic surgery, instant one-night stands, instant artificial insemination and instant vehicles. 

Our world is in trouble now, climate change is already impacting human health. Changes in weather and climate patterns can put lives at risk, ocean temperatures rise and there are droughts, floods, hot summers and freezing winters. We must stand up and do something, for our future generations and ourselves.

The “instant lifestyle” needs industrial activity to support it. Please think before you buy anything, do you really need it? A new car doesn’t make him look smarter, a piece of new clothing doesn’t make her look better, he won’t change his mind because her breasts are a few sizes larger, she won’t be faithful to him because he gave her a large diamond ring. We know it’s not working, why are people still doing it? 

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