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# 175100 17-Jun-2015 11:52
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My partner has been involved in an accident (of which unfortunately she was partly/fully at fault) and was also under the impression she was insured with third party from State.

She started/renewed the policy January this year and set up her card for automatic payments.  We checked the first payment came out, it did and everything was fine.

Until Tuesday this week when she was t-boned at a round-a-bout.  State said we didn't have a policy as it was terminated in February due to non-payment.  Apparently there was a problem withdrawing the payment from the credit card (which had previously and still does work) and State sent us a letter (not email) via snail mail stating that if we didn't cough up, they would terminate the policy in two weeks.

We never received said letter and even the woman on the phone said it probably got lost in the post.  We check the mail ever second day.  They never sent us an email, or phoned us.  Both our numbers, work numbers and her email address are on the account, including her mobile number.

The representative from State said "It's like a bill you receive in the mail but never get.  You're still liable for the bill".  Katy replied with "I'm happy to back-pay the entire amount" and the rep said "But your policy has ended and there's nothing I can do".

Meanwhile, the couple that hit Katy are foreigners, hardly speak English and had never had an accident in New Zealand before.  They were verbally abusing Katy about them missing their birthday party yelling that they were not using their insurance and that she would have to use hers (ignorant of the process I suspect)  Their insurer is ASB.  ASB have yet to contact us and my theory is they haven't even contacted ASB yet, even though they said they have.

We've laid an official complaint with State regarding the glitch and are moving forward with that.  Has anyone else been in this situation?

Also,

The Hilux claimed Katy failed to give way.  It was dark, pissing down with rain at around the end of twilight.  Katy maintains she looked, saw nothing coming and BOOM.  Damage all the way down the middle of the car with a smashed rear window and gouges and scrapes out of the rear quarter panel.

When struck, Katy was already three quarters through the round-a-bout and in the exiting process.  I feel both Katy and the Hilux are at fault.  They also failed to see her using the round-a-bout after all and were probably traveling too fast for the conditions with their lights off.

 

Hard to prove when it's he said/she said though.





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  # 1326449 17-Jun-2015 12:05
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This is going to be a difficult complaint to win, you'll probably need to show that State were at fault for not taking payments when they were instructed to. Otherwise there might be no way to hold State responsible.


"As a matter of law, an insurance policy will lapse if the renewal premium is not paid, because there is no consideration for the risk. No positive action needs to be taken by the insurer. Also, insurers have no legal obligation to send out renewal notices, or to advise a policyholder of the possibility of lapse. Rather, the sending of renewal notices is a practice which has developed within the industry." 

http://www.iombudsman.org.nz/assets/Uploads/117824-2010.pdf


"It is ultimately the policyowner’s responsibility to ensure premiums are paid and the insurance is up to date. Unfortunately, therefore, P was not liable to provide cover for the damage under the policy."

http://www.iombudsman.org.nz/assets/Uploads/121242-2012.pdf



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  # 1326450 17-Jun-2015 12:05
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I hope she did not admit liability at the time?

Sounds like State are going to hardball this one, and without an insurance company in your corner, their insurance company will come after you for damage to their car - you are out of pocket for yours unfortunately.

If you (by some miracle) can get State to admit they should have tried to contact you or inform you that your cover had ended and they backdate the cover, then you can claim through them that Katy was not at fault and then the fun begins.

Unless she can prove they did not have their lights on, getting hit on the driver's side (usually) indicates fault.

 
 
 
 


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  # 1326454 17-Jun-2015 12:11
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Firstly, do not admit liability to anyone, especially not the other party or their insurance company. It seems far from clear that your partner was in any kind of fault here. If they other party did not have lights on, and it was raining etc, then how could she see them and therefore be at fault? Your insurance companies and/or the police need to determine fault.

If you have exhausted your avenues with State, you need to make contact with the Insurance Ombudsman. While you have a duty to ensure the payments are being made, a single letter from State probably isn't sufficient from their point of view either. Why did they not send a termination letter, for example? Mail does go missing, so a single letter from them does not seem like they have done enough to notify you of an issue, especially if it was an error at their end.

Did they even retry the payment, or just try once, give up and send you a single letter?




