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Questions About Auto Insurance and Accidents

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Comments

  • zodiac2004zodiac2004 Posts: 471
    Guys, I need your help. I just got a call from my insurance adjusted saying my car is totaled. I rear-ended a Mazda RX 8, at 12 kph or so. Damage to my car (92 Lexus ES 300) is the hood bent upwards, right side headlight cover smashed, inner assembly pushed inside a little, radiator bent inwards a little etc.
    I was shocked to hear about the totaling, since the car started and was drivable after the accident (it was kinda hard to see over the hood, though).
    So, what are my options. Do I have to take what they give me, or do I have any say in the fate of the car. Also, this happened near Toronto, Ontario. My car was originally a California car registered there from late 91 to 2002, when I moved to Toronto and registered it here. So its condition is much better than a car of similar age car living in Toronto all its life due to lack of winter weather in California. The car had 124000 miles, if that's relevant.
    Any info is greatly appreciated. Thanks.
  • rroyce10rroyce10 Posts: 9,359
    ...... Sorry to hear about the accident.. cars are a dime a dozen, but people only come and go once - is everyone ok.?

                 If there going to total the vehicle how much will the insurance company be offering .? (American money)

                              Terry.
  • zodiac2004zodiac2004 Posts: 471
    Thanks for your response. Gives some perspective on the whole situation. Nobody was hurt at all, not even remotely. It was a fender-bender type of deal, except my car went under his fender and the impact fell on the hood. His car's bumper was slightly scratched, that's it. The insurance company hasn't given me a quote yet. I just wanted to be aware of my options when they do come up with the offer.

    Also, is there any way I can buy my car back from the ins company with a clean title, after all is said and done. I know I can buy it salvaged, and I may still do that, depending on what I need to do to register it subsequently, but with a clean title it's obviously much easier.
  • zodiac2004zodiac2004 Posts: 471
    I just heard from the body shop that the damage exceeds $6000, so I guess I am not buying the car back and fixing it after all.
    When I talk to my ins adjuster, do the recent maintenance/repair done on the car come into the picture at all in determining the value of the car. For instance I replaced my tires and the ignition system last year for about $1000.
  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 25,959
    they wouldn't care if you just had it painted, frankly. The car is worth what its worth no matter what was put into it. Being 12 years old and well over 100K, I'm not surprised they totalled it. I am surprised, however, they determined that before getting the estimate (unless they had it before you did). Let us know what the insurance company is offering you, though. I'm curious.

    Also, I bet someone would still give you money for that car totalled. That straight-six 3.0 liter Toyota engine (that's what it has, right?) can take alot of abuse and is very popular with the tuner crowd. So if the insurance company pays out and you still get to keep the car, sell the drivetrain for some extra bucks.

    '18 BMW 330xi; '67 Coronet R/T; '14 Town&Country Limited; '18 BMW X2. 47-car history and counting!

  • Sorry to hear about your accident, zodiac2004. At least everyone is OK. There is an interesting article on this subject here at Edmunds.com that you should check out: How Auto Insurance Companies Total Your Vehicle After You Total Your Vehicle.

    Car_man
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  • leomortleomort Posts: 451
    dropping full coverage on your car, ie comprehensive and collision, and just keep liability? I was thinking when a car hits 7 to 8 years old. Any thoughts?

                          Leo
  • janzjanz Posts: 129
    I think it has more to do with this and your personal cash flow and comfort level than just the age of the car.

    When I was young, I carried full coverage on my 10+ year old car because the additional premium was cheap and I needed whatever cash I would be able to get for a replacement vehicle in the event of a total loss.
  • leomortleomort Posts: 451
    I was also told by my insurance agent that if it's your only car to keep full insurance. Not sure I totatlly agree with that.

    My car was 10 years old w/ 220k+ miles. Cost around $700/yr to fully insure. Car's retail value according t Edmunds was around $1200. But I couldn't get a car dealership to take it for trade-in, but got one to offer $200. So I doubt I could get much out of my insurance company if I did total it. So long winded way of saying I agree with Janz.
  • jasmith52jasmith52 Posts: 460
    There's something else to consider.

    I used to have a six year old Firebird that my wife drove. We dropped the collision coverage cause the car was only worth say 5 grand or so.

    She was involved in low speed accident with an older (very Crusty) driver who was cited at the scene by the police for making an unsafe U-turn.

    Well, it was obvious who was at fault here - The other driver. But the other driver refused to accept responsibility for the accident. My insurance company said - You are on your own to collect cause you didn't have collision insurance.

    The other drivers insurance company (acting in total bad faith) refused to pay telling us that "you'll never collect - we can get out of this"

    So after untold aggravation and letters etc. we hired a lawyer (at our expense) to get back our money for our damaged car. It wasn't until a lawsuit was actually filed by a lawyer that the other insurance company changed their toon. We finally got much of the money back (but not all) after lots of agravation.

