Insurance wrangle left householder at the end of her tether

DRIVING HER UP THE WALL Angela Swift outside her home Picture: Ian Hargreaves (150179-5)
DRIVING HER UP THE WALL Angela Swift outside her home Picture: Ian Hargreaves (150179-5)
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Living in a no through road does have its advantages. There’s no stream of passing traffic to contend with and far less noise.

But for Lovedean reader Angela Swift her cul-de-sac location has left her with a recurring nightmare of third-party insurance claims.

She lives with husband Raymond near the end of a dead-end road with no turning circle. The house has a fairly wide driveway entrance, which is why it’s become a bit of a magnet for delivery drivers to use as a convenient turnaround.

Angela explained that a few weeks before Christmas she was left fuming when a truck driver reversed into her driveway, smashed into her front garden wall, and drove off leaving her to pick up a £2,000 repair bill.

It’s not as if this hasn’t happened before. It was the third time her front wall had been damaged by reversing commercial vehicles.

Her neighbours have experienced similar problems, in a road that is fast becoming the garden wall demolition route from hell.

When they were alerted to the noise of yet another impact, Raymond rushed outside only to see the driver of a Currys Know-How truck making off at great speed towards the main road.

Lucky for them, their next-door neighbour was quick off the mark.

He heard the bang, saw the truck in their driveway and promptly made a mental note of the registration number.

Another neighbour across the road also heard the noise and saw the truck in the Swifts’ driveway before it drove off.

‘The first thing I did was come straight back in and rang Currys customer services, who gave me an incident number’, she said.

‘We then went down to the Currys store in Portsmouth and shortly afterwards learned it wasn’t one of their trucks but one that belonged to a contractor, S. J. Logistics Know How.’

Angela promptly rang them to find out what was going on. They reassured her they’d sort out all the paperwork for the insurance claim which was being handled by TradeX, a leading insurer of commercial vehicles.

By now Angela was more than a month down the line, and the pattern was getting familiar. She still had no word about whether the claim had been accepted. All she had to go on was emails from TradeX to say it was dealing with it but if the wall was in a dangerous condition she should claim on her own home insurance.

A few weeks later, TradeX asked for two estimates for the cost of repairing the damage, but claimed it needed more time to investigate. Not best pleased with all the delay, she got in touch with Streetwise to ask for our help.

We first spoke to Currys which had little difficulty in convincing us that it was just piggy in the middle and had moved mountains with its contractor to get things moving.

Similarly, when we contacted the contractor S. J. Logistics Know How it apologised profusely for the delay and any perception Angela may have had they were dragging their feet.

A spokesperson told us it realised how frustrating it was, but it had been advised not to discuss the claim.

We put Angela’s irritation and concerns to insurer TradeX, because the circumstantial evidence of the witnesses was compelling. We believed that to take more than three months to handle a relatively simple third-party claim wasn’t acceptable.

Soon we had reassuring news that the claim was about to be sorted.

Claims manager Graham Lee said: ‘We have sent our policyholder a copy of the witness statement we have that identifies them as being responsible for the damage to the wall. We are sure they will agree it was their vehicle involved and we will soon be able to deal with the claim.’

Angela was relieved and delighted the way had been cleared to bring the latest extended third-party insurance saga to closure, and thanked Streetwise for our help in getting it sorted.