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Questions About Auto Insurance and Accidents



  • KCRamKCRam Mt. Arlington NJPosts: 3,516
    Ketan, did you cash the check immedoiately? That's a sign to the insurance company that you likely did not repair your car. When the car is going to be repaired, most people endorse the check over to the body shop, and it would almost always take some time (getting a repair appointment, ordering parts, etc.)

    Three big bills sounds high for a door dent. Their estimate likely included additional repairs that you didn't think were necessary or didn't realize were in the deal. This is likely why they are concerned that you're driving an unrepaired car, and why they're considering a rate increase if the car remains in the damaged state. If you have a copy of their adjuster's report, check to see what damage they paid for.

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  • tornado25tornado25 Posts: 279
    but I work in the industry. The reason the company will require proof of repair is twofold.

    1) IF you don't repair the vehicle and say in a month are hit in that same spot, the company will not (nor should they) want to pay to "repair" a door that was never repaired in the first place. This is "prior damage". Setting aside the total loss issue, your ins company will theoretically pay for the same damage over and over again, as long each individual loss is not a total AND you've repaired it each time. (You know what I'm saying here?) However, if it was never repaired in the first place, you can't "repair" it again. The deductible change is weird. What my company does is simply refuse to pay if the same unrepaired area is hit.

    2) This is where the total loss thing comes into play. Let's say you don't repair it because you're going to get rid of it. But, before you do, you get hit again, but it's in a different area. Since the original area is unrepaired, the company can look at the total damage (the $3000 in original paid, unrepaired damage plus the new damage) and total the vehicle out.

    This whole thing might be moot for you, however, if you're simply trading or selling the vehicle without repairing it. Then, when you get your replacement vehicle, the insurance company won't care one way or another, because the vehicle in question is no longer insured by them. Also, I would point out that your original post said "or my premium would be increased" but your excerpt from the letter states all they would do is increase the comp/collision deductibles, which would actually lower your premium.

    This action though, is primarily to prevent fraud--it's not a action against YOU personally, but a way to keep it from happening. Most commonly, what I see a lot is a client will get 2 estimates from body shops in the area and ask for a cash settlement (i.e., we pay you instead of the shop once the work is done). Then, they'll get their cousin's friend's uncle to do the work on the side for parts and a couple cases of beer (or $15/hour labor instead of the body shop's $50/hour or whatever) and keep the rest of the money. That sort of thing (again, not that's what you're doing, obviously) is fraud and is illegal. If that person is paying less, the insurance company should get to pay less, too. (Not to mention the uncle probably isn't reporting that income, either).
  • wahes300wahes300 Posts: 1
    I had my 1st accident in my Lexus ES300 - and it was a strange accident. They have agreed to fix the damage to the fender and passanger side, but can't see the connection to the roof 'rippling' which occured when my sunroof was open and the impact (I'm guessing) caused the sunroof to slam shut and ripple/buckle the roof at all point points on the roof. My insurance company sees no relation and sent out an independent adjuster whom has agreed with ERIE's adjuster. The damage def. came from my collision. The difference between what they will cover and what needs to be fixed is ~ $1000. I'm afraid of the car having an unsafe roof as well as a long term bad 'look.' What are my options now?
  • ketanketan Posts: 3
    Excellent explanation by tornado25.
    A few answers :
    This was my 1st accident so I always thought the check would be on the name of the repair shop I would tell them. 1 fine day I got the check in mail on my name. I called the claims agent and asked her whats this check for - she said for your repairs. After which I deposied it.

    The damage is a dent on the front left fender and door - so I guess they would replace the stuff - I got a rough estimate from a local BIG repair shop and they gave me an estimate close to 3000 $. Then I went to a few more shops they all ask 1st question - who is paying ? This made me belive that they could be possibly giving different rates if I tell them that I am going to pay for it ... I am going to try that this weekend going to a different repair shop.

  • tornado25tornado25 Posts: 279
    Sometimes, too, they ask who's paying because we have agreements with area shops that allow them to transmit digital photos and estimate to the co directly. This means the client doesn't need to wait for an adjustor (or come to our office) for a photo or get 2 estimates, etc. If their preferred shop is on the list, it works well.

    A dent on the left fender and door, depending on the vehicle, doesn't surprise me with a $3000 estimate, since a lot of that cost is the paint time and blending, etc.