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  # 1326461 17-Jun-2015 12:29
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Good luck.  But like 'Hatch' has already alluded to, the onus in on the policy holder, not the insurance company.

The give way rules at a roundabout are clear, and fundamentally Katy appears (from your description) to have failed to give way.  Poor visibility, rain, speed etc are all mitigating circumstances that may be taken into account, but the fundamental give way rule still applies.  I don't see how she can be nearly exiting the roundabout, and be struck on (I assume) the right side, but without a full analysis including a review of all the evidence including an inspection of the damage and scene, I will reserve judgement.  If the Police attended/investigated then they may be able to clarify the contributing factors and ultimately fault.      

Often people 'look' but don't actually 'see'.  It's a common explanation after a vehicle crash.  It's amazing what people fail to notice despite going through the physical motions of having a look (speaking from 20+ years as a crash investigator/re-constructionist)

I suspect sadly you have a couple of battles on your hands.




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  # 1326475 17-Jun-2015 12:57
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DravidDavid: 
The Hilux claimed Katy failed to give way.  It was dark, pissing down with rain at around the end of twilight.  Katy maintains she looked, saw nothing coming and BOOM.  Damage all the way down the middle of the car with a smashed rear window and gouges and scrapes out of the rear quarter panel.

When struck, Katy was already three quarters through the round-a-bout and in the exiting process.  I feel both Katy and the Hilux are at fault.  They also failed to see her using the round-a-bout after all and were probably traveling too fast for the conditions with their lights off. Hard to prove when it's he said/she said though.


Any chance of a diagram, or more indepth description? It is hard to tell what really happened and how, but it is possible that both parties are at fault, or either one. I hope you/she did not admit fault to anyone yet, as that would dramatically weaken your case.

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  # 1326480 17-Jun-2015 13:02
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Which roundabout was it and which entry and exits were used (to be used)? Is it a typical rounabout or one of the flattened ones, which allow for trucks/buses to cut across them? If it is the latter, did your partner or the other party, cut over the white line that marks the outside of the roundabout. (Sorry, just re-read that and it sounds a bit wonky!)



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  # 1326481 17-Jun-2015 13:03
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Thanks for everyone's advice.  I really appreciate it.

I have to say, we didn't continually check the payments were coming out.  We checked the first time that all was well and then nothing.  We may need to contact ASB to see what kind of "glitch" held up the payment.  There is money on the card ALL the time, it never gets used elsewhere.  Only for payments that need to be automatic, such as internet, insurance and rent...etc.  Which is why money is always on it.

I do think, even though State does not have a responsibility to contact us, they have done a pretty sh*t job of looking after their customer of many years and not contacting us regarding the policy that we paid for has ended.  Katy has had all her cars insured with State.

Nobody admitted fault at the time.  Katy was asked on the scene multiple times to admit that she failed to give way and simply asked if everyone was alright as they refused to answer her.

If State does not come through, I can't decide what I want to do.  Let them take away an otherwise perfectly good $4,500 car because I can't afford to pay for their repairs?  Or go to court and have fault adjudicated anyway.

Katy said they sounded super upset because they were already late and now probably wouldn't make it.  I wouldn't be surprised if they were lost and distracted themselves trying to work out where to go next.





Sometimes what you don't get is a blessing in disguise!

 
 
 
 


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  # 1326485 17-Jun-2015 13:17
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I am sure the road code used to say that as well as giving way to traffic from your right, you must also give way to traffic already on the roundabout. I tried to find this just now but the only reference I found to this particular rule (give way to traffic already in the roundabout) was in the bicycle road code.

Bicycles & Intersections:

 

  • When you are at the roundabout you need to give way to vehicles already on the roundabout, or entering the roundabout from a road to your right. When clear, move into the roundabout.

The reason I bring this up is that if this law still applies to vehicles in NZ, and Katy was already negotiating the roundabout when the other vehicle entered the intersection, that would put the other vehicle at fault, not Katy. Of course proving that could also be tricky.



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  # 1326489 17-Jun-2015 13:22
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doublek69: Which roundabout was it and which entry and exits were used (to be used)? Is it a typical rounabout or one of the flattened ones, which allow for trucks/buses to cut across them? If it is the latter, did your partner or the other party, cut over the white line that marks the outside of the roundabout. (Sorry, just re-read that and it sounds a bit wonky!)