    The moral here is that when you drop collision insurance you are on your own to collect from any Bozo that hits your car. Think about that before you drop your collision insurance.
  • prophet2prophet2 Posts: 372
    The drawback of hiring an attorney is that they don't have to accept your case if they believe it financially unprofitable to them. If the value is too small, they won't accept it on a contingency basis, but will bill you hourly, if they take it at all.

    A car worth about $5K is still valuable enough to keep fully insured.
  • bolivarbolivar Posts: 2,316
    What did collision insurance have to do with the accident?

    I think you got a bad deal from your insurance company also. The question was not about your collision insurance, which should come into the case only if it was your fault, but your liability insurance, which you were carrying.

    If you were at fault, your insurance would be paying the other driver. Your insurance company should have defended you to make the other driver and/or insurance pay for your damage.

    You should have threatened your insurance company that you would accept blame for the accident, then they would have to pay him.

    This looks like a case that should have gone to your state insurance commissioner department, aganist both companies.
  • prophet2prophet2 Posts: 372
    If you have collision coverage, you can have the repair done under your policy and have your company subrogate the claim against the other driver and his company. You pay your deductible upfront and get re-imbursed when the subrogation is completed.

    Threatening to admit fault for the accident is senseless and illogical. The other guys would love to hear that. You'd only be screwing yourself.

    If you have no collision coverage, you have no basis to complain about your carrier.
  • janzjanz Posts: 129
    I've recently learned on this subject, if you go to rent a car and only have liability policies on your vehicles, you will need to take the insurance on the rental. If you do not have full coverage on at least one of your vehicles, your ins carrier will not provide coverage in the event of a fender bender or worse.
  • tornado25tornado25 Posts: 279
    " think you got a bad deal from your insurance company also. The question was not about your collision insurance, which should come into the case only if it was your fault, but your liability insurance, which you were carrying."

    Bolivar, prophet is right. No offense, but a lot of my job involves helping to educate people about misconceptions or misunderstandings like this. For one thing, the liability coverage only serves to protect YOU from paying damages to the other driver. So even if you threatened to accept fault, that would still not repair you vehicle, since the coverage needed was not in force. It might make you feel good or something, but it would come back to bite you in the form of a chargeable accident with increased rates.

    The reason jasmith's insurance company did nothing is because they couldn't legally do anything about it. Again, as prophet pointed out, had he carried collision, his insurance company would have paid and subrogated (or filed a claim against) the other person and his insurance company. They would then have the legal ability to prove the other driver was at fault and they were entitled to recovery. Since the insurance company made no such payment (nor did jasmith expect them to, I imagine), they could not "force" the other person or his insurance company to pay.

    Personally, I'd rather pay my deductible and let my insurance company haul out the big guns (and mine has the biggest) if needed, especially since they can force recovery of the entirety of the damages, my deductible included.

    My opinion is drop collision only if you would junk the vehicle and just buy another anyway with minimal financial consequence; this is, is the car so old or low in value that even with collision, you'd really be no futher ahead? For some people, that might be once the value is $5000, for others it might be $1000.
  • prophet2prophet2 Posts: 372
    CDW is a financial rip-off. The rental agencies either self-insure or have a large deductible on collision (e.g. $3000). What do they charge for this, $10/day? That's $3650/yr. if the car's out everyday.

    If your policy's collision coverage is $500 deductible, you're still responsible for that.

    Being that you almost always need a major credit card to rent cars, check you VISA or Mastercard for automatic CDW coverage. You generally get that with your Gold/Platinum/Titanium level card.
  • prophet2prophet2 Posts: 372
    How right you are! Let the insurance companies fight it out. The claimant's concern should be getting a competent and satisfactory repair of his car's damage. Like you, I'll go through my own coverage and let my carrier subrogate - they have a stake in it.

    My car was bumped in a minor acccident in a shopping center. The people are very reasonable and may choose to pay out-of-pocket, but I told them that the cost may be more expensive than it appears. Aside from "hidden" damages under the bumper cover which may be uncovered after work has started, pearl paint requires extra prep and re-finish work. Estimates from body shops are $1000+, with the caveat about "hidden" damage. One shop indicated it could run $1400-2000. With that possibility, I'll put up the $500 deductible and let my insurer subrogate. Then, I won't have to waste my time arguing with the other adjuster.
  • tornado25tornado25 Posts: 279
    By filing a collision claim in a not-at-fault accident (which most carriers, mine included, do not surcharge) what you're doing is limiting your exposure to the deductible. Your company is first and foremost interested in keeping you happy so any "fight" with them should be minor. Pay the deductible and move on. If you're lucky, you'll get a check in the mail in a few months. It's always the way I've seen and although I always advise our clients of both options, I try to let them know filing a claim with us is best for their sanity, if they can afford the deductible.

    Which does lead to a problem. People carry a deductible they might not be able to afford to make the premium affordable. Puts them in a sticky situation in a scenario like this.
  • janzjanz Posts: 129
    I agree completely about CDW, but you missed my point. If you do not carry a full coverage policy, there is no provision for a collision deductible to apply because there will be no coverage, nada.

