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Insurance Nightmare

Discussion in 'Off Topic [BG]' started by tplyons, Jul 24, 2007.

  1. tplyons


    Apr 6, 2003
    Madison, NJ
    Three months ago, I was driving to work on my incredibly long and greuling four block commute, in which I pass through an intersection with a flashing traffic signal. You know, the one that flashes yellow one way and red the other. It's a known dangerous intersection with far too many accidents.

    Needless to say, 7:03 am on May 2nd I was running late like I always am (not a big deal because the store is still being opened at this time) It had been raining the night before and the ground was still wet. I continued through this yellow signal at 22 mph as I always do, just in case. And suddenly from my left, I noticed a large white pickup truck coming right for me. I quickly realized the only thing I could do to avoid being hit was swerve and stomp the gas and hopefully just get by. My automatic transmission decided to shift right there and I went nowhere as the F-350 slammed on the brakes and started to slide towards me.

    Getting Bambi eyes now realizing I'm going to be hit, and I just hold on. *THUD* as he only hit me at a really low speed, I look at him like "what were you doing?" and pulled my car to the side of the road out of the intersection. He did the same, and we both got out. He apologized immediately, saying he wasn't paying attention, didn't see me, and admitted fault. He wanted to make sure I was okay, and then called the police who quickly arrived. The officer took our reports which both said that he wasn't paying attention and drove into the side of me, and the officer left the scene realizing we could both drive away.

    The Ford pickup had no damage. The tow hooks on the front of his truck tore into the side of my El Camino, the front driver side Fender and driver side door. But the kicker: he was driving a Borough vehicle when he hit me. I got an estimate and submitted it to his insurance company along with a copy of the police report stating that he admitted to inattentiveness.

    Needless to say, I get a letter citing NJ law that state that as borough employee, driving a borough vehicle, the borough, being a public entity, does not have to pay without submitting to MY insurance first. I don't carry collision coverage because the book value of my El Camino is surprisingly low. Collision coverage just isn't worth it to carry.

    Regardless, I call their insurance, who want to talk to my mother (the legal owner of my vehicle... I've owned it since right before my 17th birthday when I cannot legally register or insure my own vehicle in NJ) and we haven't transferred ownership yet. My mother calls, and they want to speak to the driver (me). I call back and they want to speak to the owner again. I'm starting to get the feeling I'm getting the runaround.

    It turns out, that they simply want me to file with my insurance first because of NJ law stating that they don't need to pay otherwise. I call my insurance, who once again want to speak to the owner. My mother calls, get the info, but then they want to speak to me again to confirm the story. This finally gets the ball rolling for them to send me a letter saying I don't carry collision. I forwarded this letter to their insurance company, and only today... 11 weeks later did I get a call from their insurance company stating that they'll examine my car on Thursday for damages.

    In the last 3 months, the car has been rusting because I cannot afford to fix it. I didn't expect to get this sort of runaround from their insurance company. Just rediculous.

    In retrospect: three good things came of it.
    1) The borough employee who hit me and I have become friendly. We end up eating at the same places, both working in town.
    2) I wasn't riding my Harley. I would've broken, or worse, lost my leg if I were hit.
    3) I didn't spill my Red Bull. Those make a mess.

    It's just rediculous that it took this long, but it's finally starting to work out. As soon as this is over, my mother is transferring ownership of the car, and I'm moving the car's insurance to my motorcycle insurance plan. It'll be a few bucks more, but hopefully Progressive Direct is a bit easier to work with.
  2. Jiggybass


    Nov 15, 2005
    Sudbury, Canada
    Oh man, I know what you mean, sometimes the insurance companies can take bloody ages to get on their feet :(
  3. tkozal


    Feb 16, 2006
    New York City
    get a lawyer...signed, sr exec with an auto insurance company...
  4. dude that sucks mostly for the El Camino but for you to
  5. RWP


    Jul 1, 2006
    Sorry about your El Camino, those are cool cars. But glad you are OK. Lawyers are expensive, maybe just call the insurance company everyday, be such a pain in the butt they do something?
  6. tplyons


    Apr 6, 2003
    Madison, NJ
    They're sending an adjuster tomorrow. I'm going to see how that pans out.

    MAJOR METAL The Beagle Father Supporting Member

    I hope it all works out for you Tim. :)
  8. Marlat


    Sep 17, 2002
    London UK
    Be prepared to argue with them and get further quotes. The full title of that person's job is a "loss adjuster". They get paid to ensure that the insurance company pays out the minimum amount possible (ie to adjust the loss of the insurer) by finding reasons to mitigate the amount payable.

    Remember this phrase - "But for your insureds negligence in running into my car, NONE of this damage would be here. As such, your insured is responsible for restoring this vehicle to the condition it was in but for his negligence."
  9. jucas


    Dec 14, 2003
    ^ +1. Of all my friends that can't drive and get in accidents, only one has ever gotten close to the value of repair without a lot of arguing and other quotes.

    Good luck with the adjuster though.
  10. RWP


    Jul 1, 2006
    Also, your car might qualify as an antique. If so the blue book on it would not truly reflect the actual value of the vehicle. Don't let him low-ball you on it's worth.
  11. Ryan L.

    Ryan L. Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Aug 7, 2000
    West Fargo, ND

    I have had to deal with this in the past, and these "adjusters" can be real gems to deal with.
  12. I work in insurance claims. One other quote to remember if they low-ball you (if it's totalled) "Find me another like vehicle for the amount you just offered me and I'll take your offer. Otherwise, I need $xxxxx to settle this claim."

    There is something called "Good Faith" that requires insurance companies to make you a good faith offer (i.e., what they really think the claim is worth). Now, you might think it's worth more than they do, but that's where the art of negotiating comes in. Some states don't allow 3rd party bad faith suits (Indiana being one), and it's likely there's some sort of immunity for the government on this one anyway.

    They have to pay for all of the repairs though - and supplemental charges if the shop finds damage that wasn't caught on the initial inspection. DO NOT HIRE AN ATTORNEY! We laugh at most of them - especially the ones that advertise on late night t.v.. They will get you very little extra money, and will most likely cost you more than the extra they do get you. In very complicated cases it makes sense to use an attorney, especially if you decide to file suit, but if it's just a matter of negotiating, step up and do it yourself.
  13. tkozal


    Feb 16, 2006
    New York City
    also don't hesitate to call the NJ Dept of insurance, if you feel that carrier is messing with you...that will get action...such as me running out of the office and cursing the scumbag adjuster that got a letter sent to me by the state...

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