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Questions About Auto Insurance & Accidents



  • CarMan@EdmundsCarMan@Edmunds Posts: 38,515
    I personally agree with hungrywhale's thoughts on auto insurance. I know that I would never claim an accident on my insurance policy if it was avoidable, as long as the cost to repair my vehicle out of my own pocket was not prohibitive. Of course, instances such as multiple party accidents where both parties can not agree to handle things without going through insurance, accidents with extremely expensive repairs, or if your vehicle is stolen where filing an insurance claim is definitely the way to go.

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  • kinleykinley Posts: 854
    1. Brakes don't lock up without the driver's help. Had the accident been seen by a policeman, a ticket would have been issued not to the locked brakes, but to the driver. It was never revealed the other car was vacant. Only stopped. When the other car is occupied, there is possibility of future bodily injury claims. Should a B.I. claim appear several months after the crash,the insurance carrier may say no coverage because the insured violated the terms and conditions of his policy by not reporting the accident within a reasonable period of time. (So, you might as well report the crash and get your collision damage covered at the same time.) When the other vehicle is occupied, report the crash to the company enabling their professionals to control the loss. Accept responsiblity for your actions and don't try to blame the brakes or black ice,etc.
  • protegextwoprotegextwo Posts: 1,265
    Facts: insurance company: Encompass Insurance (CNA)
    1.) Clean driving record.
    2.) No collision claim for well over 7 years.
    3.) One comprehensive claim, last October (hit a deer) for $2,800.00.

    Question: A stone thrown from the wheels of a big rig, cracked my windshield. I got two estimates for replacement.

    Safelite- $287.90
    Cindy Rowe- $387.25

    I have a $100.00 deductible on my comprehensive coverage. From a Insurance Renewal standpoint, will two comprehensive claims in less than a year send up a red flag with Encompass's Insurance under-writers?

  • hungrywhalehungrywhale Posts: 83
    That the only claims that count against you are the moving violation/collisions.

    But that may just be my ins. company.
  • protegextwoprotegextwo Posts: 1,265
    Thank you for expressing your opinion. I was concerned with how the 9/11 insurance repercussions might effect insurance renewal. Is it possible that Encompass Insurance might drop me for the frequency of my comprehensive claims, if I submitted a claim for my cracked windshield. (a total of 2 in less than 8 months)? I called my agent at The Berkshire Agency in Reading PA., and she was kinda non-committal, however they did not discourage me from submitting the claim?

  • hungrywhalehungrywhale Posts: 83
    I'm not in the insurance biz. Do you have an agent that you use? If so, call him/her and ask before doing anything. Any good agent will give you a straight answer.
  • rroyce10rroyce10 Posts: 9,359
    ...... Yep, they are funny little critters ..

    We just spent 2 1/2 hrs with our agent of 15 yrs.

    And golly ghee, guess what ..?

    Our Ins is going up... Again. Even though we have never had any "related" claims, we are now considered .. high risk.

    Yes, the Ins co. paid some claim during Andrew, they paid $9,400, we paid $18,000 (that's fair .. right?) -- 2 years later, a Bird in a pet store, bit my wifes diamond earrings off, and since the store refused to pay the claim, my Ins co. did. They paid $500, we paid $1,500 (that's fair .. right?) -- when a drunken driver, drove off the road and drove through our garage, they paid $5,500, how nice.. I ended up paying the other $7,300 (that's fair .. right?) --- When Floyd blew through, they were nice enough to kick $1,500 at us (after 90 days) .. and me of course only had to come up with another $3,500 (thats fair .. right?) --- But, when a graduation party got out of hand with fireworks from a neighbors home .. I never bothered to call them, I just paid that $1,800. And with all the lot and related damages that goes on, for the tune of $28,000, I just ate that too.

    I guess .. I must live in the wrong neighborhood, be in the wrong business .. and be in all the wrong places at the wrong time ---- Or so I have been told by my Agent of 15 years. I'm glad he straightened me out .. I was starting to get a little worried.

    Terry ;-)
  • bolivarbolivar Posts: 2,316
    I'm almost speachless. Or typeless.

    If you EVER come near the state of Oklahoma, tell me. I want to get far, far away from you.

