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Old 03-03-2017, 05:46 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Insurance Claim - How should I proceed?

A while back the Prius was backed into by a Jeep while parked. My wife was in the driver's seat, parked, along with 3 passengers. I was not present.

According to her, the Jeep reversed rapidly for 30 ft until he collided with the car. The other party's insurance has accepted 100% liability.

The damage to the bumper is very straight forward and easily repaired, but the real problem is that the car developed a massive interior water leak immediately after the accident. Whenever it rains, water runs down the passenger side firewall / footwell.

This car has a reconstructed title due to previous front end damage that was repaired. I'm guessing the leak wouldn't have happened from this minor accident if it wasn't for the previous wreck causing it to be weakened.

Next week I take the car in to get an estimate from a shop State Farm (other party's insurance) has a partnership with. I'm certain they will try to deny responsibility for the water leak. What's worse is that the carpeting and probably a fender would have to be removed to locate the source of the leak. The shop isn't going to want to do this, especially just to come up with an estimate.

Previously, I got 2 independent estimates, but neither one wanted to spend the time to investigate the water leak, and both said they didn't think the accident would cause it.

The way I see it, the at fault party is responsible to restore the car to pre-loss condition, which was leak-free, regardless of the fact that previous damage made it more prone to have issues.

How should I proceed? State Farm will issue me a check in the amount of their estimate, and if the cost to repair exceeds that amount, they will cut another check for the difference, provided the repairs are necessary to cover the damage from that accident. How would I prove that? All I have is my testimony that there was no leak before the accident, and photos from later that day showing water pooling in the interior.

Mostly this thread is just about me ranting to let off some frustration. Insurance companies are all a bunch of shysters, and I'm not looking forward to all the yelling, phone calls, and time spent on this. My time and sanity are valuable, and there is no compensation offered for the loss of it.




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Old 03-03-2017, 09:08 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I know where there is a yellow Firebird convertible. (Sorry if you don't get the joke)

I commiserate. I totalled my car on black ice a few years back, and it took almost daily phone calls to three different offices in my own insurance company, contesting their estimation, and citing Oregon State law where it differed. IIRC their original offer was ~$2800, the final check was ~$5500. I was out of pocket another $800 to the body shop for up and extras, and they didn't get the color matched.

Perhaps the path forward is to think about whether this particular example of this particular [reconstructed title] car is what will make you happiest. In my case I didn't want to be the guy who took another 'old' VW off the road. Old is in single quotes because 1971 is the latest model year car I've owned. I switched because of fit and finish.
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Old 03-04-2017, 07:28 AM   #3 (permalink)
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If two independent engineers are saying they don't think the water leak is related to the collision, then I can't see where you go from there.
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Old 03-04-2017, 07:39 AM   #4 (permalink)
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I'm not a proponent of insurance fraud, but you may want to consider the power of a medical claim. It may help in negotiations if they know you have them by the balls. The at-fault insurance will throw money at you to reduce their liability.
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Old 03-04-2017, 01:26 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by freebeard View Post
I commiserate. I totalled my car on black ice a few years back, and it took almost daily phone calls to three different offices in my own insurance company, contesting their estimation, and citing Oregon State law where it differed. IIRC their original offer was ~$2800, the final check was ~$5500. I was out of pocket another $800 to the body shop for up and extras, and they didn't get the color matched.

Perhaps the path forward is to think about whether this particular example of this particular [reconstructed title] car is what will make you happiest. In my case I didn't want to be the guy who took another 'old' VW off the road. Old is in single quotes because 1971 is the latest model year car I've owned. I switched because of fit and finish.
I've had a similar experience. A guy rear-ended my 1996 Subaru Legacy on my birthday and totalled it. I spent the next 3 months arguing with his insurance on the payout amount. They offered $1,000, but there were no mechanically good examples of that car for that price. I finally settled at $2,500. I then replaced the car with a $17,000 TSX, which still seems like a lot of money to spend on a car.

In high school I drove a beautiful red 1969 Beetle. I raced it everywhere like a go-cart, and even rolled it once. I could fill the gas tank, hand the attendant $10, and get a couple bucks back. Those were fun times, but having to do frequent valve adjustments is annoying. Getting exhaust in the cabin whenever the heater is used was also annoying.

Anyhow, I'm loving my plug-in Prius. So far it's gone everywhere I want to go, handles emergency maneuvers well (stability control), gets phenomenal fuel economy, and has enormous utility.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ksa8907 View Post
I'm not a proponent of insurance fraud, but you may want to consider the power of a medical claim. It may help in negotiations if they know you have them by the balls. The at-fault insurance will throw money at you to reduce their liability.
Hmm, I'm not sure about using deception to achieve justice. This has me re-evaluating my philosophy.
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Old 03-04-2017, 01:39 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Mr. Squeaky wheel gets the grease.

