A Reader Asks About Your Car Insurance Experiences In Barbados

barbados-car-crash.jpg

A new BFP reader called Gee Wiz! sent us the following letter and asks about the auto insurance experiences of other folks.

Any comments?

Dear Barbados Free Press

I have become aware of your website recently, and I like what you are up to (so far). I am concerned about motor insurance, which I have always thought was legalized robbery. I have been involved in an accident that was not my fault, but I had to walk away from because of maybe bad laws, definitely bad precedents, and lazy indifferent “professionals” and officials.

Now, I have been involved in another accident that no one is stepping forward or stepping up and doing what should be done (If this were a
soap opera I would say what a tedious story line! Unfortunately it is all too real.) I want to find out how a police report could take over one and a half years to complete.

I want to find out if it is remotely legal for the insurance company of a vehicle that went off-side and struck another face-on into the driver’s door and pushed it off of the left side of the road (the second vehicle’s “right and proper side”) to claim that the liability is unclear because what their client says conflicts with what the driver of the hit vehicle says.

How many scenarios can you come up with that could fault the vehicle that was struck? It’s like a rear-ender… a no-brainer!

The police says that I am not to blame (and I am not) but the accident was actually caused by another vehicle. Surely any disputes must arise between that vehicle and the one that hit me. What do we pay insurance
for???! So they can say “No, we get to keep all the money?) Justice delayed is justice denied, isn’t it. I mean, it takes an instant to tell the truth, but concocting a lie could take considerably longer if you want to make sure it’s a lie that “stands up”, right?

This is not good enough by far. I would like your help. I would like, if you could, to find out what sort of experiences BFP site visitors have had with insurance companies and police dragging their feet over cases that are either simple, or are not in any way helped by the passing of inordinate lengths of time.

Is Barbados only a tourist destination or do the citizens have a right to be comfortable as well?

Yours sincerely,
(and in hope)

Gee Wiz!

Crash photo by Shona 

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18 Comments

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18 responses to “A Reader Asks About Your Car Insurance Experiences In Barbados

  1. iriebrown

    I think you should change your insurance company. You know years ago we had brokers who did the battling with the insurance companies for us. They had power as they had clients behind them however things have changed or we generally deal directly with the Insur.Co. That is to our disadvantage.

    Talking about Police Reports I can remember years ago (at least 15) my car was damaged by a someone the police were trying to restrain, right in front of the bus terminal. I was waiting at the traffic light. Unfortunately I had to move on as the light changed and when I was able to stop and have a look it was quite a distance from the police.

    I went straight to St.Lawrence Police Station and reported it. They took a statement. And is usual I didn’t get a copy and unfortunately did not ask for one. (Never again!) Anyway I ended up having to pay for the damage myself as the Police report disappeared, never to be found again. It wasn’t worth it to go thru my Ins.Co. (ie. broker).

    But I have another story where my broker helped me tremendously after a little nudge. I owned a company that paid quite a lot of insurance as it was a ancillary service in the tourism industry. Our van got damaged and I won’t go into the whole story but withour the help of my broker they wouldn’t have paid up. I have to admit that the initial response was it wasn’t possible but after talking about moving my business to another company he pulled out all the stops.

    I do realise that I had some leverage that the average person would not have.

    So there you are. I suggest though that you obtain insurance through a broker.

  2. BreadfruitBoy

    Car insurance here is a scam – for the most part. The costs are high, but then so is the cost of repair, possibly due to the cost of importing the parts.

    A bigger problem is the way that we deal with small ‘fender benders’ or even larger damage to the vehicle when there is no damage to the people. Having to wait for over an hour, blocking busy roads and backing up traffic is just plain silly.

    In the UK, IIRC, police will not even respond to an accident unless there has been an injury. No injury, then exchange papers and move your cars – with a tow truck if needed.

    Yes there is problems with undocumented people driving, no tax, no insurance but there are other ways of dealing with the problem, and YOUR insurance company should ‘insure’ that you don’t suffer what was not your fault.

