A ‘deer’ lesson… why readers might be advised to check car insurance cover

Our man Frank on how a reader’s recent experience suggests people should check their car insurance cover; Roscommon’s growing rugby influence… and a riveting finale to crime drama, Kin

In 2022, an MIBI survey revealed that one out of every twelve drivers in Ireland had no insurance, with the outrageous number of 188,000 uninsured drivers leaving us in second place in Europe, with only Greece having a slightly higher percentage of non-compliant motorists.

For the rest of us, who comply with the rules and always have proper cover, as a rule there are three different insurance options – third party, third party fire and theft, and fully comprehensive. I won’t try to explain the differences between the three options, but as comprehensive should cover every type of claim that might arise, including the cost of repairing a driver’s own car, it is pretty much accepted that people with more expensive cars will choose that particular option.

Nowadays, there are also add-ons that we can have, and for relatively small extra premiums, things like bonus protection and car replacement can also be incorporated in your policy. Now if you pay for car replacement cover, which means that you would have the use of a car if your own vehicle is getting fixed after an accident, you would expect that that would be exactly – as the popular advertising slogan goes – what it says on the tin. But that, if the experience of one of my readers is to go by, is where you would be wrong.

About three weeks ago, this lady was driving on the main Galway to Roscommon road when all of a sudden a large deer jumped out from behind the ditch and landed on the bonnet of her car. In the heel of the hunt, it caused almost €10,000 worth of damage to her vehicle. All the usual protocols were followed, and eventually she was told to leave her car in for repairs to a garage the insurance company had nominated, and further advised that it should be ready in approximately three months.

That was all fine, but then my reader enquired about her replacement car, expecting to be provided with one for the entire duration. She is a working mother of three young children, commuting to work every day on a journey that takes approximately an hour each way, and by any criteria, needs the use of a car. With three young children and the requirements of baby seats and such stuff, she had a people carrier-type vehicle, and assumed that she would be given something similar to keep her going until the three months had elapsed.

Instead, she was offered a Toyota Yaris, which while a decent enough car, was obviously too small. But it didn’t make much difference anyway, as she could only keep it for a week. After that, despite her replacement car cover, she was on her own, and it was up to herself to solve her car (or lack of car) problem herself.

In the end the woman had to go and buy another car, but as she said to me, if she hadn’t been able to afford one (as so many wouldn’t) she could’ve been facing the possibility of losing her job. Car rental was another option of course, but it seems any type of car can cost up to €400 a week.

Insurance companies make obscene profits, so why can’t some of them give the cover they say they will? Of course we are always told to read the small print on our policies, but it’s usually written in language ordinary folk won’t understand!

I rang my insurance company, AXA, and asked them what their attitude was. They told me that in the event of an accident and my car being off the road for repairs, they would supply a replacement for the entire duration, which is exactly as it should be. The lady I spoke to also confirmed that some companies only give a car for a week, so if you think you have paid extra for that specific cover, give your insurance company or broker a ring and find out for yourself. My reader didn’t, and she paid a big price!

Talking of deer, I have to admit that while I have a soft spot for these very graceful animals, the truth is that they are involved in lots of car accidents.

In the spot where my reader had her collision, there have been at least four other incidents involving deer in recent weeks, and thousands of euro in damage has been caused. Years ago, a friend of mine told me that a deer will never turn back once they decide to make a move, and will go straight through (or into) whatever is in the way, cars and people included.

It seems that local councils have agreements with animal disposal firms to pick up the dead carcasses, so maybe they should erect warning signs in places where accidents are occurring. Anyway, my advice is: drive carefully, keep your eyes open, and check that your insurance cover is as good as it should be!


Roscommon a rugby stronghold in the west!

As you know by now, out here in Creggs we have a very strong sporting heritage, with rugby and the GAA particularly well established in the area, and so the recent superb rugby win by Connacht over Ulster up in the fortress that is the old Ravenhill was greatly welcomed by everyone in this neck of the woods.

The professional rugby era means that teams are now made up of players of different nationalities, but going through the Connacht team that lined out on last Friday evening, one thing was very obvious – Roscommon is the new rugby stronghold in the west of Ireland. Of the fifteen players that started the game, Mayo had one, Galway had two, and Roscommon had three.

Once again I find myself wondering how Denis Buckley never got a full (senior) Irish cap. For years now he has mixed it with the best props in the business, always holding his own, and again on Friday night the Connacht front row (of which Denis is a vital member) absolutely destroyed the Ulster scrum.

Jack Carty and Niall Murray were the other Rossie starters. On the occasion of such a famous win, how good it was to see the Roscommon players very much to the fore. With another younger Murray, Darragh, ready to make his mark on the Connacht team, it looks as if the primrose and blue will be the dominant colours in Connacht rugby for some time to come!

Well done lads – by the time this comes out ye will be in Cape Town for the semi-final, so good luck to ye all!


And finally…

I have to admit that Sunday night’s series finale of Kin was absolutely riveting viewing, and I can’t wait for the next instalment, which will presumably come our way at some time in the autumn.

However, as the past proud owner of two black Passats (a ‘07 and a ‘08), I was shocked to see that they seem to be the cars favoured by most of the hitmen when setting out to commit gangland murder. I am not certain what makes them the most popular method of transport in these instances, but I feel sure it must be to do with their sturdiness and reliability.

Thankfully I have moved up a few years to a 131 one, so hopefully I will not be a suspect in the event of any local gangland murder!