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Motor insurance is a bad subject in this UK household!

My eighty-nine-year-old grandfather has always been a mass of contradictions with regard to politics, religion, the judicial system, or anything else that is legislated. Grandad, as we call him, also likes to express his opinions at the dinner table in a very loud voice, due to his impaired hearing. Hearing disabilities would, I am sure, soon have run in the family if mum hadn’t stopped his habit of switching on the telly before sitting down to dinner. Between the blaring television and his loud critique of every news item, all the rest of us could ever do was try to lip-read what anyone else was saying. The most dramatic of his performances revolved around the passing of the law, many years ago, that made third-party car insurance a minimum requirement for all registered motor vehicles.

With an accusing index finger stabbing maliciously at the telly, Grandad had accused the government of assuming the worst from all of its citizens simply because it had lost control of the younger generation. His own generation, he had reminded us, had invented the motor car as well as the manner in which it should be driven. Gentlemen were still in charge and a nod and a smile would have been all that was necessary to gain right of way on any road.

My older son began choking and raced from the table. Grandad was far from finished. He emphatically insisted that insurance premiums should be related to individual behaviour and how one dressed for driving. Delinquents who insisted on wearing hoodies, jeans or t-shirts should d****d well have to pay for being offensive. My younger son sped after his brother declaring his ‘bro’ may be in need of the Heimlich Manoeuvre.

I left when Grandad began suggesting that a good command of proper English grammar should also determine whether a car insurance policy should be increased or reduced. His reasoning was that youngsters no longer had any grasp of proper English and it therefore took up far more time for traffic officers to understand their explanations of a road mishap. He finally declared that a blanket surcharge should be imposed on any driver who simply looked too young.

I found my sons doing exactly what I knew they would be doing: checking the internet to see if a horse and buggy would have needed to be insured in the 1700s when Grandad was young. My youngest monster suggested that perhaps the cost to the council of cleaning up piles of manure would have required some form of hazardous transport insurance to be held by the horse’s owner. Be all that as it may, personal experience has taught me the value of car insurance and I wholeheartedly support the decision to legislate a minimum insurance requirement. Grandad has two vintage cars in storage, which I know have been left to his great grandsons. I would not be in the least surprised if a condition of inheritance demands that they firstly undergo an English grammar test.

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Copyright Karen Faulkner 2013 All Rights Reserved