    BB

  3. sis

    When you have a Supervisor of Insurance and Pensions namely Carlos Belgrave who is awarded the “worst regulator” in the OffshoreAlert awards of 2006, what do you expect?
    Rotten to the core.

  4. liz

    Gee Whiz

    Your insurance agent/company should be representing you – you should not be having to deal with this matter.
    Car insurance here is not a scam if you buy your insurance through an experienced insurance agent who works for a long standing reputable firm. Sometimes insurance may cost a little more from a bigger firm but when there is an incident they will represent you.
    Cheap thing no good – good thing no cheap.
    A reputable insurance firm will advise/represent you in all incidents.
    Fender benders are a waste of time. No injury or serious damage – get the information from the other driver and move on – report the matter to your insurance company as soon as possible.
    Any police matter takes forever.

  5. Chase

    Gee Whiz:

    I like you ,am still waiting for a police report in order to get back my $1000.00 I had to pay the insurance for that ridiculous fee ,which by the way went up from $500..

    Police here no longer decides who is at fault even if it is obvious,this is now done by insurance companies,so even if the accident looks like a ‘no brainer’,it still comes down to the companies.When was the last time you saw a policeman taking measurements or testing brakes at the scene?

    What I can tell you is that if you have a contact in the Force or if you are willin to part with a couple bucks,the report will be finished in a jiffy.I am waiting for mine now for over 2 years…funny enough ,I sold the car this year.

    Even the insurance companies cannot speed up the reports and this has led to some friction between them and the police.All they can do is send off request after request but in the end the police are the ones who drag their feet.

    What seems to get things done though ,barring bribery…is a strongly worded letter from an attorney to both the insurance firm and the RBPF.
    For me I done with that.Why do you think there are so much uninsured cars on the roads?

  6. Zulu

    Five years and three months ago, I was involved in an accident at a roundabout. The other driver was jambusting, that is, overtaking on the left. With no room to manuevre, the other person had no choice but to ram my left side. More than $3400.00 in damages resulted. I had to pay the first $1500.00 ( a recondition car).
    To this day, May 3 2007, some five years and three months I have not received a cent from the insurance company even though everyone said that I was right. The problem? No police report was ever received even though it was requested several times. My investigations subsequently revealed that the police officer ( sergeant) was/is a close cousin to the other driver.
    I have since moved on and have left all parties in the hands of the Lord.
    I have since changed companies and I must admit that the service here is much better. Hope it lasts.

  7. True Native

    See what I’ve been saying all along, about wrongdoers having relatives/connections in high places? It is a No Win situation here in Barbados.

  8. Chase

    Can some one please explain how the ‘Excess’ fee is calculated.It went from $500.00 to $1500.00 in 2 years.

  9. Chase

    Which means if you must hit your car …….better make it a hit worth over the excess otherwise all is at you…….this would be funny if it wasnt so sad.

  10. Zulu

    Chase, read your policy again. The excess on a reconditioned vehicle is more than for a ” normal” vehicle. And yes, the excess has gone up. In case you did not know, insurance companies are NOT suppose to lose any money at any level.

  11. Lady Anon

    Gee Wiz…we all have horror stories in dealing with accidents, police and the insurance companies. My dad was involved in an accident in the early 1990s with a ZR van. To date, the insurance has not settled, the case was never called, the ZR driver has subsequently died…luckily, my dad escaped with a few bruises.

    However, to answer your question, I agree with Liz that your insurance agent should be representing and you should not be doing this on your own. With that in mind, however, I would push the insurance agent to follow up on your behalf.

    Just a couple of questions, though…

    1. You indicated that the police said you were not at fault. Did you get the numbers of the police officers? It would help in pushing the insurance company if you can say that officers PC??? and PCXXX were on the scene.

    2. Did they give you a document indicated that you may be required to go to court to answer charges? If they did, then you may be able to get a signature or something off the document.

