Blogs in this series

Life in Culebrón is a disconnected series of pieces about the banal and ordinary of everyday life in an inland Alicante village seen from my very British perspective.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

The Car II

The driver who bumped into my car says it wasn't his fault. It does't really concern his insurance company at the moment whose fault it was as he has comprehensive insurance. If, in the end, they have to pay out, because it was his fault, he'll lose his no claims bonus. If it turns out to be my fault they'll get their money back by making a claim against my insurance company. If that happens I'll lose my no claims bonus and I won't get my car fixed. But whoever's fault it was he will get his car fixed by his insurance company.

His insurance company won't worry about me. They'll expect my insurance company to look out for me and even to make a claim against them, on my behalf, for third party damage. Unfortunately my company won't be doing that for me because of the legal assistance problem explained below.

My insurance company only insures the "third party" i.e. the other car/driver. I can't make a claim to get my car fixed because my insurance doesn't insure my car - it only covers third parties - in this case the other car. So I have to wait for the other driver's insurance company to approach mine probably to ask for payment for the repairs they carried out on their client's car. They may only do that if he claims it was my fault and it may take months if not years. At that point my insurance company may contest the point to avoid having to make the payment. Or they may decide it's too much hassle and just pay up. I don't know how insurance companies behave and they probably won't tell me.

I am left in the middle with almost nowhere to turn to make anything happen. Normally this wouldn't come about because part of the insurance policy would be Legal Assistance. That is I'd have insured myself for someone to act on my behalf in a situation just like this one. But, when I took out the insurance, I said that I had breakdown cover from a car club. Breakdown cover is normally sold as an integral part of a Spanish insurance policy. What nobody told me at the time was that "breakdown cover" was shorthand for "breakdown cover and legal assistance" so when I turned down the breakdown I turned down legal assistance too.

Tricky isn't it? And boring. I bet you that most people who've got this far have lost the thread of the argument. Now imagine trying to do this in Spanish. Difficult technical language, complex concepts, lots of ifs and buts.

I've talked to lawyers at the car club, people at the brokers, the Guardia, the local police and now I suppose I'll have to go the consumer's office. They all think it's a shame. They all symapthise but none of them can suggest anything other than to sit it out and see what happens. In the meantime my car looks a mess, has dodgy lights and will almost certainly run out of "MOT" before anything gets settled. I'll probably just end up taking it off the road and scrapping it and accepting the loss. Quite bad news.

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