    Your credit card comment is good information. However, not all major cards are Platimum, Gold, or Titanium. If you don't already know, it would be a good idea to verify this regardless.

    I talked to my agent the other day and the only time they suggest CDW is if you are renting in very bad weather. That way in the event of a crash or worse, you can walk away.
  • complex1complex1 Posts: 13
    Please, could you help me with the following question:

    Do I need to make some kind of written permission to let my friend to drive my car? What about insurance? How does it work in this case? (I have only liability insurance).

    To sum up, which documents should he have with him while driving my car?

    Thank you for any comments!
  • prophet2prophet2 Posts: 372
    I was merely adding to your information for those who might think they're "safe" because they have collision coverage on their personal auto policies. Some have $1000-2000 deductibles on collision to save on premiums when they might have trouble taking the deductible hit.

    It's fairly easy these days for most people to qualify for at least a gold card. Credit card companies often offer "extended warranties" on comsumer goods (e.g. small electronics like TVs) purchased on their cards - 90-day manufacturer's warranty to one year. Covering CDW on auto rentals is likewise another benefit.

    Coverage is extended to any "insured by definition," which include the "named insured, household family members, and any person driving with the consent of the owner within the scope of such permission." Auto thieves are specifically excluded. This requires that all drivers are properly licensed. The key is the term "within the scope of such permission." Insurers can deny liability coverage if the driver who was supposed to be going to the mall caused an accident 100 miles away in the next county. There isn't any written permission form required to be kept in the car, but maybe there should be.

    Using your own coverage will save time. Your company will then send a subrogation letter to the other party requesting payment from them directly, or forwarding to their carrier. They will then have a choice of going through their insurance policy or paying out-of-pocket.

    I believe in simplifying things by taking the path of least resistance whenever practical. Why cause yourself unnecessary aggravation by fighting the other insurer?
  • ketanketan Posts: 3
    Hi! All,

    SO last month - I had a small accident. After analyzing details, snaps etc.. it was decided that it was the opposite parties fault. My Insurance company paid me 3000 $ - as the opposite party did not have insuracne coverage. As the dent is on my door and no mechanical problem - I am now thinking whether to sell this car and buy a new one.

    But just today I received a letter from the insurance company - asking to send a memo whcih says car repaired and saying I PAID the mechanic.. if not sent them in 30 days - my premium would be increased ..

    Is this legal ? Why would they want to force me in repairing the car ? and before a date they want me to ?. Can;t I just sell this car and keep the amount ?.

    Any suggestions ??

    Thanks
    Ketan
  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 25,959
    hmmm.. yeah, i don't get that. it is your choice if you want to repair it or sell it. the car has $3k in damages. whether you decide to use that check and fix it now or keep the money and take the hit on depreciation later or even fix it much later is all your decision. i don't get it. would definitely like to hear from an industry expert on this one.

    '18 BMW 330xi; '67 Coronet R/T; '14 Town&Country Limited; '18 BMW X2. 47-car history and counting!

  • grandtotalgrandtotal Posts: 1,207
    The only thing that I can think is that the insurance company want to know what it is that they are insuring. Say, for example, that the car is involved in another accident that causes it to be a total loss the insurance company needs to know if they were insuring a car that was perfect or a car with $3000 worth of unrepaired damage.
  • ketanketan Posts: 3
    Here is the quote from the letter I received..

    "We require proof that damages have been adequately reparied in order to continue your policy without a coverage change. A copy of the repair order (market "PAID") will be suffeciant. Please return this letter along with your proof of repair. If we do not receive the required proof prior to our XX/XX/04 renewal, we will raise the comprehensive and collision deductibles on the car to $1,000."

    So does that mean - I can debate with the isurance company telling them that I shall repair it when I want to or might even sell the car ?

    Thanks all for the responces..
  • borathborath Posts: 10
    Is it true or is it just a myth that your insurance would be higher if you drive a red car?
  • akanglakangl Posts: 3,651
    As far as I can tell its a myth, both of our cars are red and insurance doesn't seem to be any different than if they were white or black.
  • borathborath Posts: 10
    Is it true or is it just a myth that your insurance would be higher if you drive a red car?
  • akanglakangl Posts: 3,651
    I answered your question. Its a myth, both our cars are red and our insurance is the same regardless of color.
  • janzjanz Posts: 129
    I too would be interested to hear from an industry professional. However, I do not think this request is unreasonable. They paid you 3 grand. It also has to do with begin up front with the Ins co. There is a lot of fraud going on. NOT saying this directly has anything do with you, only that we ALL pay for it in the long run.

    A while back, I hit a tree in snowy, icy weather, no citation. My ins co paid approx. $2000 for repairs AND increased my rates for 3 years for the claim. Qbrozen may be on track.

    PS. The car was a red Grand AM 4door. I don't think the ins company gives a darn the color.I've never had them ask that question, however, it is easy enough for them to get. A more interesting question might be what is the police perception of red cars, do they ticket them more frequently? My red car was a 4 cyl slug, but it DID feel sporty. Perhaps the drivers of red cars behavior puts them at risk.
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