Fiona Duff: We’re all paying a premium for whiplash claims

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So I was reading in the press this week that around £90 of my car insurance is due to whiplash claims. Was I surprised – heck no.

Perhaps last year I would have read this with disbelief but a few months ago someone drove into the side of my car. After the initial “I’m so sorry”s, the little shyster then changed his mind and said it was my fault. My insurance company then outsourced chasing up this claim to another, whose name I’d love to mention but I can’t afford the legal fees to check that I wouldn’t be sued.

Their first phone call to me asked solicitously if I had sustained any injuries; I replied no and was not interested in going down that route. When they finally got the aforementioned shyster to ‘fess up, my car was taken away and repaired.

A couple of weeks later the unmentionable company phoned again to tell me that the shyster’s insurance company would have put money aside for any injury claim. “You don’t even need to go to the doctor” I was told, “just say that you get a few twinges”. This, as we like to say, looked like a case of free money and for half a nanosecond I was tempted to inquire some more. However, Calvinism kicked in and I told them to take a hike, and in my best Outraged of New Town voice said that I thoroughly disapproved of such practises.

I realised that is why we’re paying an extra £90 for insurance – we are literally being offered pounds on a plate with no medical back-up. And of course, like lunch, there is no such thing as free money. For everyone who takes the dosh set aside for such claims (no-one can afford lawyers these days), it’s mugginses like me who foot the bill.

Today I’m going to phone my insurance company as my daughter has just passed her test (premiums go up) and son is about to turn 17 (premiums go stratospheric). Come to think of it, a couple of grand might just cover the new fully comprehensive bill.