He Who Assumes May Be Lost

In 2001, we visited Ireland. Ireland is a lovely place, but it has lots of narrow single lane roads surrounded by high hedges. Driving vision can be non-existent.
We did all the usual planning. Engaged an excellent travel agent and read Lonely Planet. We planned to hire a car to drive around Ireland looking for our relatives. Pre departure, we organised a hire car with Europe Car, slightly cheaper than Hertz, but a multi-national company.
Well briefed, we planned to avoid the CBD of Dublin because of its reputation of atrocious traffic management. But Ireland had joined the EU, accepted EU bribes for “infrastructure”. They built a 4 lane ring-road from Dublin airport (north of the city), which circled west from the airport, then south, around the snarl of Dublin, to join up south of Dublin on the south road to Wessex. All the Guide books we saw lavished praise on this ring-road.
We picked up the hire car at the Airport and set off after an inspection of the existing dents and tyres on the vehicle, as the insurance excess was humongous. New road, great surface, but little traffic. About 20 km from where the new ring-road should have joined the Main South Road from Dublin to Wessex, the ring-road abruptly ended in a village, without warning. We heard later the Irish had quickly exhausted the EU funds, and no other gift infrastructure funds were forthcoming. Apparently the premature ending of construction occurred after the printing deadline for our maps and guides.
Lacking really detailed maps showing local roads (no GPS then), we drove in a rough easterly direction through numerous little villages. We did some backtracking. It was rather stressful. Somewhere we drove over some pieces of metal, and cut the left rear tire. Bugger! It was not safe to stop on the road, but we found a small picturesque village. The villagers were friendly.
We unloaded the boot, jacked up the car, and removed the punctured wheel. Quell disaster! The spare tire in the boot came with four stud holes, but the punctured wheel had five studs. After a long wait, we made the dreaded CBD of Dublin in a taxi, to pick-up another car, right on peak hour.
You can bet your life I checked the stud holes in the spare tyre this time. Lesson learned.
My error was to assume that the Europe Car people in Ireland employed people with enough brains to check the compliance of the spare tire at pre-delivery, as they do in Australia. I assumed a multi-national hire car company provided their services in the same efficient manner anywhere – I assumed that all hire companies were “all the same”.
That was an error on my part, but fortunately the damage was not great this time, other than losing a day’s travel. But what if I had needed that spare tyre while visiting the Cliffs of Mohr, in the wild west of Ireland. I never saw another Europe Car office in my travels.
Do you assume all life insurance policies are the same? Excuse the analogy, but do you “lift the mat in the boot, check firstly that an inflated spare is actually provided, and then count the stud holes in the wheel? “
Life risk specialist advisers check policy terms every day, all year long. We never assume there are no nasties in the fine print, for our client’s sake!

Bill Brown is a Sub-Authorised Representative (341438) of Bill Brown & Associates Pty Ltd,(343087) trading as Estate Forethought. Bill Brown & Associates Pty Ltd is a Corporate Authorised Representative of Sentry Financial Services Pty Ltd. AFSL 286786, ABN 30 113 531 034

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