    "A bird bit my wife's earrings off....." Whoa!
  • azgainersazgainers Posts: 4
    An insurance co will notice 2 comp losses in less than 8 mths., however, if your comp loss history in the past couple years is good (like maybe 1 claim)it will probably go by the wayside. However, if you tend to have a series of comp losses w/in the span of a couple years your carrier may automatically increase your comp deductible on you. That is not uncommon. Even though comp losses are typically not your fault it seems that some people tend to attract the vandals and flying rocks. Kinda like rroyce10 tends to attract those unusual claims (birds and earrings? about a black cloud!). I know it doesn't seem right to be penalized for a claim that wasn't your fault, but some people tend to attract more bad luck than others. I can understand the insurance industry from both the perspective as a consumer and an employee w/in the industry. Kind of like the gov't. Doesn't always make sense, but you're subject to the rules of the industry.
  • kinleykinley Posts: 854
    "co insurance" clause? If so and if you were in violation of the co insurance clause at the time of the losses, you received what you insured. A percentage of the loss in proportion to the percentage of the value insured. Did you have a Homeowner or some type of Farm Policy? I can understand how your receiving what you got could be fair due to the co insurance clause.
  • rroyce10rroyce10 Posts: 9,359
    ....... Nope to Co-insurance ...

    I really posted with a sense of humor .. I'm not much of a lover of the Insurance industry. Especially, after they "wasted" about 30,000 homeowners after Andrew.

    I understand the Insurance game, I have taken them to court on a few occasions .. but, most people just shrug their shoulders and just go on.

    Not to go into a long drawn out and boring post --- I get it, and work hard for it .. I just don't let Ins co.s steal it .... and I still can say that, with a smile on my face.

    Terry ;-)
  • jdb92626jdb92626 Posts: 5
    Does anyone know the weight insurance adjusters give to police reports when the officer preparing the report failed to include the critical fact that a sheriff moved the pieces of the other party's car from the point of impact to a neat pile next to the other party's car. When the investigative officer took the report he assumed the point of impact was where the pieces of the other car were placed - about 10 to 15 feet removed from the actual point of impact. The officer hinted he was going to place blame on me which I believe is completely erroneous. We plan to make this a point to the adjuster. How much consideration will our story be given?
  • force98force98 Posts: 81
    in all of my vehicles--to immediately take photos of the accident scene.
  • kinleykinley Posts: 854
    enforcement for honesty is assumed. In your case, the deputy who moved the pieces can be interviewed to explain that the wreckge was moved to enable traffic to pass or whatever reason. Make sure the adjuster talks with the deputy. Best of Luck to you.
  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H Posts: 11,042
    A major daily newspaper is writing a story about collision damage insurance, and is looking to talk with drivers who have run into deer or moose. "In most states, such an encounter is not covered by comp. or collision damage insurance; you need special coverage. I want to talk to people who have had these collisions and learn how they handled them. Likewise, I'd also like to hear from people who were involved in some other sort of incident involving their auto and found out that insurance they thought they had was not there." Please respond no later than Monday, June 3 to and/or Thanks as always!

    Jeannine Fallon

    PR Director


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  • kinleykinley Posts: 854
    Commercial Auto Policy, Standard Auto Policy, Family Auto Policy, and Special Auto Policy are marketed in various states by various companies. Which of the four policies do you want to refer to in your question? In my experience the Family Auto Policy and the Special Auto Policy covered animal collision under Comprehensive and was never considered a "chargeable" or "at fault" accident. If the collision with an animal was or is not covered by Comprehensive it is most certainly covered under the Collision coverage.
  • alexb757alexb757 Posts: 6
    Just wondering if an adjustor, body shop repair person or someone who may have had a similar experience, can give some advice. I think I have all my bases covered but you can never have too much info!
    Two weeks ago my wife got rear-ended on the freeway. She was driving our 99 Chrysler Sebring JXi convert & got hit on the right rear by a 20-year-old female who, @ the time, did not have proof of insurance. Luckily no major injuries & only the two vehicles involved.
    The other driver was also citied on two counts: following too closely & inattentive driving. Since then we have found out that she also admitted liability & we elected to have her insurance co (USAA) handle the full claim. Her car was damaged but ours had to be towed off. Apart from bodywork/paint, our right rear wheel is angled out @ approx 25%, obvious damage to the suspension, wheel rim, etc.
    Initially, the USAA adjustor said he thought it may be totaled, now he says that it is repairable & gave us a quote of just under $5000 which even to me, seems somewhat low.
    What concerns me most is that the repair work quoted uses generic/re-conditioned parts. I realize that the will pay for the damage but I believe I have the right to have the work done @ a facility of MY choice & to control the repair process. After all, I am the innocent party in this & their client admitted liability!
    Also, I have a 5yr/60000 mile extended warranty which I took out in Feb 2002 & having carefully read the terms & conditions, I find that use of any non Chrysler/Mopar part in repair work would invalid my contract. You begin to see the picture?
    The most interesting development came when I called the adjustor to tell him I wanted a second opinion & wanted the location of the car so I could have it appraised independently. He did not seem very happy @ that but agreed to arrange the tow/release from their yard. He started bad-mouthing the repair facility I had chosen & said that he "had problems with them in the past".
    Suffice to say, I checked out the company myself (they were recommended by my local Chrysler dealer as one of three they use here in Las Vegas).
    I am slowly beginning to get the picture of how repair shops & claims adjustors work & how enmity may creep into all this.
    WE are not in the business to fleece anybody - just "to be made whole again", have our car back like it was before. We do not want to settle for the "least cost option" which is clearly what USAA is hoping for. Finally, we have access to legal counsel. Is it time to use them? Where do we go from here? I can guarantee 99.9% that this independent appraisal is going to be more than the $5000, probably double. How can I convince the ins. co. to accept the higher estimate? While this whole episode is unfortunate, it is THEIR client who is at-fault. Why the game playing now?
    Thanks in advance for any insight to this whole, new, wonderful world!!
    Alex H.
  • kinleykinley Posts: 854
    plus possible hidden damage extras, added to the higher estimate and allowance for diminished value approaches the wreck being totaled, would you want it totaled? If so, figure in the above items.
  • im_brentwoodim_brentwood Posts: 4,883
    Smart move. I personally HATE USAA.

