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Things I wish I could have told my 17-year-old self about driving

21/08/2017

Simon Hobbs

Head of Claims and Underwriting, AA Insurance

I was 17 when I got my driver licence and my first car was a Mark 5 Ford Cortina; my parents organised some insurance for me called 'Third-Party'.

All I knew was that if I crashed my car, I'd be paying for it. My car wasn't worth a lot and the insurance wasn't cheap but I paid it every year, mainly because Dad told me to. I was pretty lucky and, despite my over-confidence behind the wheel, avoided any accidents.

It wasn't until I started working at AA Insurance in Claims that I realised just how important that little bit of insurance actually was. Like most customers, I really only thought about my own car and as I was such a ‘skilled’ driver, I would never have an accident.

The reality is, accidents happen!

I thought I would share a few examples on how important the liability part of car insurance actually is and why we need to encourage our friends and family to only drive if they're covered.

Some time ago, an uninsured driver was reversing their L200 Ute and simply didn't see our customer's stationary Lexus. The damage appeared relatively minor with a broken headlight, grill and damaged bumper. The repair cost for our customer's vehicle was over $13,000 - a debt the uninsured driver will likely take years to repay.

Another example shows the importance of remembering that insurance is a contract with terms and conditions, and that driving outside these conditions may impact the acceptance of a claim. A few years ago, a young student had been drinking and driving a friend's car. The police attempted to pull him over and he fled, crashing the car through the front of a house. The car was totalled, and the house pushed off its foundations. The total cost of the car, home and contents damage was over $400,000 which the student is paying at $100 a month. At this rate his debt should be paid in about 333 years.

In cases like this we never recover all the money we are owed, which means our customers end up paying for it in their insurance premiums.

So, if you know people who drive uninsured, just remind them that accidents happen and for a relatively small monthly investment they could avoid a lifetime of debt.

Looking back, I wish I could have told my 17-year-old self this, so I could have appreciated the benefit of having insurance. I’ll just have to wait until my kids turn 17 instead.

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About AA Insurance

AA Insurance is an independently operated, New Zealand-based joint venture between the New Zealand Automobile Association (NZAA) and Vero Insurance New Zealand Limited (VINZL). Since 1994 we have demonstrated trusted expertise in home, contents and car insurance in New Zealand, and in 2018 introduced commercial small business insurance. We underwrite our own policies and sell direct to New Zealanders. Our more than 700 staff look after over 385,000 customers with around 745,000 policies.

We proudly partner with Eden Park, support youth charity Blue Light, and have been consistently recognised by: Reader’s Digest Most Trusted Brands (since 2011), IBM Kenexa Best Workplaces Survey (since 2008), Canstar Blue Most Satisfied Customers (2011-2018), and the Colmar Brunton Corporate Reputation Index (since 2015) that recognises New Zealand’s most successful companies.

AA Insurance has an A+ (Strong) Insurer Financial Strength Rating given by Standard and Poor’s (Australia) Pty Ltd. For further information visit aainsurance.co.nz.

For more information please contact:

Nicole Steven, Botica Butler Raudon Partners, (09) 303 3867, 021 025 31886 or email nicoles@botica.co.nz

Amanda Fifield, AA Insurance Limited, (09) 927 2085 or email Amanda_Fifield@aainsurance.co.nz

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Amanda Fifield
Corporate Communications Specialist, AA Insurance

DDI: (09) 927 2085
Mobile: 027 406 1787
Email: mediacontact@aainsurance.co.nz

Nicole Steven
Account Manager, Botica Butler Raudon Public Relations

DDI: (09) 303 3867
Mobile: 021 025 31886
Email: nicoles@botica.co.nz

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