Good luck to the publicans in their battle with the insurance company

A crashed Mitsibushi Galant. Mine wasn’t quite as bad as this one!

I don’t know if you’ve been following the court case involving publicans and their insurance company.

It looks fairly simple – but of course once lawyers get involved, it’s anything but.

The simple version is that publicans believed they were insured against a pandemic and have lost a whole heap of money since Covid-19 struck. And they want the insurance company to stump up.

But the insurance company says no. They’re not covered for pandemics.

(There’s probably something in Clause 12 subsection iv in the appendix or something.)

I’ve said it before. 

Insurance companies are bookies.

You’re betting that something bad will happen and if it does, you win and the insurance company/bookie pays out.

The insurance company/booking is betting that nothing bad happens so they keep your premium/bet.

But it doesn’t work like that.

If you go into a bookie and put a tenner on a horse at 10/1 and it wins, generally speaking they pay up and you leave the bookie’s office with €110.

It is unlikely that they will try to pull a stunt telling you that Clause 12 subsection iv in the appendix says that your horse’s tail was too long so they’re not paying up,

But insurance companies…

Many years ago I got lucky. I won a car in our Credit Union draw.

I wasn’t ungrateful – but I wasn’t crazy about the car I won so I took the cash, borrowed a few bob and spent €19,000 on a Mistubishi Galant. It was the only new car I had ever bought – and still is.

It was going to last me a lifetime. Or so I thought.

Only, less than three weeks after I bought it, it was stolen from outside the house.

Two days later, the gardai found it. It had been crashed and badly damaged.

No worries, it was fully insured.

So I called them. They came out and examined the car in Sundrive Road Garda Station and declared it to be a write off.

And they got back to me and said they had no difficulty with my claim and would sent me a cheque for €11,000.

But, I said, it cost €19,000 three weeks ago and…

“Ah but a car loses a great deal of value the minute you buy it,” they said.

“Well, you didn’t actually reflect that in the premium. I insured it for €19,000 and that is what I want.”

“I’m sorry,” the agent said. “We can only give you the current value.”

So I went to a guy I knew. A guy who knows cars.

“It’s not a write off,” he said. “You could get that car back to its original condition for about €6-7,000.”

I told the insurance company that’s what I was doing. They weren’t happy and made threatening noises.

I threatened back.

And they paid up.

I got the car fixed and it lasted for years. I didn’t have a single problem with it nor did I have a problem trading it in.

My friend who had advised me told me what the story was.

“They wanted to give you €11,000, get the car fixed for €5,000 – it wouldn’t have been perfect – and then flog it off for around €15,000. It would have saved them ten grand,” he said.

I gave serious thought to insuring my next car with Paddy Power…

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