One of the main round-a-bouts in the Massey township next to Mobil and a row of various takeaway shops.

RED: Katy (Caldina)
BLUE/Purple/Whatever: Toyota Hilux

Click to see full size

I'm actually, after making this diagram, beginning to think that they might be responsible for this.





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  # 1326492 17-Jun-2015 13:27
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If they have crossed the flat part of the roundabout (which should have a white line painted around it), then they can be fined for not remaining within their lane/crossing the median marking (can't remember which). Any photos of the event? As per your diagrams, get them marked out and if possible try and show the phasing/movement of the vehicles up to the point where impact occurred. If they have cut across the roundabout and struck the rear of your partner's car as a consequence, they are in the wrong IMO.

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  # 1326494 17-Jun-2015 13:29
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If not responsible, they certainly could have avoided it. Not like you they could not have stopped or slowed and leaned on the horn (which is hopefully what I would have done).

Fight it, but without an insurance company backing you up, it will be hard. Disputes tribunal may be your best bet.

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  # 1326497 17-Jun-2015 13:29
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CSI-Geekzone

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  # 1326499 17-Jun-2015 13:36
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Also, you have separate lane markings into the roundabout, which adds another layer of complexity, as the other party has to enter the roundabout and merge left into a marked lane. You may have a reasonable case here. Do you have a friendly officer you can talk to, not for a judiciary decision but to help with the appropriate road code pieces? If there are legs to this, you can require the OP lodge a claim with their Ins Coy, but this may be as a result of going to the Disputes Tribunal.
On your Ins Coy, that is poor in terms of follow-up. Request that they re-consider their decision and if still the same, request that is reviewed by either their customer advocate or Claims Review Panel. Last path after this is to go the Ombudsman. In preparation, you could review State's website and maybe include some of their customer promise statements and then ask how they are doing with that;
"This is where we try to set ourselves apart. We run our business with you – our customer – at the centre of everything we do. Whether we’re providing you with protection for your most prized possessions or we’re supporting the local community, we pride ourselves on the way we go about doing business."
Hope this helps.



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  # 1326500 17-Jun-2015 13:36
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Hatch: CSI-Geekzone

I don't think I'd have it any other way!





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  # 1326506 17-Jun-2015 13:42
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DravidDavid: Thanks for everyone's advice.  I really appreciate it.

I have to say, we didn't continually check the payments were coming out.  We checked the first time that all was well and then nothing.  We may need to contact ASB to see what kind of "glitch" held up the payment.  There is money on the card ALL the time, it never gets used elsewhere.  Only for payments that need to be automatic, such as internet, insurance and rent...etc.  Which is why money is always on it.

I do think, even though State does not have a responsibility to contact us, they have done a pretty sh*t job of looking after their customer of many years and not contacting us regarding the policy that we paid for has ended.  Katy has had all her cars insured with State.

Nobody admitted fault at the time.  Katy was asked on the scene multiple times to admit that she failed to give way and simply asked if everyone was alright as they refused to answer her.

If State does not come through, I can't decide what I want to do.  Let them take away an otherwise perfectly good $4,500 car because I can't afford to pay for their repairs?  Or go to court and have fault adjudicated anyway.

Katy said they sounded super upset because they were already late and now probably wouldn't make it.  I wouldn't be surprised if they were lost and distracted themselves trying to work out where to go next.


I hate to say, but I find it unlikely State will come through. Like most insurers, their policy and legal requirements generally only require them to send a letter to you 14 days before cancellation. It is very unlikely they will pony up here, but good luck. If it were a month or two out and you were simply querying why the payments hadn't happened, rather than making a claim, they may have been more likely to step up to the plate.

It is good she did not admit fault. If we can get a clearer understanding of what happened and how, it may be possible the other party is partly or entirely at fault - for example, you say they had no headlights on. Headlights must be used from 30 minutes after sunset, until 30 minutes before sunrise, or at any time at which you can't clearly see a person or vehicle 100m in front of you. If one of these conditions is true and the other party had no headlights on, it could potentially be considered a mitigating factor in fault.

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