Divorce or separation can be a tumultuous and challenging time in any woman’s life.
I found the emotional and financial upheaval often overshadowed the need for practical considerations, such as insurance in its many different forms and uses. However, the unfortunate truth is that life’s unexpected events do not discriminate, and accidents can happen to anyone, at any time. This fact was made all too real for me when I had a car accident in April 2023, just as there was positive momentum building in my life after my separation. Let me share my story and shed light on the importance of having insurance, even when it may seem unaffordable or unnecessary.
The Unexpected U-Turn
It was a seemingly ordinary evening when I found myself driving down Tamaki Drive in Auckland, chatting away with my daughter. I was dropping her at her father’s (in my jim-jams and slippers) as I have my children week about. Her brother was at work delivering pizzas and no longer needs mom’s taxi to get him around.
Little did I know that my evening was about to take an unexpected turn, quite literally. A car travelling in the opposite direction made a reckless U-turn, crossing into my path and leaving me with no time to react.
I remember putting my arm out to hold my daughter back and then the smash. I thought that my car had rolled, but that was just the airbags going off. the smoke, and the breaking glass.
If you’ve played snooker or pool before and have played a stun shot, my car was the white ball and the other car ended up about 10 metres further down the road.
Airbags, Injuries & Legal Ramifications
As the impact of the accident rippled through my vehicle, every single airbag in my beloved Audi Q7 was deployed.
While those safety features certainly helped minimise the physical harm, I was left with a back and wrist injury, and my daughter suffered from whiplash. From being held back by her seatbelt, her neck looked as though she had been given a hickey from the world’s largest bear!
The painful reality of our vulnerability became apparent in an instant. However, as I looked at the debris that was strewn all over the road, I saw a tub of Wrigley’s gum on the road (highlighted yellow in the image). I’d been looking for that in my car earlier that week. How it managed to find its way to be out on the road, I’ll never know!
While the accident had been caused by the carelessness of the other driver, justice can often be a slow process. The driver responsible for the accident has been bailed to attend court later in the year, charged with careless driving causing an injury. Our police often get a bad rap in the press, but I believe that they do the very best that they can with the resources that they have available to them at the time. I must admit that I was particularly impressed with the speed with which the other driver was charged and for the most severe charges to heard against her
Insurance Gaps and Frustrations
Dealing with the aftermath of the accident introduced me to the complexities of insurance coverage.
While my car insurance covered the damage to my vehicle, the personal items within were not covered.
This left me in the frustrating position of having to claim separately under my contents insurance for items damaged in the accident.
Juggling multiple insurance companies for a single incident was a tedious and time-consuming process, highlighting the need for connected coverage that allowed me to only deal with one entity that managed everything so that I had one point of contact.
Amidst the chaos, there were silver linings.
I discovered that my car insurance policy included hire car coverage, which eased the burden of getting around Auckland for medical appointments while my claim was being processed.
I always use Sixt. They certainly aren’t the cheapest, but I find that you get what you pay for. I still had to pay for the car hire upfront with it being refunded when my claim was completed.
I had no idea how long that would be. 7, 14, 30 days?
Luckily, I had the funds to be able to pay for that, but what if I didn’t and what if the car hire option wasn’t included in my car insurance premium?
Life’s Perfect Storm
They say when it rains, it pours, and that was certainly the case for me. The accident occurred only six days after I returned from a trip to India, still recovering from a stomach bug. As if that weren’t enough, I received notice from my rental property owner that I had to vacate the premises due to their return.
Having to search for a new home while simultaneously dealing with the physical and emotional aftermath of the accident, was not fun.
To add further insult to the situation, my spare key to my motorbike that I couldn’t ride because of my injuries, was lost in the move. Luckily, this is also covered on my motorbike insurance.
Healing and Rehabilitation
The costs of rehabilitation for my wrist and back injuries were partially covered by ACC (Accident Compensation Corporation), providing some relief during a challenging period. However, the process of recovery was a reminder that accidents can have lasting effects on one’s well-being and mobility. It became evident that being adequately insured not only protects against financial burdens but also supports recovery and rehabilitation.
Grateful for Life’s Unpredictability
The accident forced me to re-evaluate the importance of safety and protection in my life. While I may not have been able to enjoy my motorbike as frequently during my recovery, I found solace in the fact that I wasn’t riding it at the time of the accident. With the insurance pay out, I invested in a new Audi Q7. This one has a sunroof and red brake callipers ( 😀
I like my motorised transport – of the two- or four wheeled variety!) I’m certainly not intending to be involved in such a large crash again, but if I am, I wanted the reassurance that my vehicle would prioritise the safety of me and my loved ones in the event of another accident in a car and brand that’s renowned for its high crash safety rating.
Life has a way of throwing curveballs, even when we least expect them. For women who have separated or divorced, the need for insurance becomes even more critical.
Depending on your situation, you may not be included in your ex-partner’s policy for house, contents, car, life and health cover.
And if you are in a situation like I was, where you had a part-time or no income and no support or maintenance payments whilst the settlement agreement was being hammered out, spending $$ on insurance policies, when you had cents in your bank account, didn’t seem like a good idea at the time.
The events following my car accident taught me the significance of having some form of coverage in place, even if it seems unaffordable or unnecessary at first.
The financial, physical, and emotional toll of an accident can be overwhelming, but insurance provides a safety net to mitigate these challenges.
Unlike in the UK, there is no legal requirement here in NZ, that we must have insurance for cars or motorbikes – it’s totally our choice.
We also don’t have to have life or health insurance. Again, that’s totally our choice. However, the thought of trying to navigate this insurance minefield, whilst injured with no insurance of my own, is as scary AF.
What if I had been severely injured and incapacitated? God forbid, what if I had died? How would I have paid the rent, put food on the table for me and my children? How would I have gotten to work each day?
That’s why, I implore all women who have separated or divorced to prioritise insurance, no matter how tight their budget may be. Something is better than nothing at all!
It is far better to have a safety net and not need it than to find oneself in a vulnerable situation without protection. We need to take control of our futures and safeguard our well-being, knowing that insurance can provide the necessary support in times of unexpected turmoil.
Remember, life’s journey is filled with unforeseen twists and turns. Look at my unexpected u-turn!
By ensuring we have proper insurance coverage, we empower ourselves to face the unknown with confidence, resilience, and the peace of mind we deserve.
Take charge of your future, protect yourself, and safeguard your peace of mind with insurance today. Find and speak with a qualified and registered insurance broker without delay.