    Did the estimates (less deductible) you got come close to the amount of the check? If so, I would just go to one you can trust and be done with it.
  • prophet2prophet2 Posts: 372
    You've claimed not to be an "expert," but the quality of your commentary says otherwise. The readers here would be wise to pay heed to you and your observations.

    $3K for the dented fender and door is definitely in line. Often, the replacement of a part is less expensive than the labor cost to repair it, hence the big business in crash parts.

    There was a report in our area about 10 years ago which indicated that totally re-building a $15K car with parts would cost $40K! Some cars are stolen for hard-to-get parts. An example of the "sum total of the parts being greater than the whole."

    Companies like GEICO and AIG have "preferred" body shops. The checks are sometimes made out to the insured and the shop used. Usually, the check is made out to the claimant only as the law here gives people the option of choosing their own repair facility.

    One of the shops I've had very satisfactory dealings with is on the "preferred" list, so I had no qualms about using their services three years ago. In that case, no draft was issued to me as the insurer paid the shop directly. The other party was at-fault, but we both had the same carrier.
  • janzjanz Posts: 129
    and involved mostly the passenger door of a sedan. They had to buy a NEW door, because they could not find a used one, that and some hidden damage, cost just about $2500 for the repair.
  • tornado25tornado25 Posts: 279
    "You've claimed not to be an "expert," but the quality of your commentary says otherwise. The readers here would be wise to pay heed to you and your observations."

    Thanks for the nice words. I work in the business but try so that I don't want people to think my word should be taken as gospel--there are a lot more experienced people out there than I. I can see you your advice and info is just as good.

    As for the preferred shops, the client still needs to choose that shop. We provide the option and explain it is (and sincerely, it is) the fastest, most efficient way to get their car fixed. If they choose another shop, it usually means either a) having a co inspector come out or b) getting 2 estimates and coming to our office for a photo.

    They always, always have the choice, but once they've decided where to go, we prefer to pay the shop directly (even if the shop isn't "preferred".) 2 reasons for that: 1) the insured/claimant can't take the money, not pay the shop and then the shop starts barking at us for payment (it happens)and 2) (this one for the benefit of the client) if something goes wrong, us having paid the shop makes it a little easier to fix things (another reason going with the preferred shop is the way to go--if they screw up, the company can lean on them). If a client takes a check and Joe Schmo does the work on the side and screws up, good luck getting our help, because in most cases, we really can't--it was a cash settlement.

    "Often, the replacement of a part is less expensive than the labor cost to repair it, hence the big business in crash parts."

    Yep, I can't tell you how many times people have brought in their estimate, all excited, shocked over the amount, especially older folks. They will get the front bumper cover scratched and because that normally requires replacing the entire bumper cover assembly, the parts are $500 with 1 hour labor (or whatever). The client is thinking less than deductible and it comes back $600. And the thing is, it's a fair and correct price, since those bumper covers can't be repaired. Nothing fazes me anymore.
  • leomortleomort Posts: 451
    I'm sure most drivers have encounter other drivers who slam on their brakes to "teach" the other driver behind them a lesson. If an accident occurred who would be at fault? Was the following driver "tailgating" too close thus deserved to be taught a "lesson" or is the driver who slammed their brakes bear any fault?
  • janzjanz Posts: 129
    by the "teacher", I really don't think you could prove it. Further, if this action did result in a rear end accident by the "student" it would likely be the result of their guilt, if you will, by FOLLOWING TOO CLOSE.

    (I have to admit, I did consider this ONCE, however, at the risk of damage to my own car it seemed rather ridiculous.)
  • prophet2prophet2 Posts: 372
    In my way of thinking, I wouldn't want my car damaged in the process. Even if the repair would be under the other guy's policy (assuming he's insured), my car would never really be the same (diminished value due to accident).

    Some folks have told me that if it's during daylight hours, they flip on their lights for the "lesson." The tail-gaters can't tell the difference between the tail lamp lighting up vs. the brakes being applied, so they slam on their brakes in a panic. They may then be rear-ended by the guy who's following them too closely!
  • akanglakangl Posts: 3,651
    That's why its nice to drive an old Chevy truck that's seen better days. Can't hurt that dang thing.
  • I don't know if this is actually officially the case or not, but I remember hearing somewhere that if there is an accident where one car is rear-ended the person who was driving the vehicle that hit the first one is always at fault. The logic behind this is that the accident would have never happened if the second driver would have left several car lengths between them and the first car while driving like they should have.