    IMO, they can go straight to hell where they belong. OK, that being said, you did the right thing. If they don't play ball with you, do what I did and sue 'em. You also need to pursue a claim for diminshed value. I would NOT accept aftermarket or used parts.

  • alexb757alexb757 Posts: 6
    Thanks everyone for yr response on this. The picture is becoming ever clearer.
    I strongly suspect when all is said and done & the higher estimate is presented to them, USAA are going to change their minds (again) & go for totaling the car. That's OK w/me too - provided I get enough cash to get a similar vehicle in return. They may not like that either but hell, isn't that what insurance is supposed to be all about?
    Oh, did I mention that they are already obligated to paying for our rental while they are dragging their feet in releasing our vehicle for independent appraisal plus our medical costs. I think they are running scared because I have taken the time & trouble to get fully informed on this business and now I am exercising my rights as a not-at-fault consumer.
    Either way, they may have to answer to my attorney if the do not meet their obligations.
    Any more posts on this equally welcome. Thanks everyone - I'll let you know the final outcome so that it may help a future subscriber.
  • CarMan@EdmundsCarMan@Edmunds Posts: 38,515
    Bill, if you don't mind me asking, why do you hate USAA so much? I have had nothing but great experiences with them and have used them for many years.

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  • im_brentwoodim_brentwood Posts: 4,883
    I had a BMW stolen from me at Garden State Plaze. I had forgotten that it had a hide-a-key under the back 1/4 panel. Huge long story short, they denied the claim, they badly damaged the frame in storage, wouldnt pay it, I had to sue them, their defense was that I wanted the $$.

    My argument was that while they were BSing around, I had gone out and leased a brand new 1995 Vanden Plas (With a $nearly $8K security deposit, and $1,500 in other drive-off fees) and that I also at the time owned a 1995 M3, so why was I trying to scam them on a 1988 535i?

    They were, without question, the worst I ever have dealt with. I hate them even more than Geico.

  • rbrenton88rbrenton88 Posts: 186
    I just noticed this topic, so please pardon the late jump-in...

    A comment on replacement value made at the begining of this forum bothers me a bit. One of the adjusters mentioned the process for establishing the "totalled" value of your car. He said that Autotrader (for example) was NOT a reliable measure of retail value, because prices listed therein are only 'asking' numbers, not what the cars actually sell for.
    I can buy that argument, as real estate prices vs. actual appraisals work the same way. But my concern is how the ins. companies determine actual transaction prices? Is there some DMV source for this based on new registration applications for a sale between private parties? How would anyone be able to surmise the real transaction values of all those cars sold from Autotrader? There's no way.

    If I hear that ins. co's use auction values, I'd state that these are fruadulent valuations not nearly representative of "replacement value".

  • kinleykinley Posts: 854
    To me, each case was unique and contained its own merits and demerits. Condition of the remains indicated level of care the vehicle had. Mileage, pattern of tire wear, previous damage, (rust doesn't appear overnight) garaged at night?,attitude of owner/driver after the crash were just some of the characteristics I considered when involved for my clients. The KBB and NADA are only and just guides. More authoritative were the private party ads in the local papers for the same vehicle. Does this help?
  • alexb757alexb757 Posts: 6
    Mine was the orig post on this subject (see #79 & 82).

    I can only speak from recent experience & while there are bad apples as well as good in any business, I'll let you decide.
    Rightly or wrongly, I decided to have the at-fault party's carrier, who happened to be USAA, handle the claim. Bad decision!

    Basically all USAA did was a single appraisal, no follow-up, no feedback & the runaround for 3 days. I still don't know exactly where the vehicle is after being told "they would take care of it". To add insult to injury, this am I found a check in the mail from them for the said estimate. No cover letter, no explanation. As if to say "here, take it or leave it, we're done". Sorry folks but this is customer service @ its worse & is completely unacceptable to us.

