Claim denied

I’ve just heard from my insurer and been told that the claim I lodged on the accident with the Viggen has been denied.

They dropped a letter in the post yesterday outlining the reasons why, but I’ve asked for that letter to be faxed to me as it wasn’t in this morning’s mail delivery and I don’t want to be stewing about it all weekend. Once I know their reasons why I’ll be able to decide if it’s worth disputing the decision.

One of my colleagues at the office, who’s a former insurance officer, said that it’s not unusual for investigated claims to be denied at first. The fact that it needed to be investigated at all gives them plenty of wiggle room, I guess.

I’ll check the letter when it comes, but my gut feel is that this isn’t going to end well.

The next decision, therefore, will be whether to pull some money out of the morgage and fix the Viggen straight away or buy another cheaper car and save up the money to fix it, which is going to be a fair bit.

I’ll await this letter, chat with my mechanic and see what he’s got to say.

I feel sick.


UPDATE: The letter has come in.

Their denial of the claim is based on their belief that the course was a performance driving course rather than a driver training course. They’ve even referred to it in the opening paragraph that way:

I refer to your claim under the above policy for damage to your motor vehicle sustained in an accident on 22nd July 2007 whilst attending the Performance Driving day of a course at Baskerville Raceway.

NONE of the documentation pertaining to the event I attended called it a Performance Driving day. It was a Driver Training day. That’s what it was called on the event documentation, all of which they have a copies of. I guess they’re framing it in a way that suits their purposes.

The exclusion that they’re quoting is as follows:

Cover will not be provided if such course comes under the jurisdiction of Confederation of Australian Motorsport (CAMS) or any other motorsport governing body, or where there are no designated instructors in attendance, except where this is covered by the Club Racing Optional Endorsement.

Whilst I did have to join CAMS for the day, this was only for the event organiser’s insurance purposes. It was not a CAMS event, not a timed event, it had a speed limit on the track and the lead instructor for the event was in the car with me at the time. It was an event that was about teaching better car control, hence the exercises that were conducted prior to the lap sessions.

I do have avenues open to dispute this ruling and I’m considering those at the moment. I think that the insurers have shown their hand, however, and will exercise every available “out” they can find. As I said at the start of this whole thing, they’re not in business to give away money. But this IS one of the reasons why you pay insurance premiums.

It looks like the Viggen’s going to have to go into storage for a little while, while I figure out what to do.

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  1. swade, don’t know if this helps but maybe you would be better off with one of those car enthusiast insurers.

    I’ve heard they tend to be a lot more sympathethic when it comes to claims.

  2. that’s a shame.

    when that letter arrives read it carefully and argue any point that doesn’t seem right. you may be able to at least get partial coverage. insurance co’s are always settling claims on 75/25 or 50/50 basis. if they think you are likely to sue they will be more likely to cut a deal.

    good luck.

  3. Swade,

    Here’s the deal, you know what needs to be replaced in the Viggen and you know the cost.

    When taking on a new “used” car, you will never “really” know for any certainty what needs to be replaced and when.

    Stick with the beast you do know, the Viggen you’ve grown to love and enjoy.

    Good luck.

  4. I kinda saw this coming, but honestly, if the appeal doesn’t net you at least partial payment, I think you have grounds for a lawsuit. Like you said, the fact that they investigated at all implies that they were looking for a way out. I’m sure everything will be a lot clearer when you get their reasoning.

  5. Swade, just had a retro at the damage you mention (been on hols).

    Mate this is some pretty bad damage and i know most insurers would treat as write off with far less.

    The chassis misalignment is generally the clincher. If it were me, i would be looking at another car and perhaps sell the viggens remains on ebay (you might be surprised) to soften the blow.

    What would be the price range your’e looking at?

  6. Swade,
    I think we’re all feeling sick with you right now. I’m with those that think you can get at least a partial settlement if you don’t fold now. I’m sure they would rather pay some settlement than be involved in a high publicity, image damaging lawsuit.

  7. I’m sorry to read this news, Swade. I can’t imagine the feeling.

    If you lodge an appeal and it’s denied, I suggest you publicize the name of the insurer on your ‘blog so that other Aussie SAAB owners steer clear of them. It’s not a vengence thing, it’s fair warning to others that this insurer was not there for you when they were obligated to be so others shouldn’t trust them with their business.

    That’s just my 2 cents…

  8. This is a big blow Swade, I feel the pain and understand what this means. For most of us this is also a big blow and a loss as I can not imagine “Swade without his Viggen”. The Saab world feels empty. My 2 cts worth suggestion will be to attempt to buy another car namely a 9-5 Aero to recover some of the joys of the Viggen. I’m sorry mate !!!

  9. Hm…now that I think about it, this could have a silver lining, because it’s an excuse to end up with a 99 turbo. 🙂

    Though I still hope the appeal (or whatever you decide to do when the information comes) works out.

  10. I agree with Gripen.

    I’ve had bad experiences with insurance companies (RACV) before, primarily because the 9-5 has a turbo, and therefore I must be some sort of irresponsible hoon.

    Name them and shame them, I say.

  11. Before you keep anything, weigh the options. Buying another 9-3 that can accept the Viggen parts that you already have may be the best overall strategy. Money wise and performance wise — sometimes body/chassis damage is difficult to properly straighten.

  12. So here’s a question, now that you are getting the 900, what’s the plan if the insurance company decides to pay up and you get the Viggen fixed? Will you keep the 900 and have two cars, or will you sell off the 900 once the Viggen is back to normal? I can’t really see you selling the Viggen if it gets fixed, but that’s the other option.

  13. Steve,

    Just a quick one to say that I’m free tonight if you feel like burning down the Shannons office in Argyle St. Just as long as I’m back by 9:30 to watch the ABC weather update.



  14. Swade,
    I feel with you and hope you can find some solution. You should keep the Viggen and make her healty again…
    Actually, the insurance companies are worse in Hungary. People who want to play it safe use D.A.S., a special insurance company from Germany to protect the consumer rights and to act on their customer’s behalf against the insurance companies with professional specialized lawyers.
    Most of the insurance companies change their attitude dramatically after the first official letter from D.A.S.

  15. SWADE YOU’RE WITH SHANNONS? Pardon for stating the obvious but this really sucks. The advertise ad nauseum about supporting enthusiasts and they do this.

    I will be spreading the word on this, absolutely pathetic and poor form on their part. I understand (not agree) with the way insurance Cos operate but these guys are “boutique” and should be offering something.

  16. Sorry to hear that Swade, but fight back…
    Yeah Ivan is right. Here in the ‘new’ capitalist markets (read post-communist countries) the insurers are often hard to tackle. But there are legal advice insurance companies with D.A.S being the leader. Per year you pay something like 40Euros and get access to cca 10000Euro worth of legal services (and some for free).
    You get a sticker for the car which warns the cops, insurance ‘inquisitors’ ,etc that “you got a lawyer (prepaid) and you are not afraid to use it ” 😉 Its the next best thing to being a lawyer and having a personal/company lawyer.
    The sticker also works on the cops that are trying to get money for something they don’t have proof of. The joke here is that the cops look for DAS sticker even before looking for the technical/emission control ones 😉

  17. Swade the first duty of an insurer is to deny, they pay people to do it. Stick to your guns and point out who you are and the coverage you get on the net.

    Maybe I am an bit naieve but maybe Saab would be in a positin to help keep costs down? I believe Ferrari and Lamboin the past would help enthuisiasts who needed “assistance”.


    do the repairs and put it online and get sponsored by suppliers – someone built a house for free doing this a few years ago.

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