By Louise Walsh
A Co Meath motorist has been driven to despair after his annual motor insurance renewal quote climbed to a whopping €19,000.
Slane publican Brian Kelly (48) rang Liberty Insurance to point out, what he thought was an administrative error but was told the quote of €19,368.26 for his 07 1.6 litre Toyota Avensis was correct.
The hike was up over €15,000 on last year's insurance costs and over €18,500 more than his 2016 insurance policy for €800.
Brian, who is a director of the suicide awareness voluntary group SOSAD (Save Our Sons and Daughters) was left scratching his head when Liberty told him that the huge premium was because of two outstanding claims against him.
He said: "I'm in shock. Sure who could afford to pay €19,000 for car insurance. You'd buy a new car for that
"I'm with Liberty Insurance 17 years and had nine years of a no-claims bonus intact.
"I've had two tips since Christmas 2016 on two separate occasions in Navan and Slane.
"I wasn't going at speed when I hit both from behind. I got out of the car and swopped insurance details. There seemed to be very little damage if any on the vehicles and the drivers got out and seemed fine.
"In one of the incidents, there was even a garda driving behind us who stopped for a few minutes but left us to sort everything out.
When I heard there were two personal injuries claims against me pending, I was both gobsmacked and devastated.
Brian has a month to seek new insurance cover but doesn't think that anyone else will insure him because of the incidents.
"I can't afford to pay €19,000 but I need my car. I've been a director of SOSAD since 2009 and do a lot of fundraising. What am I going to do now?
To be quoted €19,000 is ludicrous in itself. I know after the first incident in 2016, the premium went from €800 to €4,000 and I paid it but this jump is completely out of the ballpark.
Brian is not letting the issue rest and has contacted the Ombudsman to make a complaint.
"I hold up my hands to the accidents but I just can't understand how a quote of over 19,000 can be justified.
"I believe that the claim culture in this country will literally drive us all off the roads and it has to be looked at."
Liberty Insurance have been contacted for comment.