If you are a biker, you may have been fortunate and got away with it; never having to claim for loss or damage to your bike. I was one of those fortunate men in my biking career. I have had all manner of bikes in the past [see first items on here] and have gone from a 50cc moped to a 1400cc beast of a bike, but in all that time, I do not think I have ever had the paperwork for a claim in my hands until recently and it became a lesson in lunacy and error ridden insurance companies as well as a lesson in patience and perseverance.
Now patience has never been my virtue. You only have to sit with me in the car for ten minutes before I am swearing obscenities at some A-Hole in the car in front of me. It is a cross between road rage and Tourettes. I have worked as a miner and a soldier, so I know every swear word there is and am not averse at using them, especially when behind the wheel. When on the bike, I just mutter the words “Fuck Off” as I fly past said numptie in his car trying to be stupid because there is a bike behind him, and it is usually a him!
But claiming insurance for theft this time was one hell of a lesson.
I think I told the story on the last thread, but on October 11th, I was woken by the Police at my door, telling me they had found a bike, my Honda CBF1000, wedged into a hedge on a playing field near to where we live. They were happily returning it, looking me up and down in my jammies and asking “how strong are you? This is one heavy bike!”
Pair of puffs, the both of em!
I thanked them in my state of shock and needed a sweet tea immediately. My anger and my PTSD were kicking in, big time, causing me to wretch after they had gone. They did what they do and sent a Forensic bod to my bungalow to dust for prints, but said directly to me that “it was most possibly the Pikies on the next estate and they always wear gloves” so they weren’t expecting much.
I was just glad to get it back!
I went to the local shops, bought a bitch of a chain that was so thick and heavy and 2m of galvanised chain, with two very thick padlocks, again so heavy that if you dropped one on your toe, you’d not be walking straight for a week! I then put the bike back where it had been for the entire time I have had a bike since we have been here. I got onto the insurer as well, Bennetts Insurance, who were very supportive.
Then came the nightmare.
Bennetts you see, do something very strange and for this reason, this is why you should never go with Bennetts, or never go with an insurer through the likes of GoCompare, or MoneySupermarket, or indeed, any of those comparison sites. You see, what happens is that they look around for insurers and you can insure a beast of a bike like a CB1300 for £127 for the year. That is amazing when it comes to quotes. But move house and then ring them up and see what happens next. Yes, we have changed your address and will send your revised policy out. Now can we have our £35 admin charge please? Any change you make, whatever it may be, incurs such a charge and I moved three times once in a year when all we had was a car.
It is a bloody nightmare!
So I knew that cost was important but balanced with the rest, it had its faults, but I was not expecting what would happen next. You see, as soon as I saw the damage to the loom, I thought I wonder, how much would Teasdales charge me to fix it so we leave the insurer out of it all. I asked them for a quote and they said £670 which in essence made my decision for me. The claim had to continue. But the lovely man at Teasdales, my favourite bike shop for many reasons, sent me an email telling me that if Bennetts say they will use a company called 4th Dimension Ltd, from Surrey, say no, for they will take your bike and write it off when it need not be written off. They are known for this, apparently and treat you like scum. Wise words in the end of it, as you will see.
Within three days of being stolen, re-protected by chains and locks, some git appeared and took the bike again. This time, we think it was a different brood. It all seemed more professional in terms of thieves. So now, within three days, the bike had been stolen twice. Bennetts were notified again. They said no problem, we will stop the first claim and open a new one. We will use a company called 4th Dimension. I said no thanks and they ignored me. They had said they will do the admin when the bike was returned to me and the local Honda dealer, at my behest, would do the work, but when it vanished totally, like a fart in the wind, they were now in charge.
My two word response was, “Oh shit!”
This was the 13th October 2017. Normally, once they have the keys and paperwork, the payment is quite swift. But this was nothing but snail pace when it came to paying me what I was owed. I had to send emails every day, asking about this and that. They would send emails back and phone me saying sorry, they had made an error and so payment will be delayed. I was looking at bikes again, being told by them, that the payment would be made by the 18th. If I had not got it in my account by then, then give them a ring or another email to let them know.
The 18th came and went so I emailed. All I got was an email saying we apologise. We have made another error internally. We will get on it immediately and get the payment to you by the 20th. Yes, you guessed it. It never materialised and after 7 more days, it still had not come to my account. I had had to say to five dealers “I am interested in that bike,” only to then tell them that I could not go forward because 4th Dimension were being a pain in the arse and not paying me. In the end, I threatened with the use of words like “my former colleagues at the Press Association” and things like that, bringing on a telephone call from the Chief Customer Relations manager. He apologised again and said that as a way of saying sorry, I would receive the £2150 as it should be plus a payment of £100 because so many errors had been made in this case.
He said it would all be in my account by midnight that day. But this was now the 28th!
I emailed him the following day, thanking him for the £100 but to tell him that the other £2150 was still not there. He was apoplectic. He then went about his business colleagues with an iron rod by the feel of it, because on the 30th, at 3pm, when he says payments have to be authorised by, the £2150 hit my account and I was so relieved.
But it had put me right off even thinking of trying to get another bike.
The added thing was that I could not get one without a garage here and the landlord had refused me to erect a garage. So I began to sell everything; boots, both jackets [thieving gits had got my gloves] and other stuff I did not need. I had just bought a rad grill and a new Givi screen for it two days before it was stolen. Not happy!
Thankfully, the other day, my church Minister agreed to let me put my next bike in his garage. He lives two doors away so it will be a brilliant arrangement for me. But what a bloody palava with the insurance payout. The CS Manager has said he has raised a formal complaint on my behalf with a view to Bennetts and ERS paying me some compensation but to be fair, I could not be bothered because in the end, I shall not be going back through Bennetts.
Ironically, yesterday, my renewal papers came from Bennetts and I took one look and said “Not bloody likely” and rang them up to cancel telling them I no longer own the bike after payout. 4th Dimension do.
Insurance, we all know, is a pain in the rear, but I did not want a proctology exam when making a claim. I got one in the end, but with perseverance [and some patience] I got my cash from them.
Now, all I have to do is buy another bike and I am looking at this one.
Oh happy day!