Luckily for me, in almost 30 years of motoring, I've only had to deal with insurance claims on 2 or 3 occassions! (Hopefully not just put the mockers on myself for saying that!
My advise to anyone who's had a shunt... Don't get personally involved; let the insurance company deal with it!
To cut a long story short, about 8 or 9 years ago, I was waiting to leave a carpark at the barrier when a young (Italian!) guy came flying around the bend behind me in an old Fiat Uno, lost control and slammed into the back of my Vecra estate!
The damage to my car didn't, at the time, seem too bad; a fist sized dent in the bottom of the tailgate and scrapes and digs on the bumper. The front of the Uno was a wreck!
Both headlamps smashed, bumper hanging down on the floor, bonnet creased, etc...
The lad driving it said that the car belonged to his dad, but that he was insured to drive it.
He seemed a bit nervous and keen to get on his way; we exchanged details but I wasn't entirely happy that he was covered to drive it.
I contacted my insurance company who told me to take my car to the local Holts repair centre... The guy who inspected it said that the bumper and tailgate would have to be replaced; he estimated around 1800 quid!
At the time, I didn't have no claims protection or legal aid on my policy (I do now!) and because my insurance was due for renewal, my premium went through the roof!
The insurance company said that I would get the extra charges back once the claim had been settled, but money was tight and I couldn't afford to be out of pocket for what could have been weeks.
I was right to be a bit suspicious about the guy that hit me; most of the details he gave were not correct; the only thing that was, was his address.
I managed to obtain his phone number and left a message on his answerphone asking him to contact me as there were some discrepencies to clear up and quoting how much repairs were going to cost...
This is where it all turned a bit pear shaped and I wish I never got involved!
It turned out that this guys dad was a complete psycho!
He phoned me later that night threatening me with all sorts of physical violence and even claiming that it was me that reversed into his son!
He said that he had a mate who could repair my car for less than 100 quid!
Looking at the state of the Uno; most of the fixture and fittings being held on with cable ties or self tapping screws, didn't fill me with confidence! (I kind of got the feeling that the son was stuffing it on a regular basis!)
After a couple more evenings of threatening phone calls, I informed the police... the calls suddenly stopped!
It turned out that the son was insured to drive, but he took absolutely ages to inform his insurance company and still told them that it was me that reversed into his son!
This claim was dropped when his insurance company was informed that the whole incident had been caught on the car park's CCTV.
It was all eventually sorted out, but the whole experience left a bit of a bad taste!
Any future prangs will be left to the insurance company to sort out!