As a wise person once said (or if they didn’t, they should have), there is only one thing worse than being wrong and that is being right. I always get peevish when I win.
After being told I had triumphed in my three-year phantom car crash battle, I started to feel survivor guilt. It was all very well for me, embroiling myself in a gargantuan struggle for justice following a low-velocity car prang. I factor time into my schedule to wage war on the world.
I complain about life for a living, so far as anyone can.
But what about all those other poor motorists who are well adjusted people and don’t have the psychological flaws and deep-seated emotional problems to make them fight, and fight, and fight, until the vein stands out on the side of their head? What about normal people who don’t get off on arguing like I do? What about them? Eh? EH?
To recap: a few weeks ago, the charming couple who were trying to extract money from my insurance company by alleging I had ‘reactivated pre-existing injuries’ in an encounter between my bumper and theirs on Streatham High Road, which didn’t even leave a mark, had to drop their claim because the statute of limitations expired.
I refused to settle, and said I would see them in court, and possibly hell, if need be. Then I waited three years and four months for them to submit their evidence and come to court, which they never did. But all that time, it had to be assumed I had injured them until I proved I hadn’t, or until such time as their claim ran out. So I had to pay crippling amounts of car insurance.
After the statute ran out a few weeks ago, and my file was wiped clean, the vein on my head barely stopped pulsating for a second when I began fighting for a refund.
I got through to a lovely girl called Adele at Aviva and begged her to lower my premium, for it was still showing up as £1,000 a year, despite my reinstated nine years no claims discount.
She said she was going to go away and see to that, and also see to it that I got all the money back that I have overpaid in insurance premiums over the years.
I tried to believe her, but I don’t think I actually did.
When she called me back a week later, I was wandering around the park with the spaniel. I was having a bad day. Everything was going wrong. I had just taken a call from a friend who had roundly admonished me for even thinking of rekindling my relationship with the builder boyfriend, who is single again.
Yes, I told the friend, I accept that I’m infuriating, that I turn on a sixpence, that I often choose the most difficult option. But that is because I am constitutionally incapable of taking the easy way.
Maybe I should just settle down, marry a nice, responsible man and stop arguing with everyone and everything. But for reasons I can’t quite explain, I like a tricky situation. I feel the truth is hiding in it. He intimated I would never get anywhere with that attitude. When I put down the phone I felt tears pricking my face. He’s right, I thought, sniffling pathetically. I need to change everything about myself. I cannot go on like this.
And then Adele rang. And confirmed that every penny I have overpaid for the past three years and four months was being credited back into my bank account: £927 for the past three years and £603 off this year’s premium, which I had already started paying. And my premium was dropping from £100 a month to £24. I felt a tiny flutter of hope.
‘Oh,’ I said. ‘That’s good news, isn’t it?’ But then I thought, what about the others? What about the people who haven’t been blessed with the virtually psychopathic lack of self-preservation necessary to come close to exploding their temporal artery and losing all their friends by being so belligerent that they are able to fight an attempted insurance fraud for over three years?
The next day, an email from Aviva head office arrived explaining the refund. They have even paid me back the interest on the money I overpaid. But better than that, they have changed their policy.
‘I can confirm,’ said the customer experience team manager, for ’twas she, ‘that your tenacity and desire to prevent what has transpired to be a fraudulent claim has led to Aviva rethinking its No Claims Discount processes for when a similar scenario presents itself to another of our insureds.’
Maybe it’s not time to hang up my fighting boots just yet.