[NA]Auto insurance claims: the process[NA]

Discussion in 'Hangar Talk' started by Let'sgoflying!, Jul 12, 2019.

  1. Let'sgoflying!

    Let'sgoflying! Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    Took some hail a couple of weeks ago on 2 vehicles (we know of 7 vehicles that lost glass or were totaled in my parking lot that day). Having never been a party to an auto claim, I am trying to learn about what to expect. @AggieMike88 ! The appraiser arrives tomorrow. LibertyM is the company.
    2007 Tundra access cab 4wd SR5 nothing special about it except I've had it so long it is now a beloved appendage 207k mi. If it croaks tomorrow it owes me nothing. Honestly, I was not really planning on a claim; too worried about rates as the damage on it is cosmetic. I wouldn't pay to fix it.
    Here is what KelleyBB says if that is any use.
    (3800 trade-in and 5800 pvt sale)
    I presume they will decide on their own value and the cost to repair it or the loss in value from the hail. Yes?
    Then what, they either...
    -fix it
    -offer me cash for my loss (ie half of what my loss in value is, lol)
    -total it and offer me what they think it is worth (ie half of what it could be sold for)
    if the second one, it is possible I could buy it back, no? (I am told to watch out for assignment of Salvage Title although I am not sure why they would do that)
    If they take it, they will have to relocate it as I am 200mi from the city; a minor issue I guess.
    -of course an option will always be that they deny my claim.
    Give me hypothetical numbers, what to expect my decision will be.
     
  2. RJM62

    RJM62 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I don't know anything about Texas law, but I doubt an insurance company is able to raise your rates because of hail. It's hard to think of a scenario in which a vehicle owner can be considered at fault for a hailstorm.

    However, if part of your premium is based on a "claims-free discount," that discount may (or may not) be able to be rescinded, again depending on state law. Some states forbid insurers from revoking or reducing claims-free discounts for comprehensive claims of less than a certain dollar amount (or at all). You'd need to ask someone familiar with Texas law.

    The same goes for whether or not they have to total the car. This is a function of the cost of repairs, the book value of the car, and in some states, the scrap value of the car. If the repair costs come in at or above the numbers defined by state law, the insurer must total the car. If they come in lower than that number, then they may (but are not required to, in most states) repair the car.

    If they offer to repair the car, and if the damage is of a cosmetic nature that doesn't affect the vehicle's safety, then you can take the money for the repairs (typically the estimated cost less the deductible) and spend it on booze and broads, if you like. At least in New York. In Texas, I can't say for sure.

    The insurer can also total the car but allow you to buy it. The downside is that this usually results in a "salvage title" being issued, which complicates registration, insurance, and resale.

    As for the damage itself, most hail damage is repairable relatively inexpensively using "paintless dent removal," which actually works very well. I've had some minor dings like shopping cart strikes removed that way, and it's pretty amazing. But if the damage is extensive, the cost of a PDR job may also come in above whatever the state uses as a total-loss number.

    I've only had two claims in my life. But the insurance company fought me hard on the second one, which resulted in my learning more about the way insurance works (and doesn't work) than I ever wanted to know. On the bright side, it also led me to cancel my previous insurance and join USAA, which is something I really should have done a lot sooner.

    Rich
     
  3. Let'sgoflying!

    Let'sgoflying! Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    Thanks Rich.
    Oh. Where can we get the booze and broads once I get the check?
    I quit USAA a few years back when they jacked my (claim-free) rates to twice what others offered, although I really liked them in other ways.
     
  4. SoonerAviator

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    First: I doubt they deny the claim. I can't imagine too many scenarios which would prompt them to do so unless they thought you were being fraudulent. They will have a claims estimator look it over and determine a rough guess as to the extent/cost of the damage repairs. If those repairs aren't immediately approaching thresholds to total the vehicle, they'll recommend some body shops for you to take it to.

    Second: generally speaking, once repairs start getting close to 50% of the market value of the car, they will start considering it for being totaled. If they do decide to call it a total loss, they'll cut you a check for the value of the vehicle (you can haggle about it a bit if you don't think it's fair) less your deductible. They will typically show up with a wrecker and haul it off, no need for you to take it anywhere. You can offer to buy it back, but it would probably make more sense to just drop the claim altogether if you were going that route and make any necessary repairs out of pocket/avoid salvage titles.

