I fear I angered the insurance gods.
I decided a couple of weeks ago that, as part of my plan to save money for building on my estate, I would review my insurance cover and see if I was getting a good deal.
I called another company and got quotes for car, house and contents. He asked if I wanted the optional windscreen insurance ($69 extra). I said no. I’ve had a car for almost 30 years and never had to replace a windscreen. The house and contents insurance was a few hundred dollars cheaper and I made a note to call my insurance broker and switch the cover over.
About two days after I received the quote, we had a big storm blow through, the kind where the weather service puts out alerts about minimising travel and tying down the trampoline. It was very windy and very noisy and at some point during the night I was woken by a very loud bang. I didn’t get out of bed to investigate.
The neighbour is in the midst of replacing his windows, and for some days a rather large window frame with three sash windows (minus glass) has been propped against his front wall. It was this frame that had blown over onto the footpath and created the midnight bang.
My car was parked outside his house. The frame had missed it by about a centimetre. I left the frame where it was, checked over my car, it was unscathed so I went off to work. I returned to find the window frame restored to its previous position against the wall.
A day later I went to drive it and discovered that the side of the car was scratched, and the windscreen had a long crack in it. I was very annoyed about the scratches as no one had left a note but it was clear they’d done it when lifting up the frame. The crack could have been done by anything. So I called my broker, got the okay on the windscreen replacement and took the car in.
Two days later I came downstairs to find a pool of water on the kitchen floor and more dripping from one of the recessed light in the ceiling. There is nothing worse than finding a leak inside because it’s such a Pandora’s box: you never know what horrors will be revealed as you open things up to find where it’s coming from.
Not having a regular plumber I called my builder instead, who, god bless him, came over within the hour, recommended a good plumber (who miraculously appeared about 30 mins later) and between the two of them they traced the water back to its source – mercifully not the toilet as originally feared but a cold water inlet pipe to the handbasin.
I now have a series of holes in walls tracing what looks like the destructive path of a giant rat in search of the fountain of youth. To mix metaphors. The siding is off the house to let it all dry out (luckily no rot: the water can’t have been there for long) and we’ve had four days of nice weather.
I called my insurance, the wall repairs etc are covered so it’s just a question of whether it’s more than the excess.
What did I take from all this? Three life lessons:
- A tradie who you trust and can call on in an emergency is worth his or her weight in gold particularly when you live on your own and have no one to turn to in moments of crisis
- Bad things do come in threes – I’m counting the windscreen, the scratches and the flood
- Insurance is not to be messed with
I have abandoned my attempt to save money on my insurance. I have good cover, I pay good money for premiums, and I’ve never made a claim before this past week. But I’ve also stared into the abyss of what can happen after a major catastrophe like the 2011 Christchurch earthquake, so I know the value of a good policy.
And I can take a hint from the universe.