    I am not entirely convinced that the appraiser even did a thorough job. He made no mention of the convertible roof in his report yet my wife (& tow truck driver) had difficulty raising it immediately after the rear-ended hit. The roof motor may be damaged.

    It is now TWO weeks after the accident & still no decision on how to proceed w/repairs. USAA even sent us a total loss letter/form then changed their minds. Enough is enough.

    Not surprisingly, I have now gone back to my own carrier, Liberty Mutual, who will handle the claim as I have no energy left chasing after these people.

    At first, I did not want to use my pre-paid legal counsel but unless LB can turn this thing around and keep us in the loop, I may have little alternative.

    Any thoughts on this you legal eagles...?

  • robertrrobertr Posts: 125
    I hate USAA, too!

    In May 2000, my new Maxima (less than 4 months old) was hit in the rear while I was stopped at and waiting for a red light. The USAA-insured just drove up behind me and smashed into my rear end as if I was not there, pushing me through the intersection (I was fortunate there was no cross traffic at that moment.).

    The USAA adjuster called the body shop everyday and harassed them about getting my car repaired ASAP because they were spending $22 per day for a Taurus rental car (does not compare to driving a Maxima) Because my car was a new model, there was difficulty getting repair parts because most parts were going to production.

    Instead of reimbursing my HMO for my medical expenses, their adjuster wrote a letter saying they would pay them when they settled with me. Instead of just paying my modest medical bills and offering me any kind of settlement (I would have agreed to anything reasonable), I got another letter, more paperwork, and consent forms to sign.

    The adjuster’s supervisor at USAA advised me not to get a lawyer, because I would “net more without one.” My own insurance company, AMICA, told me they could not give legal advice when I asked them if I should get a lawyer.

    I certainly experienced “diminished value”, but the USAA supervisor said there is no such thing. On top of that, hidden damage surfaced later. The car never sounded right after the repairs. I finally discovered that I had an exhaust system leak caused by the accident that was not repaired. When I had an alignment done, I discovered that the rear axle was out of alignment. Unless it came from the factory this way (doubtful, given Japanese quality), it was caused by the accident. There is no adjustment for the rear axle.

    Fortunately, I got a lawyer after receiving the paperwork and consent forms instead of a settlement offer. USAA apparently doesn’t want to pay the smallest claims if they can avoid it. This was maybe a $6,000 claim if they had settled it up front. If I had not retained a lawyer, they would not have to pay it at all because the two-year statue of limitations expired. My attorney had to file a lawsuit last month to keep the claim alive. The lawsuit by the way, is against the party causing the loss, not the insurance company. I know I would be real upset with my insurance company if I got a summons for a lawsuit over a two-year-old accident claim that they still have not settled. So USAA is probably doing a good job of pissing off some of their own customers as well as their claimants.

    Depending on what they do now, I am considering contacting my state attorney general and my state insurance department concerning their claims practices when dealing with innocent victims who have the misfortune to be hit by their insureds who are negligent and 100% at fault.
  • oldharryoldharry Posts: 413
    By an uninsured motorist, I filed against my collision insurance. I knew the adjuster, as I had done some work for the insurance company in my shop. I do suspension work, no body work, but a couple of cars that hit curbs were paid by the insurance. He said a different person would make the offer, but he did the damage report. I told him that I was prepared to visit every car dealer within twenty five miles that had a comparable car, and make a list with dealer's name and stock number. I would not even ask prices, but would tell the insurance company that I would accept any of these cars as replacement.

    They gave me average retail for my car without any problems. They also paid the sales tax on the portion of the replacement vehicle equal to the value of my old car, and the license and title transfer.

    Customers of mine have told me of being offered auction value, and a refusal to replace on the grounds that, "You would not be satisfied with any car we picked to replace it." from several different insurance companies. If they take you up on your offer, and get one of those cars for you, any problems in the future are your problems not theirs.

    If you know the rules, and play fairly and politely, most companies will play the same way. If you don't know the rules you are at a disadvantage.

  • mistralmistral Posts: 4
    Hi. I read the article and have a question about an accident I was recently involved in.
    I was stopped at a light when a van slammed into the suv behind me hitting me and causing me to bump into the car in front of me. It wasn't my fault at all but I chose to let my insurance company fix my car since I needed it as soon as possible and it's a lease (the other guy's insurance is one of those minimum coverage deals they advertise on tv and I wasn't sure how they were going to handle the situation).
    Anyway, I'm stuck with my deductible and a rental car bill (I now know I should have gotten that coverage) which will be quite large since the body shop is estimating a month from tomorrow and it's already been two weeks.

    My question is: is there anything I can do to get any money for my deductible and the rental? I know more than likely there isn't anything I can do but I was just wondering if maybe his insurance would cover that if sued or something.

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