Jenny and the family are back from Dorset. Sadly the holiday has been spoiled by a theft. A thief or thieves have knocked in the windows of a row of cars parked on a quiet country rode and looted whatever they could get their hands on. Jenny’s bag containing her wallet, cards and a quantity of cash, as well as driving licence, has been snatched as part of their haul. Our friend, who hired the car, will have to pay an excess penalty charge for the vehicle.

We have had our travel insurance with the HSBC for many years, and never claimed a centime or penny on it. Relieved that we have insurance cover, Jenny contacts them to initiate the claim. She is asked whether the bag was visible, and admits – as any honest soul would do – that it was indeed visible.

I am not sure if all insurance companies are equally weasly, but we are astonished to find out that the fact that the bag was visible invalidates our claim! Apparently it is in the fine print. Excuse me? How on earth are you supposed to keep everything in your car invisible, and what difference does it make if the theft is a calculated grab on several cars, and there is no evidence at all that the bag’s visibility was a factor in the car being targeted?

No, this is just another example of big businesses using any excuse not to meet their obligations. It is an industry fraught with dishonour. It was e.e. cummings who wrote that “A salesman is a (bug) that stinks excuse” and I can only use the same phrase of these insurance companies, who are paid a fortune by the truthful whose claims are denied, but repeatedly pay out on the claims of swindlers whose claims are bogus. The insurance person at the end of the phone advises Jenny that she should check if she has any other policy that she could claim on. It is almost as if she is saying, Try someone else and this time tell a lie.

I am seriously underimpressed, but the incident remind me that it is really important that I should settle the issue of who is insuring my e-bike.  I resolve to do that tomorrow.