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  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 25,944
    that's what I used to hear, too. But I did have an accident a few years back where I was driving through an intersection on a rainy evening and someone made an abrupt turn into oncoming traffic. The car in front of me hit the turning car, effectively bringing the car in front of me to an immediate stop. I could not bring my car to a halt quick enough and rear ended him. It took almost a year, but my insurance company eventually forced the insurance company of the woman who turned into traffic to pay for everything and even refunded my deductible. So its not as black and white as it seems.

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

  • grneyesgrneyes Posts: 12
    I recently sold my car to a private party and received a fraudulent cashiers check in payment. Filed all appropriate police and DMV reports. Insurance agent said that this is not considered a theft loss as I willingly turned over the keys to this individual. Any insurance agents thoughts?
    This is a horrible experience.
    Thanks in advance.
  • KCRamKCRam Mt. Arlington NJPosts: 3,516
    Well, this won't sound very helpful, but I was in a similar boat some years back. Was way over mileage on a lease and called one of those "car buy" places. They fell a little short of the payoff, but the difference was manageable. Gave them the vehicle and the difference. Lease bank called me; they never were paid, and was I still in possession. I gave them the location and name of who I turned the vehicle to, and the bank sent an investigator... place was deserted and padlocked. Unfortunately, I had closed the insurance policy and turned in the license plates to DMV, so no chance at reporting theft. Lease bank understood I got jobbed, but I still had to pay the lease residual - worked out a payment plan and got it done. It had to go on my credit report as a charge-off until the payments were completed, now reads as a Paid-was Charge-off. Lesson learned the hard way.

    The only legal recourse you have is filing charges for a bad check with the police. If the police consider it theft by deception, then you may be able to use that with your insurance company to get a claim.

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  • akanglakangl Posts: 3,651
    We *almost* had that happen. Let a car buyers club consign our 92 F-250, they sold it, we paid the difference between what it was sold for and the pay off ($9000 sale price, $9300 payoff), thought it was a done deal. Got a call from the bank a month later asking where the payment was, we told them the truck was sold and by who. Lady from the bank got on the phone and I don't know what she did, but she had full payment for the truck in 2 hours.

    Others weren't so lucky, the place went under 3 weeks later and some had repos and other things show up on thier credit. Some people bought cars from them, had loans, only to have to give the car back to the original owner because the original loan on the car was never paid. So they got stuck paying for a car they didn't own.
  • leomortleomort Posts: 451
    I'm talking about during the morning rush hour drive to or the afternoon rush hour from work. You're usually closer to the other cars around you than in typical driving situations. Any body that leaves even one car length in front of them during rush hour is going to have another vehicle cut in front of them to take that space. Heck, anything even resembling space between cars often has someone "trying" to squeeze into that spot.
  • tornado25tornado25 Posts: 279
    Personally, I think the theft by deception is not a bad tack to take with the insurance company, but I wonder if it would fly, since as the agent indicated, you handed the keys over.

    One thing you can consider is, as agents, we aren't claim reps, so the true final call isn't ours anyway. Most agents know generally what is and isn't covered and are the best first resouce, but it's always the unique/funny claims where coverage exists even though I thought it wouldn't or be denied when I thought there was coverage. Keeping in mind that simply filing a claim in today's market can be used negatively, you may want to consider forcing the agent to send in a claim for a definitive response from your company.

    I mean, if we're talking about a vehicle valuable enough to carry comprehensive and to worry about like this, it's probably worth it to get a solid response. If they deny, I can't comment on your actions beyond that, as it would require specific knowledge of both your policy and proper legal advice, neither of which I have.
  • prophet2prophet2 Posts: 372
    A few weeks ago, a claims rep confirmed that damage to a vehicle hitting a pothole could be paid under collision coverage. Subject to the deductible, of course.

    I suspect, however, that if it just threw your alignment off, that cost would fall well within the deductible.

    leomort, what you say is so true. Some drivers think that just flicking on the turn signal gives them an automatic right to merge in. Leave just a little room and you'll have these dolts barging in WITHOUT the turn signal.

