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Regular Contributor

Unexpected Insurance Issues

As a senior with a very limited budget, I was shocked at the financial impact that a not at fault car accident caused. Just to quickly describe the accident, my vehicle was rear-ended at 35 mph at a yield sign by an inattentive driver, who was ticketed by police. I drive a 2007 vehicle with just 58000 mileage. My vehicle was totaled, despite being drivable, because they evaluated it using comparisons to vehicles with over 98000 miles with minimal adjustments (a maximum of $302 adjustment). To replace this vehicle with a comparable used vehicle in today's market would cost upwards of $15000, but they are only offering about $4000. I guess I was naive in thinking that insurance in a case where one is not at fault should cover the full costs involved. This was a major financial setback that I was not expecting. Has anyone else come across a similar situation? Any suggestions? 

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Social Butterfly

@rosiera 

 

I feel your pain. I went through the same sort of situation myself, though with happier results.

 

I moved from Florida to Canada 2 years ago, bringing our 2011 Volvo with us. We had bought the car new, it was pristine (Florida car), and turned over 50,000 miles on the drive up here. A few months later it was parked in our driveway when some guy (with his young daughter), who was driving too fast for the snowing conditions, spun out on his summer tires and hit the back corner of the Volvo, moving the car more than 4 feet. Another 6 inches and the car would have hit our other car that was parked beside it (good thing I had left a generous distance between).

 

So this was entirely not my fault (though I suppose my fault was I should have put a large boulder at the corner of my property to deflect such rougue vehicles, a number of people do that here). My car was entirely innocent. And I have video of him driving too fast, spinning and swerving right into our car (and bouncing back).

 

There was tremendous damage to my car, both body and mechanical. They essentially have some sort of "no fault" insurance here. In the end, my insurance paid out but I assume they got their money from the other driver's insurance.

 

The estimated repair cost was around the breakeven point. My insurance was really talking up that it might be "a loss". I was not keen to listen to this, My car had 54,000 miles on, it was pristine (a couple mechanics here were amazed that it was like new even on the underside...due to its life in Florida). I had put in a few thousand dollars in cash expenses shortly before this crash: factory engine block heater, winter snow tires, the "Out of Province" inspection for.  registration (mandatory and this was several hundred $ right there).

 

I had planned to keep the another year or two until fully settled in in Canada. Buying a new/used car for a very large sum of cash was not in my fiscal plan for last year!

 

So I had set my guns that if the insurance was going to write off the car I would then make a claim on my homeowners insurance (same insurance company!) for the difference for what the repair would be. And I made that known, nicely. Several times.

 

In the end, the car has been repaired and beautifully so. Due to supply chain issues and also getting parts due to the age of the car, it took 10 months before I would get it back. I just got it back in February, no expense to me at all. The shop (that I had personally selected as they were low-volume and worked on boutique vehicles) did a fantastic job and the car is like new.

I did go through 2 months of stomach churning stress at the start with "what are they gonna do? and do I need to get a lawyer?".

 

I thoroughly understand having something "nice" and then someone else wrecks it and insurance just doesn't want to make you whole.

 

I have read of people whose really rare, high-end car, like an expensive Porsche, Lamborghini, etc, had body damage and the insurance had the car repaired, but the vehicle still had a diminished market value. Some people have sued in this case to recoup the monetary loss, I suppose from the other driver or insurance. In my case, I just wanted my nice clean Florida car fixed back to what it was. And I would wish the same for your car!

 

Perhaps you can sue the other driver and their insurance in small claims court for the difference in value between what insurance will give you for your car and what a comparable car truly sells for... to support this, check on-line for similar vehicles actually for sale. Check autotrader.com and similar sites for cars actually listed for sale, you can see cars located all over the US! You can even do this exercise before settling with your insurance.

 

A lesson that occurred to me some years back was that having anything out of the ordinary (such as a "nice" car due to low miles, or fancy, or an exotic Ferrari, etc) presents something of a risk. Risk due to unreimbursed damage, risk due the vehicle simply deteriorating due to age (why overspend on a car thinking that I'll keep it for many years when it starts deteriorating due to age in years even it has low miles; perhaps it's better to buy the lower cost car but trade more often? maybe someone can determine how to optimize this ownership? haha, that's something I would do.) Anyway, that is an interesting concept and one I keep in mind sometimes.