    3. Did you take your own independent photos, and not just the one shown above?

    Unfortunately, sometimes even though we are paying for a service, we have to push and do the legwork to ensure that our rights are protected.

    Do not give up. Do like all of us waiting for a house from the NHC. Call every week.

    Good luck

  12. bajejun

    One thing about Insurance always bothered me, that is paying of excess. If I insure my car fully comprehensive, that covers me for all accidents under the said policy, why then should I have to make an upfront payment(excess) before the insurance company can process my claim.
    This is one of the many things need regulating, and I think it is high time laws are passed to bring these insurance companies in line

  13. Gee Wiz

    Thanks, BFP and readers. I didn’t think the situation was quite that bad!

    Thanks for the advise. I wasn’t sitting back, though; I do have an attorney, and I have been calling the police and tracking my report through the system, that’s how I know I was not blamed by them, and I have names nad numbers.

    FYI the picture shown was a nice editorial addition, but not mine. My accident was no fender-bender: my roof caved in to inches from my seat, and the front was crumpled like paper. Everyone who saw it says it’s a miracle I wasn’t hurt worse. I’ve been on it, hence my utter frustration.

    “Cheap things no good” shouldn’t be good enough – it’ s LAW that you carry insurance, so why is it not LAW that insurance companies act like they are supposed to? (Does any think if I was one of those precious World Cup tourists that it’d be settled quick quick?)

  14. Gee Wiz

    A friend just called to tell me that there’s a story in the Nation about a woman who lost a hand in a minibus accident 5 YEARS ago and has not received ant settlement to date… I couldn’t find the story on the Nation’s website…

  15. Lady Anon

    Gee Wiz…I am not even sure if the passengers on “Midnight Assasin”…the ZR on which 3 people were killed and others injured in the 1980s received compensation either.

  16. cHeRyL

    As an insurance person I would suggest to all to hire a lawyer if not certain of your rights. However the onus is to get behind the police officer who did the report and also get a copy of the report, it is a case of priorities. Dont let time slip by or else you may be forgotten oh buy the way you will definitely have to harass the said lazy lawyer. Insurance companies pay without fail when they have to pay but will not if they can find a loop hole… its the nature of running a profitable business.

  17. Tell me what advice you have for me.
    I was contacted by my insurance company on Sept 15th 2010 regarding an accident that my vehicle was alleged to be in four days prior. I told the lady I nor my passenger had no knowledge of the accident; I remember I drove unto the compound and finding no available space to park, I left. At the time she called I was suffering from severe Gastro ( I have my insurance form to prove my illness); I was therefore unable to go into their offices and they said they would send a rep to me. He came about a week and half later and told me he was so busy it slipped his mind. I contacted the Police regarding this supposed accident and they said the only statement of this accident was mine and my occupant.
    I informed my insurance and went into their office on Sept 29th when i was feeling better, and also gave a statement to the effect that I had no knowledge and would never leave an accident scene since Im covered. Well I received a letter dated Oct 7th 2010 saying the I failed to report the accident within 7 days and my policy was cancelled forthwith. This insurance is supposed to be representing me. I will contact my lawyer on Monday because this is simply crazy. I have been with this insurance for years

  18. peter dodds

    hi, the reason for the police draging their heals and the ignorance of some insurance companies is because they have no formal training, i am a UK road traffic accident investigator, and have scene first hand the problems that barbados has, insurance agents and police officers that are not qualifed in road traffic accident investigation should not get involved as it takes years of training to become certified in both civil and criminal procedures in road traffic accidents, many of my cases have taken appoximately two weeks to conclude, i have offer to relocate to barbados as an indepentant investigator because you need serious help, with the police failing to take remedial action but cannot get any backing, bardabos may be a developing country, but it has a lot to learn all government officials and police officers have a moral duty of care, improvements in road safety do not come about by stuffing it under a table.
    p dodds RTA investigator