    Third: they could offer you cash value for the damages and go on your way, but depending on your deductible amount and the overall cost of repairs, it may not be much of a check but it will be a black mark on your insurance claim history which could cause rate increases in the future.
     
  5. EppyGA

    EppyGA Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I can relate my experience earlier this year in Georgia. The car was a 2007 Chevy HHR with 198k on it. I was at the head of a three car chain reaction. Vehicle number three failed to stop when two of us had. My damage looked minor and an original estimate was made and I scheduled the work. USAA, third party's insurer, sent me a check for the amount and got me a rental to use. Once the car was disassembled I got an email telling me additional damage was discovered putting the repairs above "totaled" value. The difference was approx $149. I had to sign the title over to USAA and they had the vehicle towed from the dealer's shop. I was sent a check for the remainder of the value. I could have bought the car and had it repaired and it would have had a salvage title. In checking with my agent, he said they would insure the car but if I ever wanted to change companies it would not be insurable.

    I was saddened that I was not allowed, by law, to pay the $149 and have the car repaired with a clean title. I have contacted my state Senator and Representative and the Insurance commissioner with no satisfaction to date.
     
  6. Zeldman

    Zeldman Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I thought Liberty Mutual's plan was to pay the claim, and then drop you off their insurance plan. I know several people, including my mom, that had this happen.
     
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  7. Ghery

    Ghery Final Approach

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    I carry 0 deductible comprehensive with State Farm for this very reason. It is an investment that pays off. Started in college with a 1954 Buick Special that needed to have a window replaced. It was fine when it was lowered, cracked when it was raised. No idea why. State Farm just paid for the replacement. That car was 18 years old when I got it in 1972. Didn't matter. I've had a number of windshields replaced over the years, primarily due to rocks, with no impact on rates. Unless things have changed over the years I wouldn't worry about this. Just have them replace the glass and away you go.
     
  8. FORANE

    FORANE Pattern Altitude

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    Have the roof inspected of any property you may own in the area. You might have damage requiring roof replacement too.
     
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  9. RJM62

    RJM62 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Every six months, I get swamped with insurance offers from the companies affiliated with every organization to which I have even a fleeting relationship. So far, none of them have even come close to USAA. Typically, they're nearly double.

    My brother used to be in the insurance business, and the way he explained it, different companies' rating systems favor different people. They all want to be competitive, but they also use different formulas that result in different premiums. I happen to be a good fit for USAA. In addition, I have other products with them that I'm very happy with (Visa, brokerage, checking account, and other insurance policies).

    The other thing is that USAA is beloved by the collision shops where I live. Apparently some companies are better in some areas than others, partially because some adjusters are more competent than others. Over here, all the body shops love USAA.

    Rich
     
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  10. Skip Miller

    Skip Miller Final Approach

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    @rmj62 Rich, I first joined USAA when I was at Navy OCS in 1968. I have never had a lick of auto insurance with any other company since then. The reason is simple: Superior Customer service! I’ve had a few fender benders, and the folks I have dealt with were knowledgeable, efficient, and PLEASANT to deal with.

    -Skip
     
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  11. JOhnH

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    fyi, its "rjm" not "rmj".
     
  12. chartbundle

    chartbundle Cleared for Takeoff

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    As far as I'm aware of the process it turns out if your engine is in your mechanics pickup and they flip it, the mechanics personal auto insurance doesn't pay and you have to hire a lawyer to try and see what the best options are.
     
  13. JOhnH

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    I was wondering how that case ever turned out?
     
  14. RJM62

    RJM62 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    The only thing they get a little nervous about, in my experience, is multiple cars on a single driver's policy with no other drivers listed. An explanation of the concept of a "winter rat" cleared that up.

    Rich
     
  15. chartbundle

    chartbundle Cleared for Takeoff

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    Just got the lawyer involved earlier this week. My aircraft insurance will definitely cover it as a Prop Strike(again) and IRAN. We'll see if I can get it back to 0 SMOH with no damage history since overhaul instead.
     
  16. Let'sgoflying!

    Let'sgoflying! Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    Hard to see the dings with flat lighting, but he is marking them now.

    EFEF4E0D-3B20-458C-967B-97546F38FA29.jpeg
     
  17. SoonerAviator

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    Sometimes a new hood w/paint is cheaper than pulling out 50 dents.
     
  18. FORANE

    FORANE Pattern Altitude

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    Good point.
    Or, how about a nearby new to you hood already painted the color you need:
    http://www.car-part.com/
     
  19. Let'sgoflying!

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    Oh I fully expect a new hood if it is repaired, and much much more!
     
  20. Stephen Poole

    Stephen Poole Pre-takeoff checklist PoA Supporter

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    Our family ran an insurance agency back in my hometown in NC. I worked there off and on for many years, and dealt with a lot of claims. I was even a licensed agent for a while, doing radio work on the side. Hurricane Fran cured me of that, though. (I had people living in hotels, their homes badly damaged, and one old witch kept screaming at me about her VCR. I'll never forget that.)

    As others here have said: it depends. The policy terms, state law and the insurance company's procedures will determine what you get. The adjuster is typically looking for the cheapest way out of it. Unless the policy specifically states new parts, the company *may* (again, it varies) have the right to use remanufactured/salvaged parts. They may also have the right to specify a shop. You can take it elsewhere, but you'd pay the difference.

    Also, if you have a lien, they'll probably make the check out to you and the lienholder. The lienholder may require that the work be done to their specs. (Again, speaking from experience.)
     
  21. AggieMike88

    AggieMike88 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    The original "I don't know it all" of aviation.
    I have a love/hate relationship with that site.

    But that's done with since Dad and I sold the yard. Now the new owner can inherit that experience.
     
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  22. Let'sgoflying!

    Let'sgoflying! Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    They are offering $3000 ($3500-$500 ded) for the repairs.
    Take it and shut up, or go get an estimate? (estimates cost $100 here)
     
  23. Stephen Poole

    Stephen Poole Pre-takeoff checklist PoA Supporter

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    Tough call. I hate to say it, but if it was me, I'd take the check and run. Most companies just total the vehicle if the cost of repairs exceed %60-70% of the fair market value, and Let'sgoflying has already posted that yours wouldn't be worth more than $5800.

    The real pain comes if the car is totaled; most standard auto policies are limited in what they'll pay. I had a friend who was left owing thousands to the bank after his Nissan Versa was rear-ended. You can pay extra for "payoff" coverage, and it's not a bad idea.
     
  24. denverpilot

    denverpilot Tied Down

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    I saw this go by a little while ago and forgot to share that this was exactly what they’ve done to us, twice now. Once in a vehicle claim and once on a serious hail claim on homeowners. Back then we lost them on auto but the house was so cheap we stayed, even with no multiple policy discount. Shouldn’t have. Should have taken the hint on the totaled Honda.

    Was quite a while ago, but they’re not seeing a dime from me ever again.

    They did handle those claims efficiently and professionally and no major haggling on prices or anything but they will drop you like a hot potato at renewal time. Seems to be their MO. If you make a claim, say goodbye.

    They don’t report it as a denial of coverage to the insurance database in the sky, or a cancellation. You just get a polite letter about a month from renewal that they won’t be offering you the option to do so.

    Big hassle and I’m not interested in playing their games ever again.

    After a stint with Farmers for a dumb reason, and knowing better — they always wait about three years and then jack the rates of their loyal customers — we quoted them all and since I can’t do USAA, Amica (who we’ve had before and has never screwed us or even annoyed us) happily took us back at the best rates.

    Only downside with Amica is they either don’t offer the mutual policies in CO, or they don’t want us having one, so no kickback checks. But the non-mutual policies have been great.

    And don’t get me started on the companies who wanted to use Google Maps Street view to “see the house” and when there was none, said they’d need to roll a truck and we could wait for weeks for them to take a damn photo of our house and dirt driveway in the boonies. Just go away. You’re annoying.

    I told both of those companies to forget the quote. Plenty of companies who don’t need Google to drive by. (I wouldn’t even have known if street view existed out here, they’d just do it. But their reps get all sad and start taking about rolling trucks or asking if you’ll send them photos when they can’t find one.) We don’t need more businesses relying on Google to get crap done.
     
  25. Zeldman

    Zeldman Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Which is what my mom got. Funny part is about a month later she got a call from Liberty Mutual and that person said she was dropped by mistake and they will gladly restore her insurance. She told them she got a letter saying that they are dropping her. She still had 4 or 5 months left on her current policy. So she declined their offer saying that she went with USAA, plus telling that person that she should have went with USAA in the first place and would not have to put up with this nonsense...

