Private Investor: Claiming for your accident could prove a right pain

I am old enough to remember a world pre-Google. I suppose almost everyone is, come to think of it, given how recently Google appeared on the scene.

I am old enough to remember a world pre-Google. I suppose almost everyone is, come to think of it, given how recently Google appeared on the scene. I remember when I first heard of it, when it was suggested to me by a technically minded colleague as an alternative to the then ubiquitous Yahoo. That was as far back as 1996, I think.

But the rapidity and possible fragility of the Google phenomenon has evidently made its float extremely hazardous. They say one should only invest in things one understands, and, while seemingly everyone uses Google all the time, I for one do not really know how Google makes its money. Thus, in common with so many, I have steered clear of its float.

I might be tempted, but I'll have to put "Google" and "business model" into the search engine first. For now, I have been distracted by a much more mundane sort of financial affair.

Years ago during a spell looking for work (sounds so much nicer than "six months on the dole", don't you think?) one of the rules I decided to follow to protect my morale and sanity was "don't read the bank statement". Nowadays I'm much more inclined to take the time to run through the items, each entry telling its own story of love, hate and debauchery. I recommend you to do the same because you can see those little bits of inertia selling you have found yourself prey to. You know, the old gym club membership that you never use; the direct debit for an investment that you should have stopped ages ago; the accident and sickness plan you signed up to years ago, but which is pretty useless.

I did indeed sign up for one of those accident and sickness plans that feed on human worry and frailty. Back in 1993 the AA promoted a scheme run by Eagle Star that for £5 a month would give very modest benefits for very serious injuries. Now on my bank statement I see the monthly payment has risen to £7 or so, because of the inflation linking I agreed to when I signed up and is now payable to www.zurich.co.uk, ie Zurich Insurance, which took over Eagle Star years ago.

I wanted to stop the payments but it occurred to me as well that I might be eligible to make a claim for some time I spent in hospital over a year ago after a nasty injury to my arm. I guessed that the injury and small disability that resulted from it wouldn't qualify for a proper payout, but I thought it might be worth asking.

I guess the policy has set me back about £700 since I set it up. Quite a bit when you look at it that way. Having eventually found a phone number for the people who now run the scheme I find that I'm not eligible to make a claim so late. In fact, you have to make a claim within a month of the injury, at least as it was explained to me by the Zurich/Eagle Star staff. I exploded. I cannot understand the mentality that lies behind such a rule.

Imagine if you had just been in some horrific industrial accident and you lost your sight. You might, in those circumstances, have bigger things on your mind than your AA/Eagle Star/Zurich policy. Even if you paid in thousands, it would seem that you won't get a penny, automatically and as of right, if you claimed, say, six weeks on.

When I checked all this a few weeks later before writing this article, this "30-day rule" was confirmed, although this time I wasn't just told (in effect) to get lost but that they would "look on each case on its own merits" if claims are made after 30 days. I was also told that I ought to read my policy documents more carefully, which I suppose is true. I was also informed that the 30-day rule was something that the AA had stipulated, rather than Eagle Star/Zurich.

I suppose it's still worth having a go at a claim, but I doubt if I'll have much success. I am left with the thought that if I'd put my £5 or £7 a month into a high-interest savings account I'd have had about £1,000 to defray incidental hospital costs, such as a taxi or two, (I was on the NHS) and the pain and inconvenience of the after-effects of my accident. Self-insurance would have been a much better option.

s.o'grady@independent.co.uk

Independent Partners; Do you need financial advice on your investments, pension or insurance? Book a free consultation with an independent Financial Adviser at VouchedFor.co.uk

Finacial products from our partners
Property search
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Money & Business

    SThree: Experienced Recruitment Consultant

    £20000 - £40000 per annum + OTE + Incentives + Benefits: SThree: Established f...

    SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

    £20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE 40/45k + INCENTIVES + BENEFITS: SThree: The su...

    Recruitment Genius: Collections Agent

    £14000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company was established in...

    SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

    £20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE 40k: SThree: SThree are a global FTSE 250 busi...

    Day In a Page

    Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

    How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

    Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
    Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

    'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

    In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
    Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

    The Arab Spring reversed

    Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
    King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

    Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

    Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
    Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

    Who is Oliver Bonas?

    It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
    Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

    Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

    However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
    60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

    60 years of Scalextric

    Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones
    Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

    Why are we addicted to theme parks?

    Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
    Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

    Iran is opening up again to tourists

    After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there
    10 best PS4 games

    10 best PS4 games

    Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
    Transfer window: Ten things we learnt

    Ten things we learnt from the transfer window

    Record-breaking spending shows FFP restraint no longer applies
    Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

    ‘Can we really just turn away?’

    Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
    Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

    Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

    ... and not just because of Isis vandalism
    Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

    Girl on a Plane

    An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
    Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

    Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

    The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent