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English: Lifebuoy from insurance company TrygVesta

English: Lifebuoy from insurance company TrygVesta (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Admittedly the damage wasn’t quite on the same scale as the devastation in Queensland, but the Sydney ‘showers’ last week, propelled by the cyclone up north, fully exposed the more shoddy bits of workmanship in our new rental house; the ones the property manager forgot to mention in his copy when marketing it for some exorbitant rent.

I don’t remember the adjective ‘leaking’ being a commonly-used word to describe the beautiful old slate roof, for example.

The main victims of our deluge were the hire sofa and my very expensive and treasured (!) Ikea coir rug. Fortunately, the water did miss the ADHDer’s Ipad by about a hair, so in spite of the catastrophe, I did just about manage to maintain my sanity in the face of my first climate change crisis.

Always one step ahead of the game and an absolute professional at closing the stable door after the horse has bolted, I put my call into the NRMA for some contents insurance the following morning.

It’s not that I expected them to cough up money for damage that had happened twelve hours previously, (during the freak micro wild weather crisis that had lashed at the wobbly and decrepit old roof tiles above my rental sofa), but the situation I found myself in did prove two things: that sh*t does indeed happen, and as galling as it is to have to shell out dollar upon dollar in ever-increasing premiums, insurance companies really do have us by the proverbial balls.

However, fate occasionally does have a hand in creating a blue sky out of a grey one and my tail-between-the-legs call to the NRMA, (post domestic flood), was handled by the most extraordinary joker sales person I have ever had the good fortune to come across in a crisis. This is how my enquiry for a quotation for contents insurance went, the day after THOSE storms.

Judge for yourselves:

Him: NRMA, how can I help you?

Me: Can I have a quote for some contents insurance, please?

Him: Water still pouring in then? Is it the carpet, the sofa or were you really lucky and it destroyed both?

Me: I’m……..sorry?

Him: Simply assuming that like the rest of Sydney you’ve decided to get insurance AFTER the storm?

Me: Um, not exactly, there hasn’t been any water damage (LIE, LIE, LIE! Biting lip, which I always do when forced into a white lie situation)…it’s just that we have recently moved and I need some new insurance.

Him: Can I ask what type of house you live in, Louisa? Rich or poor? And how many floors?

Me: A terraced house with three floors.

Him: A T.E.R.R.A.C.E.D house, DARLING! With THREE WHOLE FLOORS! Anything else I need to know….not also hiding a meths lab in the basement are you?

Me: WHAT? (Now laughing).

Him: Only joking… and don’t quote me on that. What standard of furniture would you like me to cover you for?

Me: What are my choices?

Him: Band 1: Ikea; Band 2: Slightly better than Ikea; band 3: Wouldn’t be seen dead in Ikea – Band 3 covers antiques, designer furniture and posh sh*t like that.

Me: Definitely Band 1.

Him: SURELY NOT! Not in that suburb of Sydney! How terribly embarrassing for you!

Me: Erm….(I have a very ‘tight’ husband who actually thinks that Ikea is expensive)….we have teenagers….it’s not really worth investing in good furniture.

Him: And what security do you have at the property?

Me: Grilles, alarm, deadlocks….you name it, we’ve got it. But we probably won’t use any of them…they’ll act as more of a deterrent.

Him: Fantastic! The reassurance every insurance company and potential robber wants to hear…..

And so it went on. And as I was signing my life away with my credit card details twenty minutes later….

Him: (deadpan) And tell me, how would you feel about me adding my rent payment onto your card? I’m a bit short this month.

(Mouth wide open).

Now that’s what I call service.

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