    In your face, LM..!!! :lol::lol:
     
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  26. FORANE

    FORANE Pattern Altitude

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    Take it.
    Refer to my other post for where to source an inexpensive replacement hood already painted in your color.
     
  27. AggieMike88

    AggieMike88 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    The original "I don't know it all" of aviation.
    Visit a local shop (even better 3 or 4) and ask for an independent estimate. Don't mention the existing interaction with the adjuster. If they are not willing to provide a free estimate, keep looking for someone who does. Not sure about the Alpine, TX region, but in DFW, many shops are lacking for work and willing to use "free estimates" as a means to have customers seek them out.

    Once you have these estimates, they can provide additional information that the offer is right on, or total BS. And if total BS, you have more information to go back and negotiate.

    Remember, that fellow's title is "ADJUSTER". It's not only his job to document the claim, but also get you to accept the lowest number possible amount of money and have you sign a document saying this is over and done with.

    Another question for the adjuster is to find out what label (also known as a brand, like cattle brand) will be attached to your title and VIN. An example is for folks with more severe damage retaining a vehicle declared a total loss. When they don't know the title info was changed, they get a nasty surprise when it comes time to sell the vehicle to find out the title is no longer a "clear" title.


    Finally, regarding finding a used hood and other panels that are already painted your color. That is totally possible using a search system such as www.car-part.com. But keep in mind the following
    • You'll need to constrain your search to your local region. Body panels are hella expensive to ship and most automotive part recycling facilities won't ship them due to the cost and increased chance of damage in shipping.
    • If you do find something, inspect the panel extremely close before giving over any money.
      • In general, the accuracy of describing any defects on used parts has improved over the years, there are still many recyclers who never subscribed to the improvement of their processes or the grading system. (On the phone they say, "Yes Yes, we have an insurance quality part!", then when you get there it's a messed up bit of crap and no where as nice as they said it was)
      • To one place, a "1 hour" defect might fit under a dime and be a simple repair, while another place would look at a 3"x3" defect and call that "1 hour". (fyi; "xx hours" describing damage is an industry method that relates to how much time the repair facility would use to correct the defect. This is a very subjective thing with no set standard amongst the part sellers or repair shops).
      • If the panel isn't as nice as they said, but still acceptable to you, then you can use these defects to negotiate the part downward, often signifcantly.
        • A dirty secret of the used part industry is that if the panel isn't acceptable to a body shop, then the revenue the seller is going to get is scrap metal price, aka micro-pennies on the pound. So if they are lucky enough to have a live customer who wants the damaged panel, it's in there interest to accept any reasonable offer. Even if it's 40% of the money they originally were asking.
    • The color may look correct when off of the vehicle, but once installed, you will notice a difference between the part you purchased and the existing panels surrounding it. It could be anywhere between very slight to very noticeable. Think of a painted wall that had a picture on it for many years. The paint surrounding it has faded. Or the carpet beneath a chair or couch. Same thing.
      • Body shops usually address this when repairing by using their expertise and paint techniques to blend the area between the panels. New paint is applied in a manner such that as you eye travels from old panel to new and back, you cannot discern that the hues of the paint are different between the panel.

    So getting a replacement panel the same color can work. Just know what you're about to get into if you choose that route.
     
  28. SoonerAviator

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    Great advice. When I was an estimator/adjuster for Farmers in college, they would generally have us estimate repair shop labor for body panel work at 1-hr per hand-width, lol. So the you could quickly measure out the damaged area with your palm size to get an idea of the repair labor. Obviously that's just rough guesswork and doesn't address the severity/complexity of the damage, especially if it involved a body line. A dize-size dent received the same weight as a baseball-sized dent. The shop may come back and argue that they needed an extra "x" hours for it, and it was usually approved, but for the original estimate it's not surprising for it to get low-balled.

    Black is about the only color that stands a chance of blending in on body panels, but even then the UV exposure can change the tint a bit. Whites, especially tri-stage whites seemed to be the most difficult due to variations in paint conformity (even on new parts).
     
  29. bnt83

    bnt83 Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    I've seen first hand how Liberty Mutual operates on disability claims, the patient they did everything in their power to screw had been in medicine many years including med school and one of the sharpest people I know, I will never buy anything from them.
     
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