The squeaky wheel often does get the grease.


No squeaking, no grease.

Squeaking in this context will mean at least 27 phone calls to at least 5 different levels and versions of insurance bureaucrats.

Compute your hourly rate that you would accept to get the correct outcome.

Add a little more personal gumption because you know you are fighting the good fight for the regular people.
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Old 03-04-2017, 03:19 PM   #7 (permalink)
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The squeaky wheel often does get the grease.

No squeaking, no grease.
I once had a 1968 Volvo that got T-boned by a pickup that ran a stop sign. The driver admitted fault (he was tired after a long day), and a witness behind me stopped and verified that I was not at fault. Damage estimate was $1400, the insurance company said that they would pay $1000 minus 20% because I could have dodged out of the way (not possible) minus another 20% because I got up in the morning for a final offer of $640. I hit the ceiling, called the insurance agent (not the adjuster), and asked for the address of the office of the state insurance commissioner. He asked why. I said that the offer was so ridiculous that there was no point in negotiating. I then called a lawyer picked at random from the phone book. Once I made it clear to the lawyer that I knew better than to take it to court, I just wanted some advice on how to negotiate with an insurance company, he was off and running.

Legally, I was screwed. However, insurance companies want to get claims settled AND they are intimidated by people that know their rights. My leverage was that I had talked to a lawyer. The lawyer charged me $5 for a half hour conversation.

Then the adjuster called. The conversation went something like this:
Adjuster: "I understand that you are not satisfied with our offer".
Me: "It was ridiculous. I consulted with my attorney, and he recommended that I give you another chance."
Adjuster: "What would you consider a fair offer?"
And that was what they paid. In full.
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Old 03-04-2017, 05:21 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by redpoint5
Hmm, I'm not sure about using deception to achieve justice. This has me re-evaluating my philosophy.
Don't do it! Not worth it.

Quote:
In high school I drove a beautiful red 1969 Beetle. I raced it everywhere like a go-cart, and even rolled it once. I could fill the gas tank, hand the attendant $10, and get a couple bucks back. Those were fun times, but having to do frequent valve adjustments is annoying. Getting exhaust in the cabin whenever the heater is used was also annoying.
Year correct Royal Red? Porsche India Red? The first Beetle I ever rode in was a Coral Red '58 with the sunroof open, at the beach. It's still my favorite red.

My car is up on ramps right now waiting for me to get out there and adjust the valves. Broken heater cables trump leaky heat exchangers.
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Old 03-04-2017, 06:14 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by redpoint5 View Post
I've had a similar experience. A guy rear-ended my 1996 Subaru Legacy on my birthday and totalled it. I spent the next 3 months arguing with his insurance on the payout amount. They offered $2,000, but there were no mechanically good examples of that car for that price. I finally settled at $4,000. I then replaced the car with a $17,000 TSX, which still seems like a lot of money to spend on a car.

In high school I drove a beautiful red 1969 Beetle. I raced it everywhere like a go-cart, and even rolled it once. I could fill the gas tank, hand the attendant $10, and get a couple bucks back. Those were fun times, but having to do frequent valve adjustments is annoying. Getting exhaust in the cabin whenever the heater is used was also annoying.

Anyhow, I'm loving my plug-in Prius. So far it's gone everywhere I want to go, handles emergency maneuvers well (stability control), gets phenomenal fuel economy, and has enormous utility.



Hmm, I'm not sure about using deception to achieve justice. This has me re-evaluating my philosophy.
Let me clarify, I don't think you should pretend to have whiplash and make a big scene. But if they are going to be unreasonable and difficult to deal with, mentioning that your wife (who just may have a little neck pain, who knows?) would prefer to have a medical examination to determine if it is serious and/or related.

The at-fault insurance will start a medical claim and likely offer you several hundred dollars to sign a form saying they are no longer liable, it's their standard procedure.

My point is, they will have MUCH more reason to play ball and keep you happy if they are at increased risk of litigation. I mean hell, they're an insurance company, they are in the business of risk mitigation.
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Old 03-04-2017, 06:31 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by freebeard View Post
Don't do it! Not worth it.
Well, I would be deceptive to save the life of someone I cared about. If deception is an acceptable tool to achieve justice in that case, then when is it not acceptable?

Quote:
Year correct Royal Red? Porsche India Red? The first Beetle I ever rode in was a Coral Red '58 with the sunroof open, at the beach. It's still my favorite red.
It looked closest to this:


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