 

Good luck to you!

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Regular Contributor

I'm glad you got your situation resolved. Mine is still pending and I'm close to giving up and just pulling money from savings. A lawyer I spoke to indicated that if I went to small claims court, it would have to be for the full settlement, not the difference between the amount they gave me and the cost of repair. Maybe I should double-check that. As far as comparisons, there were none for this year vehicle with this small number of miles. 

 

It is upsetting, since I haven't even addressed the medical issues with them yet. I appreciate your taking the time to make suggestions and give me you experience. Thanks!

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Honored Social Butterfly

That’s when your insurance representation should be called to task, if you had full coverage on your vehicle.  Let them help you - they should help you look up the value of your car - adjusted for the condition that it was in, with any added upgrades, rate for low mileage.

 

The other person’s insurance has to make you whole - so don’t cash the check - better to tell them to find you a comparable car that they totaled for your acceptance.  OR pay you what your car was actually worth - you and your insurance company can come up with the figures and present your proof of this. That “full cost involved” has to be proven - 

 

Don’t Roll Over - You may have to legally fight for that - making you whole again.  That may also include taking the other party to court IF they didn’t have enough coverage and especially if they do have other assets.

 

Don’t accept an offer if it will not make you whole again - 

Glad you weren’t hurt cause that could open up an even bigger can of worms - medical bills.  

 

 

It's Always Something . . . . Roseanna Roseannadanna
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Thank you! I haven't signed off on anything yet, but they keep pressuring me to do so. They did offer to let me retain the vehicle for a lesser payout, but that amount would not fully pay for the repairs and they would not provide a rental while it was being fixed. Apparently the method of determining the value of my vehicle is left to the insurance company in my state, so I've gotten nowhere with that. My insurance is with Geico, not a local agent (that will be changing soon...) and they are no help, referring me to his insurance since there won't be a deductible going through his. 

 

 Not to mention that it I haven't even dealt with the medical bills issue yet, since it also resulted in a minor concussion. I've talked to lawyers and they are not interested in helping, since it's not a big enough payout for them. It's been so frustrating!

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Let me add that everyone I spoke to, from the Insurance Commission to the collision shop personnel to lawyer has had exasperated expressions or downright war stories when I mention the name of this insurance company. 

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Honored Social Butterfly

Did you file a claim with YOUR insurance company when the accident happened? They should be helping you along with this claim procedure.  

In fact, sometimes they will pay and then fight the other insurer in court to get back their money for your claim.  It seems they have been little help thus far.

Insure.com - What to do after a car accident that is not your fault 

 

If that brings you no results (but it should) It is a personal injury attorney that you need.  They handle both property and medical claims.

 

It seems right now, you need to come up with the true value of your car.  So check Edmunds or Kelly Blue Book and begin to develop your validated number for your car.

 

Keep all your medical bills and whatever your insurance pays towards them.  

 

 

FYI:  (my favorite financial guru - Clark Howard) 

Clark.com - 12/20/2021 - Should You Keep a Car That’s Been Totaled?

This also goes into how you can get the best price for your totaled car.

 

 

 

It's Always Something . . . . Roseanna Roseannadanna
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Thank you again for responding with those interesting web sites.

 

The problem is that Edmunds and Kelly Blue book don't reflect today's reality as to replacement value on a low mileage vehicle such as this. Part of that is that there are very few, if any, 2007 vehicles of this type with only 58000 miles and adjustments made for mileage are minimal, not reflecting future years of usage. Also I have spoken to several personal injury lawyers and I wasn't injured enough to make it worth their fees, or so they tell me. And Geico is no help at all. I am changing insurer's as soon as this is settled. 

 

I'm about to give up and just get the vehicle repaired for about $600 out of pocket, when combined with what they're offering. I will just be stranded until it's fixed, since they won't cover the rental and it looks as if that will be another $600. At this point, I don't think there's a better alternative, although it infuriates me.

 

 

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