Sometimes, the universe just doesn't seem to be on your side.
If, following a car crash, your insurance payout isn't what you want it to be, it's important to take a moment to consider your alternatives. So take a deep breath and look at opportunities instead of roadblocks. You have options.
So where to next? Here's our step-by-step guide.
Negotiate with your insurer
First things first; have a conversation with your insurer, but keep it driven by evidence and facts – not emotion. If you believe you've received a raw deal, it's okay to say so. After all, mistakes sometimes happen, and the insurer will be looking to pay out as little as possible. At the same time, nobody wants to go through the hassle of engaging lawyers, so an open and honest conversation is the best place to start.
If you feel that the outcome still isn't acceptable, you can elevate it to the Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA): an independent body that can help arbitrate disputes. The Financial Rights Legal Centre has a comprehensive factsheet that explains the process in depth
Re-evaluate your needs
If you've received your payout, now it's time to plan ahead. Do you see yourself starting a family? What about moving to the country or setting up your own business?
Believe it or not, the car you choose will directly impact the success of these endeavours. After all, it's hard to imagine two-point-four children squeezing into the back of a hatchback or two-seater sports car. Once you're clear on what you need, you can make more informed decisions that will save you the stress and costs of seeking out a new ride in a couple of years' time.
Do your research
Once you've decided what your next set of wheels will be, it's time to get down to brass tacks and start some in-depth research. The more time you take to assess the market and learn your alternatives, the more you're likely to get a better deal. Then start thinking about how you're going to pay for it. Everything will come down to your individual circumstances, but with your insurance payout, savings and finance options, there are many roads to explore.
It's time to start a new chapter
Whichever way you go from here, know this: life is full of ups and downs. We can never guarantee what, when or how things will turn out. All we can do is the make the best of our current circumstances and look to the future with excitement and hope.
Happy car hunting.