    It isn't a case of NOT letting these guys in, but it would be nice if they'd "ask."
  • leomortleomort Posts: 451

       Yep, I seen the flicker turn signal too. Usually they have enough time to get into the space. That usually doesn't bother me, as I can usually tell before hand if someone is going to do that and general give the space if able.

       Then there are the drivers that speed-up to cut off the driver who had their turnal signal on when there was more than adequate space. To me that's rude. Or if the driver needs to be in my lane and I see their turn signal, I let them in--as long as I can see it before hand there's no problem. But I've had drivers decide they were changing lanes regardless who was there.

      Of course there's alway the one idiot who has their turnal signal on that wants to be in the other lane but wants at least three car lengths before making the change. In the meantime, said driver has slowed down in the fast lane, plus cause the other lane to also jam up.
  • janzjanz Posts: 129
    Long story short, a while back we LOANED our motorcycle to a "friend" for 2 days and a week later, we hadn't heard from him. We tried to call it in as theft because he'd had it so/too long, we were told if you hand it over, it is not theft, plain and simple. I don't think this will fly with the police or insurance company.

    Now imbezzlement or fraud on the part of the defaulting company who did not pay the loan off is more like it. A similar situation happened locally. The owners of a used lot who had not paid-off trade-in cars were prosecuted, landed, in jail and paid huge fines. It was a big mess for those involved, just as akangl describes.
  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 25,944
    did you ever get the bike back?

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

  • prophet2prophet2 Posts: 372
    Might this "loan" have graduated to an "illegal conversion" by your so-called "friend?" This could then be "theft" by another name. Or, would the thief have to actually sell ("convert") it to be guilty of a crime?

    I can see the insurance company balking, but not the police. Can any of you legal beagles out there offer some insight? People ought to have some recourse as far as at least getting their property back.
  • janzjanz Posts: 129
    it was insured for liability only. So the insurance had nothing to do with it.

    About 10 days later the police found it abandoned in the mall parking lot. It wouldn't start, but it was nothing big. Of course, we never heard from the friend again.(He WAS a very good old friend of my husband.)

    By "illegal conversion" do you mean if he tried to sell it? I imagine it would become illegal at this point in that you cannot legally sell and transfer the title on property that you do not legally own. Of course, that doesn't mean that this doesn't happen.

    The point of the police was that we gave him the keys and permission. The arrangement was to loan it for a couple of days. When I called the police 5 days later telling them that our permission for him to have the bike had expired, I was told that it didn't matter. Point being that you cannot change the terms at will or your convenience. They would do nothing because we "gave him the key and permission to take it", therefore there was no theft involved and they could do nothing and were not sympathetic.
  • prophet2prophet2 Posts: 372
    "Conversion" as to selling, trading, or exchanging for value ("fencing"). Items like cars, boats, motorcycles, etc. are often registered and have ownership papers. Others like jewelry, musical instruments, TVs, etc. do not.

    I really don't see how you "changed" the terms after five days went by - was it not agreed that it was for a couple (two, three at the most) of days?

    It was probably a way for the police to tell you that this was not a high priority "crime" in their estimation.

    A long time ago, my 10-speed bike was stolen. My insurance paid me off, then the police caught a criminal with a long record of petty theft and burglary riding it. Since I had been paid off, it now belonged to the insurance company and I retrieved it for them from police impound and it was eventually sold by sealed bid. The thief? Although I was served with a subpoena to testify, he never went to trial. He didn't show up and a bench warrant was issued. I guess that with a plea bargain, a trial became unnecessary.
  • janzjanz Posts: 129
    (13 years) and something about it might not be a priority for the police does sound familiar. I guess I get stuck on the concept that they said because we handed over the keys voluntarily, they could not do anything. We do not live in a high crime area. It was a disappointing and surprising answer, we honestly believed because more time had passed than we agreed to that we had a valid concern, they did not think so. In the end, we were just happy to get it back. Needless to say, it has made us more careful.
  • prophet2prophet2 Posts: 372
    One lesson is that we should be careful in choosing our "friends." Especially in lending cars and money.
  • bolivarbolivar Posts: 2,316
    You 'lend' someone something, the police will not get involved.

    It's a civil matter, not a criminal matter.
  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H Posts: 11,077
    Have you ever heard of Web sites that evaluate photos of your damaged car and help you get repair quotes, such as Please contact [email protected] if you know anything and/or have an opinion about these services.


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